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Is it true that you cannot differentiate a lab diamond from a natural diamonds if there is no inscription?

denverappraiser

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What words are used in Google searches is interesting but not really the question at hand. DeBeers isn't even interesting. They're just, well, DeBeers. The other part of your argument is good. Unlike platinum or oxygen, diamonds are a manufactured product. That's not a compound but still seems important. They are not JUST carbon. Manufacturing is an agency of man. I suspect the growers would like that word even less and it would create even more confusion since mined diamonds are also subjected to manufacturing. That's what cutters et. al. do. It's the difference between trees and lumber.
 

123ducklings

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@John Pollard - Thanks for quoting me in the FAQ! I presented a paper at the last GIA Symposium on the topic of functional diamonds. Might pique your interest!


@denverappraiser - While I generally agree with most of your posts, it's not scientifically accurate to call the crystallization of carbon synthetic, as there is no synthesis that occurs in in the process of converting one allotrope of carbon into another allotrope of carbon.

To stick with your favored source of truth, dictionary.com: Synthesis: Noun. Chemistry. the forming or building of a more complex substance or compound from elements or simpler compounds.

There are no simpler compounds or substances combined to make a more complex compound. Diamond is not a compound. Diamond does not have multiple precursors. Diamond is just carbon atoms bonded to other carbon atoms via sp3 bonds, made from 1-atom diamonds (CH4) or graphite (sp2 bonded carbon).

Put another way, there is no such thing as:
  • synthetic oxygen
  • synthetic gold
  • synthetic carbon
Thus, there is no such thing as synthetic diamond, just as there is no such thing as synthetic platinum.

That being said, if you want to stick with De Beers' carefully chosen and promoted terminology for an existential threat to their entire mining operation.... that's your prerogative Screen Shot 05-24-21 at 03.58 PM.JPG .


It’s honestly frustrating when educational discussions on this board get derailed by the emotional marketing arguments.

Do you find (ie mine) your diamonds or make (ie synthesize) them? Which is it?

You cut off the second, (relevant) portion of the synthesis definition. From Merriam Webster, synthesis is the production of a substance by the union of chemical elements, groups, or simpler compounds or by the degradation of a complex compound


From your website:
B17969CC-66EC-4245-92A5-580A55E9BB70.jpeg
Even by your own simplified description, we are clearly talking about synthesis. Or are you arguing that hydrocarbon gas is an allotrope of carbon? (It’s not.)
 

sprinklesparkles

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Diamonds are carbon. Carbon is an element.

Elements cannot be synthesized.



The FTC (though I know we're not all in the US) determined quite a while back the terms natural and synthetic cannot be legally used to define any type of diamonds in marketing. It's incorrect and highly misleading, and was frequently being used to manipulate less educated consumers.
 
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denverappraiser

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Here are the FTC guidelines.

"If you sell laboratory-created diamonds, you should tell consumers that they are not mined diamonds by describing them as “laboratory-grown,” “laboratory-created,” “[manufacturer name]-created,” or some other word or phrase of like meaning so as to disclose, immediately preceding the word “diamond” and equally conspicuously, the nature of the product and the fact it is not a mined diamond. Do not use the terms “laboratory-grown,” “laboratory-created,” “[manufacturer name]-created,” “synthetic,” or other word or phrase of like meaning unless the product has essentially the same optical, physical, and chemical properties as a mined diamond."


They seem to be fine with the words "synthetic" and "mined" when accurately used.
 

John Pollard

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@Ada Diamonds CEO - you're welcome Jason.

FYI, over the last year I've raised your quote in a handful of educational webinars I've done for jewelers, brands and trade societies on the topic - just in case your ears were burning. It's a great segue into 'jewelry ice' being just the tip of the iceberg.

I've bookmarked your symposium talk to watch. FWIW my inner quantum entanglement nerd celebrated his 10Y anniversary this December - I enjoy following the myriad applications of LGDs across various sectors.
 

123ducklings

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The FTC (though I know we're not all in the US) determined quite a while back the terms natural and synthetic cannot be legally used to define any type of diamonds in marketing. It's incorrect and highly misleading, and was frequently being used to manipulate less educated consumers.

