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Checking for Undisclosed Lab-Grown Diamonds in Metro Manila Society


Whether you're for or against the recent hype on lab-grown diamonds, the product's presence is undoubtedly increasing in many parts of the world. From our own experience, 2017's roster of visitors to the laboratory consisted mostly of people needing to separate moissanite from diamond. A handful of HPHT and some CVD grown diamonds were also seen, but most of the year's requests centered on differentiating diamonds from their imitations.



From 2018 to 2019, more local and foreign visitors to our laboratory seem to be worried about the rising number of undisclosed lab-grown diamonds in the country. The number of HPHT and CVD lab grown diamonds we've seen here at the laboratory (brought for checking by third-parties) has risen quite a lot during the past two years. Photoluminescence analysis and spectrometry-based testing instruments help our gemologists detect and separate naturals from man-made counterparts, however not everyone is properly informed on what lab-grown diamonds are, and the means needed to detect them.

Note that standard 'DIY' diamond or jewelry testers (those that are thermal and electric conductivity based) cannot separate lab-grown diamonds from natural ones. This is because lab-grown diamonds are made up essentially of carbon atoms crystallised in the isometric / cubic crystal system, just like natural diamonds. They are essentially also diamonds by chemistry, the only difference is their artificial origination due to the efforts of human beings.



Lab-grown diamonds do have substantial value, way above the current prices of imitations like cubic zirconia or moissanite, but their values are typically well below those of natural diamonds at the current time. This is just what we've observed ourselves during visits to international trade fairs, and constitute our opinion only on the matter. From what we've seen, wholesale cost rates of lab-grown (CVD, HPHT) diamonds are about 40% to 60% lower than equivalently graded natural counterparts. Lab-grown diamonds, despite their name, should also not be confused with gemological labs (which only hold the purpose of evaluating third-party gemstones).

Lab-grown diamonds are beautiful products in their own right, as long as they are sold ethically with proper disclosure. They should never be sold as 'natural diamonds', because buyers would most definitely feel deceived regarding their origin.

Take note that many sellers on the market use the term 'real' in their marketing pitch for these diamond products. Buyers must be careful with this descriptor as it might have subjective interpretations by different people. If someone defines a 'real' diamond as simply crystallised carbon (cubic) or basically by essential chemical standards, he might advertise lab-grown diamonds under that notion of understanding. On the other hand, if an opposing person defines a 'real' diamond as needing to have come from natural geological processes, then he may not agree that a lab-grown diamond be called 'real'. It's a tricky situation, since terminologies like this are not universally understood by people exactly in the same way.



We ourselves here at the laboratory try to refrain from ambiguity, and use the two descriptive terms "natural" and "lab-grown" instead (as much as possible) when referring to diamonds. These words are much more clearly defined, so that people do not get confused about the origins of their diamond.

If the term 'real' is used, a statement of accompaniment- such as 'real diamond by chemical definition, but created artificially by man', should at least be present for better ethical transparency.

If you are purchasing a diamond or diamond jewelry and the vendor describes them only with the words real or genuine, it's always still advisable to further ask them if the diamond(s) are natural or lab-grown. This should be done respectfully of course, just to be certain that all parties understand the product on equal definitions without subjective interpretations.

Gemcamp Laboratories does not create, produce, buy, or sell lab-grown diamonds or natural diamonds. We also do not recommend or discourage sale from any specific seller, vendor or business.
Gemologist.ph
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