The diamond industry has advanced dramatically since the beginning of the 20th century, especially in creating new and innovative gemstones.
Yes, natural diamonds may be the first association you have with jewelry – but they are by no means the only ones. Since the 1950s, we’ve had the chance to witness the emergence and progress of lab-created stones – and now, there is talk of CVD diamonds.
What is CVD diamond? In short, these are neither natural nor lab-created stones – but something a little bit different and new to most jewelry lovers.
If you’re interested in this variety of diamonds, you’ve made the right click. Stay tuned till the end of this article to get the complete picture.
CVD Diamonds Explained
First, the name: CVD stands for Chemical Vapor Deposition. And before you make a guess based on the name, it’s important to note that these gemstones are not formed in the way that geological forces create natural diamonds. CVD diamonds first appeared on the market just over a decade ago.
So, how are these gemstones made?
The GIA states that the process of making CVD diamonds involves a type of gas (methane, for example) that’s pumped into a vacuum chamber – and then activated and broken down into molecules. During the process, carbon atoms accumulate on a substrate. After the accumulation, a CVD diamond is formed.
What is interesting to mention right away is the equipment and price of making this diamond. Contrary to many assumptions, the making of CVD diamonds requires less costly equipment than it takes to make a quality lab-created gemstone.
Given the emergence of this gemstone, jewelers are still in the process of experimenting and have used different types of gasses to evaluate the overall quality of the final product.
Usually, CVD diamonds do have a brownish color. However, scientists have found ways to remove this common characteristic of low-quality diamonds. Namely, the inclusion of higher temperatures during the process can remove the brown hue – but not entirely.
Learn More: Can You Remove Inclusions From a Diamond?
The GIA confirmed that CVD diamonds have significantly improved from their emergence a decade ago – and that now, various strategies help remove the graining patterns in them, as well.
It’s worth adding that the use of different types of gasses and temperatures affects the growth of diamonds. As for CVD diamonds, the timeline varies. Roughly speaking, it takes about two weeks to grow a 1-carat CVD diamond. Either way, there’s no need to rush and jump to conclusions regarding this gem.
There is clearly room for improvement in the diamond industry – and we’re sure to see even better and higher-quality versions of this “invention” in the near future.
The 4 C’s Of CVD Diamonds
When it comes to color, we have already mentioned that CVD diamonds are rarely colorless and that they are most often produced in a brownish color. And even though the methods for removing this color are usable in practice, it’s still one of the most common undertones for this gem.
The removal of these unwanted tones is done through a process called HPHT annealing – but on some gemstones, the hues are still visible to the naked eye. What may not be evident at first sight is that some intact CVD diamonds tend to change their color to grayish or blue under strong UV light – which is still better than brown and yellow.
Learn More: What Is The Difference Between HPHT And CVD?
Now, let’s move on to clarity: Since CVD diamonds are formed in a unique way, this also affects each stone’s clarity.
It may surprise you that CVDs are actually high in clarity. Unlike natural diamonds that contain iron and nickel, CVD synthetic diamonds have been shown to have very little to almost no inclusions. They are not even visible to the naked eye.
Most of these diamonds have tiny black “crystals” and pinpoints on certain parts, though.
Lab-grown, natural, and CVD synthetic diamonds all go through a similar cutting procedure in this regard. CVD diamonds undergo a detailed laser cutting procedure that helps remove – and slightly “flatten” – the rough edges. That’s followed by polishing, as with any other diamond type.
As for cutting them, the crystals appear in layers – so the process is different for each stone. With some CVD diamonds, it’s easier to get the desired shape. And with others, on the other hand, you’ll need to spend some extra time on cutting and polishing.
It’s important to mention that the cutting of these diamonds is limited to two shapes – flat or tabular.
Perhaps the most interesting characteristic of CVD diamonds would be their carat weight. How many carats can they have? That has to do with what we mentioned recently:
The carat weight depends on the time of growth of the diamond. The longer the material grows, the more carats it will have. In terms of shape, the tabular form has its limitations, though.
In 2019, the heaviest CVD tabular diamond weighed 6 carats.
What’s The Value Of These Diamonds?
Since this is a diamond type that can still be considered relatively new on the market, it’s not simple to determine the exact cost. Contrary, you’ll come across various retailers that rely on different factors – and price their CVD diamonds accordingly.
What is certain is that these diamonds are up to 30% cheaper. One example is a 1.2-carat diamond that costs $1,600. However, this is just one example – and you shouldn’t rely on it too much when planning your budget.
Read Also: Will Lab Diamonds Hold Their Value?
Factors That Determine The Price
In addition to the standard 4 C’s of diamonds, there are several other factors that can shape the price of CVD diamonds. So, let’s go through them briefly.