Actually, the FTC determined that terms like “natural” and “synthetic” cannot be legally used to describe any type of simulant (such as CZ or moissanite) because it is incorrect and highly misleading, and was creating confusion in the marketplace — which is what I said in my initial comment.

All are welcome to read through the guidelines, which make it clear that a modifier (lab-grown, man-made, synthetic, etc) is necessary if the diamond in question is not mined.

https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-i...0d9166d1&mc=true&node=pt16.1.23&rgn=div5#_top
 

John Pollard

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Here are some notes, from a few different points in history, that may be interesting.

1. GE's Tracy Hall and Thomas Anthony of General Electric (may they RIP) were scientific pioneers.

From Metastable Synthesis of Diamond (Thomas R. Anthony).

"Synthesis of diamond has been attempted for hundreds of years. With the successful synthesis and industrial production of diamond at high pressure, most of the work on the metastable synthesis of diamond in the graphite stable region of the carbon diagram ceased."

Anthony's work available here.

To this day scientific trade journals refer to the process of creating diamonds with technology as diamond synthesis. Thus, the end products are referred to as synthetic diamonds.

2. In 2015 the International Standards Organization ruled that any man-made diamonds must be referred to in one of three ways, and they led with “synthetic diamond.” The other options given were “laboratory-grown diamond” or “laboratory-created diamond.”

The ISO further noted that abbreviations (like “Lab-Grown”) are not to be used. But let’s keep that in context. The ISO serves the world, including many non-English speaking cultures using different alphabets and characters, so enforcing non-abbreviation makes sense.

Full ISO 18323 can be seen here.

3. The Federal Trade Commission has gradually changed position.

Before lab-grown diamonds gained their current attention and popularity in the market the FTC guides included the term synthetic-diamond, as well as laboratory-grown. In the last several years that changed. Producers of lab-grown diamonds lobbied to use the term cultured, and protested the term synthetic, because a lot of people associate that word with “fake.”

The FTC agrees that it's confusing, so they removed the word synthetic as a descriptor for LGDs in 2018. However…and this is word for word… The Commission does not “prohibit” marketers from ever using “synthetic” to disparage lab-grown diamonds.

Full FTC 2018 JGs can be seen here.

Seriously. According to the FTC you can shout “Ya lousy synthetic!” at a lab-grown diamond – if you want to hurt its feelings. :cool2:

2021-05-lets-talk-about-lab-grown-diamonds-ftc-1024x576.jpg


Nice timing, as I just blogged about LGDs here.
 

123ducklings

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Diamonds are carbon. Carbon is an element.

Elements cannot be synthesized.

Also, I didn’t address this portion of your comment at first because I was trying to stay on topic, but since this thread has come pretty far afield and because I hope that with more information comes greater understanding, I just want to point out that elements can definitely be synthesized. Heck, there’s an entire section of elements on the periodic table that don’t occur in nature and have only ever been synthesized in labs.

There’s no judgment or value attached to that information.
 

oncrutchesrightnow

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I read @John Pollard ’s helpful blog and it sounds like under magnification, certain inclusions + graining + color might lead someone to have a strong suspicion that a diamond is lab-created.

Is there anyone claiming, contrary to popular belief, that they can tell the difference with the naked eye?
 

Ada Diamonds CEO

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Is there anyone claiming, contrary to popular belief, that they can tell the difference with the naked eye?

On topic: If Laurence Graff and I both brought a random subset of 100 diamonds from our inventory to a blind test, my conjecture is that even the best jewelers could not reliably tell the origin of the diamonds with a loupe and tweezers.

That being said, if you took a random sample of 100 lab grown and 100 natural diamonds from an eCommerce website, even a layperson with no training at would notice that the diamonds were clearly different in appearance, and would be fairly successful in choosing which were man made and which were mined. Not 100% accurate, but well over 50% accurate, given how much blue nuanced HPHT and brown + pinkish brown CVD is on eCommerce sites today.

It’s honestly frustrating when educational discussions on this board get derailed by the emotional marketing arguments.

From your website:

Even by your own simplified description, we are clearly talking about synthesis. Or are you arguing that hydrocarbon gas is an allotrope of carbon? (It’s not.)

