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Are Lab Grown Diamonds Considered Synthetic?

Sep 13

It is not correct to call Lab Grown Diamonds ‘synthetic’. Synthesis is the combining of different chemicals to create another material that looks like the one being copied. Examples of this is synthetic  leather or synthetic rubber, used to look like their natural counterparts. From a scientific chemist’s standpoint, growing a diamond involves merely changing one form of carbon (graphite) into another form of carbon, (diamond), – exactly as with an earth-mined, and as such no synthesis occurs. So, the term ‘synthetic’ is chemically inaccurate for diamond, as a diamond is not made from synthetic carbon, and since no one has yet synthesised carbon, there is no such thing as a synthetic diamond. Recently in America, there has been a sweeping change in the FTC’s ruling on diamond description, (the same body as our Commerce Commission), It removed the previously specified term, ‘natural’ origin used by the earth mined industry to promote their diamonds as ‘superior’ when defining a diamond. Previously the FTC definition stated a diamond was a natural mineral consisting essentially of pure carbon crystalized in the Cubic system. Now the word ‘natural’ has been erased. The FTC has now ruled: “The Commission no longer defines a ‘diamond’ by using the term ‘natural’ because it is no longer accurate to define diamonds as ‘natural’ when it is now possible to create products that have essentially the same optical, physical, and chemical properties as mined diamonds.

‘Synthetic’ is also defined as ‘Not natural or genuine: artificial or contrived, fake, imitation’. Since lab-grown diamonds are the same as earth-mined, it is no longer acceptable to call only an earth-mined diamond ‘natural’ Both are in fact natural, so lab-grown diamonds can’t be called synthetic. ‘Synthetic’ is the preferred name used by the mining diamond industry to describe lab-grown diamonds, as they believe that the term ‘synthetic’ cheapens the product and promotes their view of the ‘fake-ness’ of lab-created diamonds, in their attempt to denigrate lab-grown diamonds and to create confusion between lab-grown diamonds (which are diamonds) and lab-grown diamond simulants (which are not diamonds).

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