Mined vs man-made diamonds; can you tell the difference?

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Mined vs man-made diamonds; can you tell the difference? Nydia Han reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on May 13, 2017. (WPVI)

Jewelry is a popular gift for Mother's Day, and many consider diamonds to be the ultimate gemstone. And now, the hardest substance in the world can be created in a lab.

It's taken 70 years to get a gem quality diamond that's man-made.

Unlike cubic zirconia, which is pretty much a faceted piece of plastic, lab-grown diamonds are real - identical to those that are mined from the earth.

"It's got the same physical, chemical and optical properties. The only difference is its place of origin," said Dareen Brusilovsky of Marks Jewelers.

And people we talked to say the result is stunning.

"There is a carbon seed that they begin with. Then like I said, Mother Nature takes over. They take the same exact conditions as you would have in the earth in the laboratory, and within six to eight weeks you have your diamond," said Brusilovsky.

Lab-grown diamonds are ecofriendly and a lot less expensive.

"A laboratory diamond is going to be anywhere from 35 to 40 percent less than an earth mined diamond," said Brusilovsky.

Lab diamonds are just as versatile as their earthen counterparts and can be made into any piece of jewelry. Plus, advocates say they're socially responsible.

The only limitation right now is size.

"Right now the largest laboratory-grown diamonds with the type that we're working with is a little over three carats. So, we are a little constrained with size right now, but again the technology is changing so rapidly I'm waiting for that to change so the diamonds will get larger," said Brusilovsky.

And even the experts can't distinguish man-made from mined.

"It's identical. You can't tell the difference. As a gemologist I can't tell the difference," said Brusilovsky.

The only difference, even under a microscope, is laboratory diamonds have their certificate number inscribed on the side.

The lab diamonds that Marks Jewelers in Montgomeryville sells are made in Singapore. The jeweler originally brought them in to appeal to millennials. But it appears people of all ages like them.

But we know not everyone feels that way. I hope you'll weigh in on whether you'd buy a lab-grown diamond or how you'd feel if you received a lab grown diamond on my Facebook page.
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