O/T: I agree on the emotional aspect. Personally, I am fairly agnostic to most terminology chosen as I am confident that consumers cognate the difference between a naturally occuring Earth-extracted crystal of carbon and a man-made crystal of carbon.

To be candid and transparent, we use all the commonly used terms for laboratory-grown diamonds throughout our website, for SEO purposes. This includes synthetic diamonds.

If it were up to me personally, I'd use latin prefixes to explicitly differentiate diamond origins:
  1. Subterrestrial Diamonds - carbon that was crystalized into diamond underneath the Earth
  2. Superterrestrial Diamonds - carbon that was crystalized (by humans) above the surface of the Earth
  3. Extraterrestrial Diamonds - carbon that was crystalized in space or on another planet.

As to your question about hydrocarbons and breaking down hydrocarbons being synthesis of diamond, I'd respectfully disagree for two reasons.

#1) Diamond can be a hydrocarbon, as it's possible for diamond to be terminated with hydrogen surfaces (IE a 1-atom thick layer of hydrogen on top of the carbon crystal lattice). This is actually an area of intense scientific interest for extremely high performance semiconductors (2D Electron Hole Gas, to be specific), so hydrocarbon diamond is a promising new frontier to improve humanity.

#2) the 4 hydrogen atoms that bond to the carbon atom in a molecule of methane are the exact same bond as the 4 bonds that hold a carbon atom to the other carbon atoms (sp3 bonds) in a unit cell of diamond.

In the CVD reaction, hydrogen is being etched away from BOTH the diamond plate and the CH4 by the microwave energy, at the same time, and then the resulting dangling bonds are matched and the carbon mates to other carbon atoms in the plate.

It's a bit of a scientific edge case, but one can make the argument that 2 carbon atoms with 6 hydrogen atoms is a 2 atom diamond, and one carbon atom with 4 hydrogen atoms is a 1 atom diamond.

If you dig deep on the mechanics of the hydrogen terminated surface of both the growing CVD diamond (which is a hydrocarbon, see #1 above) and the CH4 used to feed the diamond, it's simply not synthesis.

That's my basis for my disagreement with your argument; however, I am certainly happy to agree to disagree.

@Ada Diamonds CEO - you're welcome Jason.

FYI, over the last year I've raised your quote in a handful of educational webinars I've done for jewelers, brands and trade societies on the topic - just in case your ears were burning. It's a great segue into 'jewelry ice' being just the tip of the iceberg.

I've bookmarked your symposium talk to watch. FWIW my inner quantum entanglement nerd celebrated his 10Y anniversary this December - I enjoy following the myriad applications of LGDs across various sectors.

It's a critically important thing to understand about the larger producers of diamonds - the gemstone market is a small segway/gateway into the much larger market for functional diamonds. Just as moissanite gemstones were a segway into moissanite semiconductors, the same maturation of the technology is occuring in diamond.

IE CREE funded their SiC business via sales from Charles Colvard, and my Tesla Model Y has moissanite inverters that convert the DC from the battery into AC in for the motors far more efficiently than the inverters in the Model S and X, which use traditional silicon inverters.

The reason it's so important to the great debate of man made vs mined diamonds is that man made diamonds will substantially reduce the carbon footprint of humanity in the years ahead.

Eventually, Tesla (and thousands of other companies that use high power electronics) will transition from silicon to moissanite to diamond inverters and gain even more efficiency.

Here's an interesting look at quantum magnetic sensing with a lab diamond, that may scratch your itch! I audited a quantum computing class my freshman year of college, it was mindblowing (but mostly over my head TBH):


Also, I didn’t address this portion of your comment at first because I was trying to stay on topic, but since this thread has come pretty far afield and because I hope that with more information comes greater understanding, I just want to point out that elements can definitely be synthesized. Heck, there’s an entire section of elements on the periodic table that don’t occur in nature and have only ever been synthesized in labs.

There’s no judgment or value attached to that information.

Correct. In theory, humanity could eventually develop the capability to fuse three helium atoms into carbon atoms via the triple alpha process. If we were fusing helium into carbon and growing diamonds from that carbon, I guess you could call the resulting carbon/diamonds synthetic.

