People often buy diamond jewelry to last a lifetime or even several lifetimes. That’s why it’s so important to choose the right diamonds. You may have read our previous posts on cut, clarity, color, and carat weight; the 4 C’s used to grade diamonds. But there are other considerations that you must know about, namely that the diamonds in your piece may not be completely natural.
There are a number of diamond treatments and diamond substitutes that can rival the best natural diamonds. Let’s take a look at some common varieties.
You may have grown rock sugar crystals in school at some point. Diamonds are also crystals and scientists have learned how to grow synthetic diamonds of very high quality. In fact, only trained gemologists with a lab may be able to discern the difference.
High Pressure-Heat Treated diamonds is one way that diamonds are grown in the lab, but this process is also used to correct colors in lower-grade natural diamonds to make them more brilliant. It can turn brown diamonds colorless, or draw out other colors like pink and blue to be more visible.
Diamonds are made out of carbon, while Moissanite is made out of silicon and carbon. Moissanite is an extremely rare natural mineral but can be grown easily in a lab. It can look quite similar to a diamond, and even have more fire than a diamond depending on how it is cut. It is just slightly softer than a diamond. Nearly all the Moissanite jewelry you’ll find is lab-grown. This substance is now a major competitor for another diamond substitute, cubic zirconia.
Gemologists have come up with a number of ways to improve the clarity of a diamond by filling in inclusions. Much like filling holes in the teeth, they use lasers and fillings to clean up problems in natural stones. Diamonds that are treated this way are called clarity-enhanced diamonds.
From an aesthetic point of view, it may not matter to you if your diamond is natural, treated, or even a diamond substitute. All of the materials and manipulations result in beautiful pieces. However, they do affect price and value over time. Natural diamonds will always be worth more than manipulated ones, and scrupulous dealers will always tell you if there has been some sort of manipulation or substitute material so you can make an informed choice.
There is another consideration that drives some consumers to synthetic diamonds or diamond substitutes. Some natural diamonds have troubling geopolitical histories that customers want to avoid, and it can be very difficult for jewelers to know the full provenance of a stone to know whether or not it is a so-called “conflict diamond”. Therefore, to avoid the issue entirely, artificial diamonds and diamond substitutes allow these socially-conscious consumers to have the beauty without worry.
Many of these manipulations have only been around for a few decades, so it remains to be seen how valuable they will be in the vintage and antique markets. Nevertheless, if you’re buying jewelry as a store for future wealth, getting a natural diamond will be the best choice. But if you are looking for a lower price for a high-quality piece of jewelry, one of these options may be better for your budget. Stop by Grogan Jewelers today to learn more and see some comparisons.