We believe that everything we do should be: beautiful, innovative, ecologically sound and ethically responsible. Here at Catlogix we firmly believe that the stunning, real, lab grown diamonds from our European supplier embody our ethos. Our jewellery is for everyone, certified hypoallergenic, and safe for all. You can read more about our story here
3 big reasons why we believe lab grown diamonds are best
- Lab grown diamonds can be traced from start to finish. You can be confident that your lab grown diamond earrings are the product of scientists, with full traceability. With these diamonds you can be certain that your jewellery is conflict free, they are not 'blood diamonds'.
- As a new industry, ecological impacts are considered from the beginning. For your peace of mind, many lab grown diamonds are produced using only renewable sources and more and more are moving to this sustainable way. Producing lab grown diamonds is not fossil fuel dependant like mined diamonds are. Instead they are produced using the latest HTHP or CVD technologies, more about them below.
- Once your genuine diamonds have been grown, they still need to be cut, polished and finished so that their full sparkle can be unleashed. All this work has been done by human hands for millennia. Skilled, trained and dedicated people around the world who can take that 'diamond in the rough' and transform it into a thing of beauty.
We appreciate the great skill and accuracy needed to produce these real, lab grown diamonds of gemstone size and quality. Especially those with the clarity and fire of their mined counterparts. This complete process is why we, and you, can be proud to use lab grown diamonds in your jewellery. You can buy our diamond earrings here.
Ethical considerations when choosing your diamond jewellery
Firstly, lab grown diamonds are conflict free. They are grown in labs in developed countries with full traceability from start to finish which ensures they are not used illegally to fund wars or conflicts. The term 'Blood diamonds' relates to diamonds which are used to fund undemocratic revolutions, often through conflict or civil war.
The Kimberly Process is traditional mining’s attempt to combat this problem and 71 countries have signed up to offer authentication and traceability from their diamonds. This is a strong move in the right direction, however there are still loopholes and countries not signed up. Choosing lab grown diamonds avoids this issue altogether.
Lab grown diamonds require small tracts of land for the lab to be built on. In contrast to traditional mining which needs immense holes and tonnes of soil to be displaced. With lab grown diamonds, dangerous hazards are not created for future generations.
It takes less energy to produce lab grown diamonds than it does to mine them. There is a push within the lab grown diamond industry to reduce the amount of energy needed, to make the process as efficient and sustainable as possible. Much of the current energy comes from renewable sources, further cementing the view that ecological considerations should be at the forefront of this new industry.
This is not to say that mined diamonds have no benefits, after all there is a boost to the local economy as many jobs are created during the 10-20 years the mine is worked for. The downside is: what happens when the mining stops?
Diamond mining leaves massive holes in the earth. Thousands of tonnes of soil and rock are displaced when they go to sorting centres. This has long lasting implications for the people and animals in the area. The environment needs to be cleared up, made safe and rebuilt when the mine is worked out.
Watercourses can be damaged, migration paths disrupted, dangerous gases released into the atmosphere. Now mining corporations need to set out plans to address these problems, but there is very little legislation to force them to. Unfortunately, the ground can be stripped of its resources and the local people left to attempt to clear up the problems they created.
History of the lab grown diamond process
Over the centuries there are been many attempts to replicate diamonds. In the 1950's the first process to do this with reliable and repeatable outcomes was observed. Firstly, in America in 1951 and then shortly afterwards in Sweden in 1953. From these early beginnings lab grown technologies have developed. Now over half of the diamonds produced for industry, as opposed to the jewellery trade, are grown this way. It is likely that your diamond tipped drill bit or other tools come from these early technologies.
It has taken many more decades of hard work to produce diamonds that are gemstone size and quality. It was only in the 90's that the very first experiments started to push these boundaries towards gemstone levels.
How are lab grown diamonds grown and formed?
Firstly, a diamond 'seed' is formed. This is an existing nano diamond, a minimum of 26 atoms big. This can be a mined or a lab grown diamond. Then one of two processes are used to grow the diamond, either High Pressure, High Temperature (HPHT) or Chemical Vapour Disposition (CVD).