O/T of my O/T- speaking of nuclear fusion, man-made diamonds are an 'indispensable' material required for nuclear fusion:

 

FL_runner

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@Ada Diamonds CEO Thanks, that tells me what the most obvious signs are in lesser quality products.

I think this is an important point. If you have a lab diamond with higher color and clarity grade, i would imagine it would be more challenging to tell apart from a similarly graded natural diamond when looking at the material of the diamond itself. It makes sense that certain types of inclusions, presence or absence of fluorescence, and colors would exist based on the way the diamond was formed/grown. And that lower clarity/lower color diamonds that are not eye-clean may have distinct features that would suggest lab or natural origin.

As a layperson, my experience has been that to the naked eye and casual loupe my lab and natural diamonds are not distinguishable. My preference is for colorless/near colorless and VS1 or "higher" for clarity. So for colorless, completely eye-clean diamonds this seems to be where more extensive testing would come into play to determine origin.

BTW I have no trouble discussing whether a diamond is mined or lab! Not trying to "fool" anyone :) I love vintage jewelry which tends to be mined, but have purchased some lab diamonds when looking for new jewelry- earrings, for example, I went with a nice pair of lab studs.
 

oncrutchesrightnow

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This is actually all highly educational and much appreciated. I am starting to consider LGD and now I can make better choices based on, for example, the intersection of whether the diamond was made using HPHT and as a result has metallic inclusions; and whether the diamond is eye clean.

It’s been twenty years since I last got into a message board argument, but since the triple alpha process occurs in nature a human-made diamond consisting of human-fused carbon atoms still would not be synthetic. It will be hard to argue with somebody who fuses their own carbon. Practically speaking, whoever invents commercially viable fusion is going to win the marketing argument by sheer force.
 

nojs

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I read @John Pollard ’s helpful blog and it sounds like under magnification, certain inclusions + graining + color might lead someone to have a strong suspicion that a diamond is lab-created.

Is there anyone claiming, contrary to popular belief, that they can tell the difference with the naked eye?

How about:



Blue nuance (even according to the cert):

https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/radiant-cut/0.79-carat-g-color-vs1-clarity-sku-9450448

I would be highly suspicious of these stones even with a naked eye and more so with a loupe.
 

oncrutchesrightnow

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How about:



Blue nuance (even according to the cert):

https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/radiant-cut/0.79-carat-g-color-vs1-clarity-sku-9450448

I would be highly suspicious of these stones even with a naked eye and more so with a loupe.
8C24DC6D-1A49-4C18-8B12-8551E1597308.jpeg B364CA1C-726E-4269-8AA9-78CA2475711F.jpeg
9AADD397-5A4F-40F1-B9EB-21E5DFCE7887.jpeg


Wow.

Am curious what others have to say.

All I got is an internet education but those inclusions look just like the ones in most of the “how LGD are made” articles online. If somebody looked at a ginormous SI2 lab grown diamond with the naked eye, saw those inclusions, and said they strongly suspected the stone was lab grown, I would not dismiss their assertion.

Don’t want to rely on my internet education though, because for the amount of money riding on public perception, odds are a lot of the so-called neutral internet articles on LGD are probably biased.

So it would be good to hear from more experts. Keeping in mind that you could never say for absolute certainty. If one person was wearing a large LGD with SI2 clarity visible inclusions like the ones shown above, and a second person rudely said they thought the diamond was lab grown, would the second person be credible?
 

nojs

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8C24DC6D-1A49-4C18-8B12-8551E1597308.jpeg B364CA1C-726E-4269-8AA9-78CA2475711F.jpeg
9AADD397-5A4F-40F1-B9EB-21E5DFCE7887.jpeg


Wow.

Am curious what others have to say.

All I got is an internet education but those inclusions look just like the ones in most of the “how LGD are made” articles online. If somebody looked at a ginormous SI2 lab grown diamond with the naked eye, saw those inclusions, and said they strongly suspected the stone was lab grown, I would not dismiss their assertion.

