While genuine diamonds form naturally beneath the earth and are mined, synthetic diamonds are produced in a factory or laboratory. Many companies that manufacture synthetic diamonds are fond of boasting that it is impossible to distinguish these items from the real thing.
Technology has now made it possible for synthetic diamonds to be produced in larger sizes, and marketing them to the public (as opposed to industry) is a new trend. Most of the synthetic diamonds on the commercial market, which are usually yellow, are manufactured in a process called High Pressure High Temperature.
Who Can Tell the Difference?
A trained gemologist who is experienced in analyzing gemstone is in the best position to distinguish simulated diamonds from the real thing. However, this is a difficult process, and the purchaser is not always interested in learning the truth.
Professional Detection Techniques
Diamond laboratories, particularly in Belgium, with a history of analyzing and certifying diamonds for clarity and color, are now taking on the task of distinguishing between genuine and synthetic diamonds. However, this is an imperfect science, and the production of the artificial variety is improving at a steady pace.
Some laboratories use two kinds of machines for this purpose. One shines light through the gemstone to analyze the spectral traits of the emitted or absorbed light. If the presence of a synthetic gem is indicated, a secondary machine then uses ultraviolet light to determine the inner structure of the crystal. Both machines examine the stones’ defects, including those that are microscopic or atomic.
Not surprisingly, De Beers is taking the lead when it comes to the detection and disclosure of synthetic diamonds, and the cartel is using vast amounts of money to finance its new scientific division. The main goal of their Gem Defensive Programme is to develop reliable methods for separating genuine diamonds from the synthetic variety. This involves the use of advanced technology that gemologists could only speculate about in the past. Today, De Beers’ Gem Defensive Programme is supplying large gemological laboratories with DiamondView and DiamondSure equipment free of charge for this purpose.
“The Difference Between Real and Synthetic Diamonds.” Diamonds, Engagement Rings, Diamond Jewelry – Buy Diamonds Online at Abazias. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Aug. 2010. http://www.abazias.com/diamondblog/diamond-education/the-difference-between-real-and-synthetic-diamonds.
“Synthetic Diamonds: Diamond Source of Virginia Diamond Loose Diamonds Education.” Diamond Rings, Engagement Rings, Loose Diamonds, Diamond Broker and Jeweler | Diamond Source of Virginia. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Aug. 2010. http://www.diamondsourceva.com/Education/ArtificialDiamonds/synthetic-diamonds.asp.
“Detecting Manufactured Diamonds – How to Identify Synthetic Diamonds.” Diamonds-Precious Gems-Jewelry-Gemstones. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Aug. 2010. http://www.asia-gems.com/diamonds/synthetic-diamonds-detection.php.