Can you buy diamond too?
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Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but what is it about this gem that makes it so covetable? Is it because of its hardness? Its rarity? Or its price? Well, imagine a world where you can buy diamond for half of the price – will you still want it to be your best friend?
This is what scientists call synthetic diamonds. Also called cultured diamond, the gemstone’s creation takes place inside high-pressure, high-temperature chambers and through a process called chemical vapor deposition. Filled with a carbon-containing gas such as methane, the particles are energized by microwaves, which causes it to breaking the molecules into individual atoms. The carbons in the gas then attaches to a seed crystal of a pre-existing diamond that is placed at the bottom of the chamber. This allows diamond to synthetically “grow”, much like its natural counterpart. By using a precise temperature, pressure, and a variety of selections of gases, lab-grown diamonds come in multiple colors, including: vivid red, canary yellow, etc.
So is it as good as natural diamond? Well, yes and no.
On one hand, synthetic diamond cannot be distinguished optically, chemically, nor physically from the natural ones. Plus, it is also requires less natural diamond to be created from and can be produced in the matter of days, rather than centuries as it would be for real diamonds. This convenience also lends itself to protect the environment as less mining of natural resources will be needed to produce the exact same amount of diamond.
However, all is not so great considering the social aspect of artificially synthesizing diamond. Since synthetic diamond requires less mining of resources and takes less time and money to produce, diamond would lose its rarity and romantic values. In fact, while 1.00 carat of natural diamond costs about $2,000 to $8,000, the same diamond but synthetically produced costs only from $1,000 to $2,000. Plus, the current technology limits the size of synthetic diamond to range from 0.50 to 1.50 carats, which would mean that more diamonds of smaller sizes are produced in abundance. Basically cheaper goods but of smaller sizes but more quantity.
But while there are certainly plenty of good things about synthetic diamond, it’s still the rarity and luxury of diamonds that people buy for. So is it good to recreate diamonds artificially and lower its social value? Is it a development or a beginning of diamond downfall?