Don’t want to rely on my internet education though, because for the amount of money riding on public perception, odds are a lot of the so-called neutral internet articles on LGD are probably biased.

So it would be good to hear from more experts. Keeping in mind that you could never say for absolute certainty. If one person was wearing a large LGD with SI2 clarity visible inclusions like the ones shown above, and a second person rudely said they thought the diamond was lab grown, would the second person be credible?

Obviously I would never say anything to anyone about how I would assume a lab diamond. And I guess most people would not pick these diamonds to begin with. But they demonstrate how a lab diamond and a natural diamond are not always identical, and sometimes the difference could be eye-visible.
 

denverappraiser

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@nojs. If you're buying a large diamond of better than terrible grade (I2s and I3s), have the seller get a credible lab report on it and show it to you. If they refuse, walk away. Even if they're claiming lab-grown, they're making additional claims about things like clarity, color, and cutting, all of which have important effects on the pricing. If you're selling, your buyer will have the same sorts of questions. Lab inspections aren't all that expensive and, assuming we're talking about a stone in the multi-carat range, there's probably quite a bit of money involved.

In terms of wearability, no, neither you nor anyone else will be able to tell without both tools and a close inspection, if even that.
 
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oncrutchesrightnow

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Obviously I would never say anything to anyone about how I would assume a lab diamond. And I guess most people would not pick these diamonds to begin with. But they demonstrate how a lab diamond and a natural diamond are not always identical, and sometimes the difference could be eye-visible.

Thanks for your answer... I would never say anything, either. I’m thinking about the consumer who wants a real diamond, is fine with lab instead of mined, but does not want anyone to know that it is lab grown. Then some rude person comes along, like the type of jerk that asks, “Is that a moissanite?” And says ,”Oh that’s a lab grown.” I would not want the person who gets the lab grown diamond to be embarrassed or feel cheated.

Right now after reading all these posts, if a friend was looking for advice on buying a lab grown diamond and their main fear was other people knowing it was lab grown, I would advise my friend it would be nearly impossible to tell with the naked eye, but maybe do not get a large SI2 with shiny metallic inclusions.

And way way down on my jewelry priority wish list I am going to add “magnetic diamond that glows blue.” I wonder if it would be possible to magnetize the inclusions so that you could attract stuff with your ring?
 

oncrutchesrightnow

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@nojs. If you're buying a large diamond of better than terrible grade (I2s and I3s), have the seller get a credible lab report on it and show it to you. If they refuse, walk away. Even if they're claiming lab-grown, they're making additional claims about things like clarity, color, and cutting, all of which have important effects on the pricing. If you're selling, your buyer will have the same sorts of questions. Lab inspections aren't all that expensive and, assuming we're talking about a stone in the multi-carat range, there's probably quite a bit of money involved.

In terms of wearability, no, neither you nor anyone else will be able to tell without both tools and a close inspection, if even that.

Thanks for replying. What do you think about those diamonds that njos posted? If a rude person said to a newly engaged person, “Congratulations! Lemme see your ring!” Then held it up to their near-sighted eye, saw those inclusions, and said, “Oh, your fiancé was cheap and you are trashy! That’s fake!” Do you think that scenario where someone could tell is possible, or not at all? Well mannered people would never say something like that but we all know it happens. Or even if people don’t say it they do judge others by whether someone’s diamond is lab or mined.
 

Beautiful-disaster

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Knowing the gem and jewellery industry isn’t regulated over here in Australia this thread has me thinking there must be a lot of MMD’s out there without the people who are wearing them knowing that’s what they are.
I couldn’t imagine someone would disclose it to a pawn broker etc when they can get more money for a mined natural diamond. The piece is then sold on and on etc
99% of the people I know do not know to ask or would even think to have testing done.
Makes me question my own bought diamonds as well TBH.

I not against buying and owing MMD’s with clear knowledge that’s what they are. Some people outwardly prefer it as it the humanitarian option.
 

aisak901

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Knowing the gem and jewellery industry isn’t regulated over here in Australia this thread has me thinking there must be a lot of MMD’s out there without the people who are wearing them knowing that’s what they are.
I couldn’t imagine someone would disclose it to a pawn broker etc when they can get more money for a mined natural diamond. The piece is then sold on and on etc
99% of the people I know do not know to ask or would even think to have testing done.
Makes me question my own bought diamonds as well TBH.

