“Hope Diamond” Can Be Grown
Scientists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Carnegie Institute of Washington say they have a new method to grow synthetics that is faster, cheaper and can create better stones than other methods on the market.
The Diamond Registry talked to the scientist behind this invention, Yogesh Vohra PhD., a physics professor at the University. Vohra said his new method was far faster than either CVD (chemical vapor deposition) or the HPHT (high pressure high temperature) methods. A press release said it is “able to grow the diamond 100 to 200 times faster than conventional lab-grown methods.”
The new method uses a microwave plasma process, which can grow diamonds one-carat and larger in a manner of days, and allows for multiple crystals to be grown simultaneously.
The process uses nitrogen in the growth process to create a yellow diamond that is heated under a high pressure to produce a light yellow or nearly colorless crystal. Currently, Vohra is working to develop white diamonds at a high growth rate so that purification steps can be eliminated.
“With the addition of boron in the microwave plasma, a large blue diamond like the Hope Diamond could be grown in the laboratory,” he said.
Vohra said that he hasn’t submitted the stones to GIA to see if they can be identified, although so far all synthetics are identifiable.
Vohra told us that he has no plans to market the stones just yet, but there are people looking into it. We don’t doubt it. It looks like there may be more (and cheaper) synthetics coming onto the market than we ever dreamed. But is a “Hope Diamond” grown in Alabama really a Hope Diamond”?