Although many would disagree with this statement, a gem’s fluorescence can significantly affect its value. Simply put, this is how a diamond reacts to UV light. Strong fluorescence can make a gem appear “cloudy” and reduce its overall appeal.
One crucial document that can be used for putting the price on your gem is the certificate. It’s issued by an accredited association such as the GIA and contains essential information about the diamond – cut, weight, proportion, and the like. Having this document can ramp up the price of your gem (if you’re the one selling it, that is).
Lastly, symmetry is crucial when determining value: The more visible the asymmetry, the lower the value of that diamond. Naturally, diamonds with perfectly arranged facets are higher in value. With specific shapes of diamonds, this can be easily noticed after polishing.
To notice this better next time you walk into a jewelry store, check out an article on Diamond Symmetry: How It Affects Diamond Properties.
The Advantages Of CVD Diamonds
Since today’s focus was on CVD diamonds, let’s go through a few good sides – and potential reasons you should consider buying one over a good, old natural diamond.
We’ve already mentioned this characteristic, but there’s no harm in repeating it: These diamonds are characterized by better purity and fewer inclusions on the surface and the inside. Why?
Because they’re manufactured, so imperfections like that can be prevented. With naturally mined diamonds, this is not possible because their original shape is affected by natural forces.
Closely related to the first reason, access to technology and experimentation gives a certain advantage to these diamonds. With CVD diamonds, in particular, that can be seen in the use of different gasses when creating the material.
Progress in CVD diamonds is inevitable, and we are sure jewelers and diamond enthusiasts will continue to pursue perfection in diamond-making.
An obvious advantage of lab-grown diamonds over natural ones, for example, is that they’re environmentally friendly. While these diamonds are exclusively made in labs intended for these purposes, mining for natural diamonds requires the use of large amounts of fossil fuels and machines that harm the environment.
A Status Symbol
If we’re being completely honest, not everyone has the flexible budget to afford a diamond they like.
Naturally, we are all attracted to a large, brilliant-cut gemstone in the shop window, but our budget is not ready to withstand such a financial shock.
Luckily, synthetic and CVD diamonds have become a status symbol for most middle-class populations. These conscious consumers follow the principle of affordability – and with lab diamonds, there is a vast selection in front of you.
Learn More: Lab-created Diamond Vs. Natural Diamond
Tips Before Buying CVD Diamonds
Now that you’re familiar with the background story of CVD diamonds, here are some helpful guidelines if you are interested in buying.
Research The Diamond And Company
Lab-grown diamonds and CVD diamonds are, in most cases, sold online. And that’s why you should first perform thorough research before purchasing one. When we say “research,” we mean two things – researching the origin of your diamond and the company selling it.
Every lab-grown or synthetic diamond should have a document behind it that clearly states its origin. That’s crucial because it allows you to check how good your gemstone is.
In addition, every diamond with documents (like certification) behind it will be more valuable. Since we said that most lab-grown diamonds are available online, you should make an effort to research the company or individual that’s selling them. Don’t fall victim to online scams.
Watch Out For Grading
Here’s another important thing when it comes to documentation: Always check the paperwork.
That’s a big mistake – but it often happens that some customer is in a hurry to buy a diamond or simply doesn’t have the habit of paying attention to the paperwork of jewelry. The thing is, they should.
Buying a diamond that is NOT graded by GIA, IGI, or EGL USA is a huge mistake. These are grading systems that will give authenticity and formality to your gemstone, and anyone seeking to find the real deal – and insure it later – must consider this.
Related Read: Can You Insure A Lab-grown Diamond?
Work Within Budget
Even though CVD diamonds are cheaper, you still need to work within your budget and think twice before buying any jewelry. As is the case with natural and lab-grown diamonds, these gemstones can sometimes be of poor quality – and their price will seem too good to be true.
That’s not the way to go, though. It’s better to save a couple more hundred dollars and buy a high-quality diamond later.
Summing It Up
We’ve managed to get to the bottom of yet another innovation in the diamond industry, CVD diamonds. Let’s go through a few essential points once again.
Firstly, these diamonds appeared on the market about a decade ago. And from that point on, scientists and jewelers have worked diligently to promote this diamond alternative and make it more appealing to the public.
The formation process of this diamond involves various gasses and especially the timeframe during which the material – a CVD diamond – grows. That mainly affects the increase in carat weight, which, in turn, affects the price rise.
As for the 4C’s, CVD diamonds fall somewhere in the middle. The only thing that is not considered “desirable” is their brown color, which is associated with poor quality and lower clarity.
These diamonds have many advantages, though. For starters, they’re reasonably priced and eco-friendly. But as always – the final decision is yours.
Related Read: How Much Does It Cost To Make A Synthetic Diamond?