I not against buying and owing MMD’s with clear knowledge that’s what they are. Some people outwardly prefer it as it the humanitarian option.

I think that would depend on if it's laser inscribed or not, my MMD says right on the girdle before the cert number that it is "lab grown", and I'm assuming most reputable labs include this on the stones and I hope people are checking their stones to make sure they match the cert number.

I love my MMD, I don't think I'll ever consider natural mined in the future (unless it's preloved). I liken it to making ice in an ice cube tray vs. getting it direct from the glacier, the end result is the same as far as I'm concerned. Does anyone know if there was the same reluctance/controversy about natural vs. cultured pearls when they were first introduced into the market?
 

Beautiful-disaster

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I think that would depend on if it's laser inscribed or not, my MMD says right on the girdle before the cert number that it is "lab grown", and I'm assuming most reputable labs include this on the stones and I hope people are checking their stones to make sure they match the cert number.

I love my MMD, I don't think I'll ever consider natural mined in the future (unless it's preloved). I liken it to making ice in an ice cube tray vs. getting it direct from the glacier, the end result is the same as far as I'm concerned. Does anyone know if there was the same reluctance/controversy about natural vs. cultured pearls when they were first introduced into the market?

Is it possible the setting would hide the laser inscription on the stone? When we bought my ER (the 17yrs ago) the jeweller said it was a Passion8 diamond and we probably should have it inscribed to stop someone switching it out on me in the future. We never had it done and as the ring was already made I never had the stone tested.

I believe the jeweller that is a passion8 as it has all the hearts and arrows (before this was a common thing passion8 was the only people to offer the perfect cut H&A) - he also offered to my hubby to drop the price in half if he switched out the diamond but hubby said no because I had already fallen in love with it.

I guess at the end of the day if you love it and enjoy it everyday like I do .... it doesn’t really matter at all.
 

denverappraiser

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I don’t think its nearly as common as people believe. Pawnbrokers and the like buy the tools. They're on the legal hook for misrepresenting what they sell, even if they don’t know and a single mistake can be very expensive for them. 98% are easy. The other 2% can be easily avoided by not buying them. The solution for consumers is easy enough. If you buy from a vendor that you don’t find reliable, DON’T RELY ON THEM. Don’t rely on paperwork they provide. Use the labs. Use competent independent appraisers who are working for you, not the seller. Buy from trustworthy sellers.
 
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La2020

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Are lab diamonds used as melee diamonds? Is so, do they come with inscription? How does consumer tell the mined ones and the lab ones apart when they are used as melee diamonds?
 

DejaWiz

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Are lab diamonds used as melee diamonds? Is so, do they come with inscription? How does consumer tell the mined ones and the lab ones apart when they are used as melee diamonds?

Some LGDs are used for melee, but almost all are not inscribed if the carat weight is below a certain threshold (much like natural diamonds).
If I'm not mistaken, the typical threshold is 0.2 carat.
 

denverappraiser

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The threshold where people want lab inspections and inscriptions is closer to 1.00 than .20. The problem is the price. It’s about $50 plus shipping to have this done and then there’s additional handling to keep the papers undamaged and organized. For a stone that only costs $200 in the first place, it’s easy to skip this step. For consumers the answer is to carefully choose your vendors. It’s the same way you know your chicken is organic and your coffee is fair trade.
 

DejaWiz

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Here's my wife's LGD throwing off some fire this morning, posted in a thread with mostly mined diamonds:


On a side note...the white steams shooting out from the sides: is that normal?
 

DejaWiz

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Here's my wife's LGD throwing off some fire this morning, posted in a thread with mostly mined diamonds:


On a side note...the white steams shooting out from the sides: is that normal?


Is anyone willing to provide any insight of this?

This is our first "big" diamond, and we're going to have our final check-in with the retailer on Monday as we near the end of the return period.

We never saw light emanating from the sides like this before since our other diamonds were in more bezel-like settings, so we do not know if it's normal or indicative of a light leakage problem (or something else).
 
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