Lab Diamond Process


The beauty and brilliance of diamonds has been admired throughout history. However, in past centuries, the largest and loveliest diamonds were reserved strictly for royalty. Today, thanks to remarkable diamond manufacturing technology, like Lab Diamonds's Simulant, everyone can afford this dazzling, eye-catching jewelry.

THE SCIENCE BEHIND OUR PROCESS


HAND-CUT CORE. We start with the finest rough available and hand-cut the core to ideal "Hearts and Arrows" specifications, which are better in every aspect on the GIA diamond grading scale than most naturally mined diamonds.

DIAMOND COATED SURFACE. The entire surface of Lab Diamonds is completely coated with Diamond-like Carbon (or "DLC"). Carbon-to-carbon bonds are defined by their hybridization. SP3 bonding is found in diamonds and the SP2 bonding is found in graphite. DLC has a variety of bonds and one of the defining properties of DLC is the multitude of bonds, particularly the SP3 to SP2 ratio. The greater the proportion of SP3 bonding in a DLC film, the closer its properties will gravitate towards true diamond-likeness. Our Lab Diamonds have a significantly greater ratio of SP3 to SP2 bonds. This distinction is what makes the Lab Diamond so fabulous and desirable. Each nano diamond particle that surrounds the core stone is pure diamond, with all its splendid optical and physical properties.

CLEANED TO PERFECTION. The cleanliness of the gemstone immediately prior to coating is very important. Because the film is very thin, all contaminants such as fingerprints and polishing compound must be removed. Clean room practices similar to semiconductor manufacturing are used to prevent contamination of the pristine gemstone by very fine air-born dust particles. The result of this stringent air control is a perfect gem of exceptional sparkle, durability and beauty.

DLC FILM DEPOSITION. There are many ways to deposit DLC films. The most common methods involve a vacuum chamber and a power supply. Common methods are Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD), Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD), and Ion Beam Assisted Deposition (IBAD). Extra energy for ionization or chemical disassociation may be applied by high frequency power such as microwaves or radio waves. Microwave Assisted Chemical Vapor Deposition (MACVD) or Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) methods are often used for DLC coating.

DIAMOND-LIKE CARBONIZATION. The DLC film is condensed from a vaporized form of carbon onto the gemstones. Carbon vapor may be either pure carbon gas from an arc or ion source or a chemical precursor, such as acetylene or methane. The vapor is usually ionized to a greater or lesser degree by the energy of the source power supply. This energetic carbon-rich vapor is extremely reactive and will coat surfaces inside the chamber. The energy of the arriving carbon species causes bombardment of the depositing DLC layer. The impact of the incoming carbon material profoundly affects the film properties. Adhesion of the film is also affected. The various deposition processes each have an optimal bombarding energy which is usually measured in electron volts.

HARDNESS TESTING.
The hardness of DLC films may be measured by a device called a nano-indenter. This machine has a very tiny diamond point or stylus (similar to an old phonograph needle). As this tiny diamond point is driven into the DLC film, the required force measures the film`s hardness. Some DLC films with SP3 nano crystalline phases have zones that will actually measure harder than diamonds. When that occurs, the nano-indenter`s diamond tip will be softer than the ultra-hard carbon zones and may actually shatter during the gemstone`s hardness measurement process. This is an amazing phenomenon because no known bulk material is harder than diamond.


"Lab Diamonds are the only diamond simulants in the world that are uniformly fused with lab-grown genuine diamond."



COATING PARAMETERS. For gemstone coating, the following parameters are important: Hardness, Transparency, Color, Film stress, Thickness Uniformity, Film Adhesion to the stone. DLC films require sophisticated and expensive equipment, therefore the cost and selection of deposition are usually important factors. On the plus side, our DLC processes are very "green", using vacuum processes that require only small quantities of safe gases that are environmentally-benign.

With our finest synthetic stone process, it is virtually impossible to tell the difference between a mined diamond and a well-cut lab diamond - without the assistance of magnification. Since it does not contain any of the impurities or flaws normally found in natural diamonds, our lab diamonds usually deliver more sparkle and clarity than an unearthed diamond. While manufactured diamonds are not exactly as hard as diamonds, they are very close and still much harder than most other gemstones.

It is easy for a gemologist to determine the difference between diamonds (natural or synthetic) and diamonds simulants (lab-made). But it is not so easy to determine the true type of material from the websites or marketing ads. We hope to provide you with information and credible resources that will help you to sort through the misleading marketing descriptions and avoid making expensive mistakes.

It is important to us that our customers clearly understand the diamond industry and jewelry terminology to make an informed decision on the type of stones they want in their jewelry and which will best meet their particular requirements.

To meet your shopping expectations, please review our Diamond Simulant FAQs for any other information or tidbits that may help you learn more about diamond simulants, our technology and our customer service.

If you have other questions, please feel free to send us your inquiries or comments.