From Carbon to Carat: How to Grow a Diamond

Venture with us on a fascinating journey from carbon to carat as we explore what are lab-grown diamonds and how they come to be. Once only accessible through the luck of geologic happenstance and painstaking extraction, diamonds can now be crafted in labs. These gems share similar allure and timeless elegance as their natural counterparts, but their journey from creation to cut is a modern twist on an age-old process. Lab-grown diamonds are an affordable everyday luxury that redefines the fashion jewelry industry and our understanding of how easy it is to elevate any look with the simple addition of a little luster.

Understanding Diamonds: From Natural to Lab-Grown

Once upon a time, deep within the Earth's mantle, under conditions of intense heat and pressure, diamonds formed. Over billions of years, these carbon atoms arranged themselves into a unique lattice structure, giving birth to what we now know as natural diamonds. These gems are treasured for their hardness, brilliance, and the sheer awe that comes with owning a piece of Earth's antiquity. But hey, did you know there's another way to get the same radiance without waiting for eons? Enter lab-grown diamonds.

Unlike their natural counterparts, lab-grown diamonds don't require millennia to form. They're created right here, in laboratories, under controlled conditions that mimic the Earth's. Why? Well, for one, offer control over the production process, making them an affordable luxury. These lab-grown marvels also share similar physical and chemical properties with natural diamonds — from crystal structure to distinctive shine. But it's best to think about them as fraternal, not identical, twins, as the creation process is quite different. And trust us, it's a story worth telling.

The Seeds of Creation: Diamond Seeds

If you’ve ever wondered what is a lab-grown diamond and what’s it made of, we have your answer. It all starts with a tiny speck called a diamond seed. These seeds aren't the kind you'd find in a fruit or flower, but they're just as essential in the growth of a diamond. These microscopic fragments of the diamond act as a blueprint, guiding the formation of the diamond crystal lattice.

These seeds are meticulously sourced and prepared for their big role in the diamond creation saga. The real magic begins once they are impeccably cleaned and placed into a diamond growth chamber. A carbon-rich gas is introduced as temperatures rise to mimic the Earth's inner mantle. The gas molecules break down, and the freed carbon atoms find their way onto the diamond seed. Like a meticulous architect, the seed guides the carbon atoms into the crystalline structure we recognize as a diamond. By the end of this fascinating process, what started as a speck transforms into a brilliant diamond. Up next, these promising seeds enter the next stage of the process — the fiery heart of the CVD reactor.


The Heart of Diamond Growth: The CVD Reactor

Let's journey to the heart of diamond growth: the Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) reactor. In this modern alchemist's dream, the seeds we discussed earlier are about to experience a dazzling transformation. The CVD reactor is like a high-tech pressure cooker that creates the perfect environment for our diamonds to grow. Inside, it replicates the intense conditions of the Earth's mantle, where carbon-containing gases are introduced.

Next, a shower of microwaves enters the scene, creating a plasma that breaks down the gas molecules. Like tiny artisans, carbon atoms then start building a diamond structure, layer by layer, on our seed. It takes about two weeks of this careful craftsmanship to grow a one-carat diamond. Voilà! You now have a lab-grown cushion cut diamond or any shape you fancy. This controlled process allows for the creation high-quality diamonds, as perfect as their natural counterparts, but created in the blink of the Earth's eye.

The Finishing Touches: Cutting and Polishing

Our lab-grown diamonds have had quite the journey so far, and now they're ready for the final touch — cutting and polishing. This phase is all about maximizing the diamond's brilliance and beauty. Master artisans cut and shape each diamond with precision, unlocking their inner radiance. Each cut is a dance of light, from the classic round to the romantic heart shape.

Post-cutting, the diamond is polished to perfection, transforming it into the finished product — those gleaming lab-grown diamond rings you've been eyeing. And where's the best place to buy lab-grown diamonds? Look no further than Lightbox Jewelry. Each of our stones meets high-quality standards because we believe you deserve nothing but the best. From carbon to carat, this entire process results in a product that is optically identical to a natural diamond. And we think that's pretty spectacular.

The Diamond Difference: Comparing Lab-Grown and Other Gemstones

When it comes to lab-grown diamonds and other gemstones like cubic zirconia and moissanite, there's a world of difference. Sure, they may look similar to the untrained eye, but a closer look reveals significant differences in chemical composition, hardness, and overall sparkle.

You might wonder, "Do lab-grown diamonds pass a diamond tester?" Absolutely! Unlike other gemstones, lab-grown diamonds share identical properties with natural diamonds, making them indistinguishable on a diamond tester. As for grading, at Lightbox Jewelry, we are committed to quality. Instead of relying on third-party certification, we guarantee the quality of our diamonds based on our rigorous internal assessments. So when you choose lab-grown, you're not settling for less. You're choosing a real, high-quality diamond that's been crafted with care, skill, and a dash of brilliance. 

Every Diamond Tells a Story, Regardless of Its Origin

With the art of diamond creation now explained, it’s evident that lab-grown diamonds stand as equals to their natural counterparts. The precise, controlled conditions of the lab replicate the fiery depths of Earth's mantle, giving birth to diamonds just as beautiful and resilient as those formed over millennia. This modern marvel opens a world of possibilities for affordable luxury. Yes, lab-grown diamonds do pass the diamond tester, and they also pass the test of time and style. Whether it's a gleaming ring or a dainty necklace, lab-grown diamonds have the power to make every moment truly shine. Find your lab-grown sparkle here at Lightbox Jewelry. 

  • Our environmental commitment

    At Lightbox we are big on transparency and our commitment to reducing the footprint of our stones is a huge part of this. See more on how we grow our stones with 100% renewable energy.

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  • Visit the lab

    Explore the Lightbox Lab in Portland, Oregon, home to our world-leading technology producing up to 200,000 carats a year, each one always VS clarity, very good cut and now 'grown in the USA'.

  • Lab-grown FAQs, answered.

    Our leading technology means our lab-grown diamonds are among the highest quality you can find. Learn more about the science behind the sparkle with our guide to lab-grown diamonds.