Synthetic diamonds are grown in a laboratory and have essentially the same chemical composition and crystal structure as natural diamonds formed millions of years ago. In the last 30 years, gem quality synthetic diamonds have been grown in Japan, South Africa, Russia, Ukraine and the United States. Synthetic diamonds are generally produced using either High Pressure/High Temperature (HPHT) or Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD).
Early attempts to synthesize diamonds date all the way back to the nineteenth century. But the process of duplicating the extreme heat and pressure under which natural diamonds are formed was elusive. In 1955, General Electric overcame these technological barriers and produced small, industrial-quality stones – the first synthetic diamonds. Since then, the processes of synthesizing diamonds have gotten better and better.
Gem-quality synthetic diamonds have been available to consumers since the mid-1980s. While they represent a small segment of the market, they are becoming more widespread and increasingly difficult to detect when purchasing diamonds. GIA is at the forefront in meeting this challenge, giving a distinct report for synthetics so that there is no confusion in the marketplace.