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The most common question with regard to cultured diamonds is, “Are they real diamonds?”  And the very simple answer is, “Yes.” Just as with cultured pearls, cultured diamonds have their formation instigated by man and then continue to grow the same way as they would in nature - only above ground in a high pressure chamber rather than 100 miles beneath the surface.

To understand this concept, one must first understand how a diamond crystal forms. Diamond consists solely of the element carbon, one of the most commonly occurring elements on this planet.  Carbon can take shape in several forms (or crystal structures) - either as the soft substance known as graphite or as the hardest natural substance on earth known as diamond. What determines whether carbon becomes either graphite or diamond is under what conditions within the earth (or in a pressure chamber), its atoms come together to form a crystal structure.

Under low pressure and temperature, it forms graphite. Under the high pressure and temperature which is present 100 miles beneath the earth’s surface, it becomes diamond. Very simply put, the main difference between graphite and diamond deals with density, which is determined by where, and under what conditions, a crystal is formed.

Early diamond culturing processes tried either heating carbon or pressurizing it, but it was determined after much trial and error, that both processes must occur and in a very particular sequence. When carbon, in the form of graphite, is heated to a temperature of about 1000 - 2000 degrees Celsius, its atomic bonds are released, allowing the atoms the freedom to re-align in a new arrangement - much the same way as when water, in the form of ice, is heated causing it to change from a solid to a liquid and eventually to steam, as long as the temperature continues to rise. We call this change in a substance’s form a ’phase transition.’

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