Synthetic diamonds, also known as cultured or cultivated diamonds, are created in highly regulated laboratory environments employing advanced technological processes replicating the conditions under which diamonds develop naturally beneath the Earth’s crust. After they are grown, cut and polished, the appearance of these diamonds is identical to natural diamonds and they have the same chemical composition as diamonds obtained through mining.
It was discovered in the late 1700s that diamonds are an allotrope of carbon, but diamonds were only synthesized in a laboratory environment more than 150 years after this finding. Artificial creation of diamonds was pursued by many scientists, however, it was not understood until the 1950s, when diamonds were created almost at the same time by American and Swedish researchers. The process required pressures as high as 55,000 atm and temperatures of over 1400°C.
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Synthetic Diamonds to Find Newer Applications, says Gemological Institute of America
Over the last few decades, the soaring use of diamonds and advances in synthetic production has unleashed the floodgates for even newer applications of the commodity. A recent research publication by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has made projections for a substantially large number of high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) cultivated diamonds to be available in the market. These projections were based on a visit to a diamond factory in China.
Following the visit, researchers from the GIA obtained 50 crystals in the range of 0.5 carats to 1.2 carats. These crystals were examined employing the same instrumentation and procedures as those applied to natural diamonds submitted to the organization for grading. These crystals exhibited typical features of HPHT growth and were asserted as synthetic. On the basis of this, the GIA reiterated that the increasing production capacity of synthetic diamonds is expected to be crucial in the coming years.
Favorable Physical, Chemical Properties of Synthetic Diamonds Benefit Market
The synthetic diamond market will display a significant compounded annual growth rate, says a market study published by Transparency Market Research. It is projected that the revenue of the market will rise from US$15.7 bn in 2014 to US$28.8 bn by 2023. The ever-increasing demand for synthetic diamonds in several end-use industries such as jewelry, electronics, construction and mining, and healthcare holds promise for the synthetic diamond market. Synthetic diamonds exhibit characteristics similar to natural diamonds, but with a significant cost advantage over their natural counterparts.
Polished synthetic diamonds held the majority of the revenue of the synthetic diamond market in 2014. However, rough diamonds led the market in terms of volume in the same year due to their widespread industrial applications. This is expected to continue in the near future. Stones are the most used product type of synthetic diamonds owing to their varied applications in several end-use industries. Other product segments such as synthetic diamond powder and grit are utilized in machine tools such as saws, impregnated bits, and grinding wheels. Diamond bort is largely used for polishing and in drill bits.
In 2014, Asia Pacific stood as the largest market for synthetic diamonds, accounting for a share of more than 50% in the global market; the large number of end-use applications of synthetic diamonds in the region is the reason for this. The rapid upsurge in mining activities in India, China, and ASEAN countries is driving the global synthetic diamond market.
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