The History of CVD Diamonds
Do you know when the first commercially available Man-Made Diamond was produced? The first of the man-made Diamonds, also known as Synthetic Diamond or CVD Diamond, was made in 1956 by General Electric with the High Pressure, High Temperature (HPHT) process. The HPHT process growth imitates a Natural Diamond formation, but with carefully selected input materials to catalyze crystal growth. Today, there are billions of carats of Diamonds produced every year by the HPHT process, and mostly for industrial applications. This process of lab grown diamonds only took place in the 21st century and is really the next generation answer to diamonds, responsibly.
What Are CVD Diamonds?
A CVD or Chemical Vapor Deposition Diamond, also referred as a laboratory-created Diamond, is produced by means of a synthetic method, as compared to real or Natural Diamonds, which are generated by physical processes. In addition, CVD Diamonds started appearing in the gemstone Diamond market many years ago. This process involved bringing a gas like methane into a vacuum chamber and then activating and breaking down the molecules of the gas with microwaves, which causes the carbon atoms to accumulate on a substrate like the way snowflakes accumulate in a snowfall.
There are now mainly two methods of manufacturing CVD Diamonds, the first is the HPHT or High Pressure High Temperature process and the other is CVD or Chemical Vapor Deposition. The HPHT method was used to successfully grow Diamonds in 1956 by General Electric, and basically mimics the natural process. The HPHT process and the energy and equipment needed is costly and produces Diamonds with mostly brownish or yellowish colors. On the other hand, using the CVD process is inexpensive because it works at moderate temperatures with a low pressure that needs smaller and less costly tools. Colorless crystals can be grown as the vacuum chamber contains mainly carbon and some hydrogen. Yellow or Blue CVD Diamond crystals can be produced if boron or nitrogen is introduced into the chamber.
Why CVD Diamonds Are Inexpensive
Today, everyone is curious about why CVD Diamonds are very low in price. CVD Diamonds are about 30%-40% cheaper than normal Diamonds. However, a common question in the Diamond trade and among buyers is whether CVD Diamonds will sooner or later be manufactured so inexpensively that the value of Natural Diamonds is endangered, and the answer to that question is a big “NO”. The growth of CVD will become more efficient because of the scale and manufacturing experience, but many factors will only become more costly with inflation and time.