The High Pressure, High Temperature method works by replicating the geological processes of diamonds in the earth. The diamond seed is put in a press or anvil which is filled with other sources of carbon e.g. graphite. It is heated to around 1400 degrees Centigrade and squeezed to create the pressure needed, this is around 5.5 gigapascal. This combination forces the carbon atoms to fuse to the seed, and over days and weeks this forms the gemstone size required.
In contrast, the CVD method works by using the gases Hydrogen and Methane. Lower pressures and temperature are used in this method. The gases are fused to the seed by using intense heat instead. There are several ways of getting the heat e.g. Laser beams, electron beam or hot filament. This method is more commonly used for technical and scientific applications as the diamond can be bonded onto a base.
One of the main advantages of lab grown diamonds is the control over the final outcome. Diamonds can be grown to specific sizes, with some control of specific properties and interestingly, control over the final colour.
Mined diamonds come in a wide range of colours from pink, red, yellow, orange, green, blue and of course clear. Vibrant hues of diamonds are incredibly rare, and their value is higher accordingly. Clear gemstone quality diamonds are the next rarest. Most mined diamonds have some kind of pale tint to them. A notable example of the is at the Australian Argyle mine where up to 80% of the diamonds are yellow or brown.
Impurities of other elements often occur. Yellow diamonds are formed due to the presence of Nitrogen. Blue diamonds are formed when tiny qualities (less than 1 part per million), of Boron are included. Green diamonds have been exposed to specific levels of radiation in the past.
With lab grown diamonds, it is possible to grow beautiful, clear and brilliant diamonds of the highest gradings. It is also possible to deliberately add the other elements to create diamonds of striking hues.
Diamond Colour Scale
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Diamond grading, the four 'C's'
Every single diamond, whether mined or lab grown, must go through a rigorous grading process. This is standardised across the globe. Included in this process are what is known as 'The 4 C's'. More information here: https://igi.org/diamond_4cs.html
Carat is a measure of weight, not size. So, a diamond which weighs 0.2grammes will be 1 carat, 0.1g will be half a carat.
This describes how well the facets are cut to maximise the fire and brilliance of the diamond, not just the shape. It is a measure of the skill of the craftsperson who cut the diamond.
Completely clear diamonds are the most prized and are given the highest ranking of D. Diamonds with some colour in are given rankings down the alphabet to Z. Diamonds of a completely different colour such as blue and yellow are described as 'fancy' diamonds, and these have a slightly different ranking system to take into account the desired impact of the vibrant colour.
This is a measure of how perfect the stone itself is, whether there are any cracks, marks or faults with the gem. It is performed by looking through a x10 magnifying glass for problems not seen with the naked eye, but that will nevertheless affect how light refracts through the diamond.
It is very, very rare for mined diamonds to have no flaws or inclusions in them. Even lab grown diamonds are rarely perfect, it takes great skill even with this process to create a perfect, a 'paragon' diamond. The closer to flawless, the rarer the diamond. All our diamonds fall in the very slight inclusion category, some of the clearest you can get.
Diamond clarity chart and grades.
Simulants, diamond-like alternatives
Unfortunately, many people believe, or are led to believe, that lab grown diamonds are not real diamonds. Nothing could be further from the truth, lab grown diamonds are real diamonds with the same properties as their mined counterparts!
However, part of the reason for this confusion is the array of things that look like diamonds, but aren't, on the marketplace. The name for these are simulants, and commonly found ones are cubic zirconia, Swarovski crystal and mossanite.
Cubic zirconia (CZ) is not made from carbon at all but zirconium dioxide. Swarovski crystals are made of a type of lead-based glass and mossanite is a silicon carbide. None are as hard as diamond and can be chipped and scratched over time. So, whilst they all have their own distinctive sparkle, none can quite match up to the fire, brilliance and longevity of your genuine diamond.
Properties of all diamonds regardless of source
Diamonds have been revered by humankind as decoration since the 9th Century BC, and to create sharp and robust tools for many millennia longer.
Formed from the element Carbon, and only the element Carbon, they have unique properties that make them special to us.
Firstly, they are hard, really hard! So hard that they give a perfect 10 out of 10 on the commonly used Mohs hardness scale. Diamonds are almost impossible to scratch, realistically you need another diamond to do it, and this means that your jewellery they can hold its polish and gleam for generations to come.
Yet diamonds are workable, with great skill they can be broken with a hammer blow in the right spot. This ability to be broken is due to the diamonds special internal structure. Formed of a repeating pattern of 18 atom cubes that allow crisp, sharp facets to be exposed down to the molecular level when worked by a skilled craftsperson.
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They are also very light compared to other stones, which means that when combined with titanium in our earrings you can barely feel them on your ears.
Diamonds slightly draw heat away from the body meaning they feel slightly cool to the touch.
Also, diamonds are great at dispersing light of many colours, which means that they appear colourless to the human eye. Yet they possess the twinkle of diamond fire because all the colours of the rainbow are refracted in them.
Lab grown diamonds have these same properties because they are diamonds, not synthetics like mossanite or cubic zirconia (see above 'Simulants'). You can be confident that your diamond from us will have the same stunning capabilities.
Industry and science have other needs from diamonds, such as the ability to repel water. Or the natural electrical insulation, which mean that very little electrical charge flows through them. They also don't react to chemicals at room temperature which makes them stable.
How natural diamonds are formed in the ground
Diamonds were formed deep in the Earth’s mantle between 1 billion and 3.5 billion years ago, which means they were formed before plant life evolved on Earth! As such the commonly held myth that diamonds formed from coal is completely impossible. A specific combination of high temperature and pressure exerted itself on the Carbon molecules to create the formation of diamonds as opposed to graphite or carbon composites.
These diamonds were then transported up through the mantle and towards the crust of the Earth. In fascinating carrot shaped vertical tubes containing almost exclusively kimberlite rocks. The first kimberlite pipe, as these are known, was found in Kimberley in South Africa, which gave it the name.
These diamond containing pipes are considerably younger, geographically speaking, than the diamonds themselves. These pipes formed and flowed through the crust between 10 million and 300 million years ago. The speed at which they moved was integral to the diamonds moving rather than changing form; and those rocks moved fast... between 4 and 20 meters per second, that works out at between 9 and 45 miles per hour!
These pipes occur all over the planet, in India, Southern and Central Africa, Australia, North America, Russia and Brazil. They occur on land and also in the sea, particularly on the Namibian coast.
A special mention goes out to diamonds from outer space. Scientists have found that around 3% of the Carbon in asteroids are made of incredibly small, invisible with the naked eye, nano diamonds. Some of these diamonds have been found on Earth in asteroid craters. These are really useful from a scientific perspective for dating a crater and learning about where an asteroid came from, but they have little use for industrial or decorative purposes.
For more information on diamonds and famous diamonds have a look here: http://www.capetowndiamondmuseum.org/about-diamonds/famous-diamonds/
There are 4 main ways in which diamonds are mined. Alluvial deposits, open pit mines, underground mines and marine mining.
Alluvial deposits are the oldest form, dating from 9the Century BC in India. Gravel on riverbeds is lifted and sorted to find the diamonds. Nowadays this done by damming areas where diamonds have been found, next the riverbed is removed and then taken to a processing centre to be sifted so the rough diamonds are found. Less of these are found now.
Open pit diamond mines are some of the largest man made areas ever formed. Several are even visible from space e.g. the Kimberly mine in South Africa, the Mir mine in Russia and the Diavik mine in Canada. As the kimberlite pipes that form diamonds are vertically carrot shaped, these mines are astonishingly deep. Again, all those tonnes of soil, the mixed rock and diamond are removed from the hole for sorting in a separate location.
Underground mines tend to follow on when it becomes too difficult to mine openly and are even deeper. They involve drilling parallel tunnels and then blasting the contents of one tunnel into the other so that the rock can be moved.
Marine mining uses ships to dredge the bottom of the sea floor to lift the gravel and seabed to the surface for sorting.
We strongly believe that lab grown diamonds offer a humane, environmentally sustainable and visually stunning alternative to mined diamonds.
This is why we at Catlogix are proud to stock lab grown diamonds with hypoallergenic backings in our store.
Peace of mind for all.
Have a look here for some fun facts about diamonds: https://geology.com/articles/diamond-information/
Our lab grown diamond stud earrings