MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Consumers can now save thousands of dollars on diamonds, with a technological breakthrough that allows them to be created in a lab.
As CBS4's Brian Andrews reported, instead of spending millions of years under ground, the lab-created diamonds are developed in a matter of weeks in pressurized containers.
"It's a new technology for gem-quality diamonds," said Lisa Bissell, chief executive officer of Pure Grown Diamonds.
They are created in a Singapore laboratory.
"It's a small piece of carbon that's placed in low-pressure microwave chamber. Hydrogen and methane gases are added to the chamber, and then the miracle begins," said Bissell.
The ultimate result is a high-grade gem with the same properties as a natural diamond. But it costs about 30 percent less.
"They have all the optical, chemical and physical properties of mined diamonds, and they're 100 percent carbon because they're genuine diamonds," said Bissell.
Robert Mooreman, the co-owner of Carroll's Jewelers on Las Olas, started selling the new lab grown diamonds this month.
"The lab grown diamonds actually have more sparkle," he said. "Whenever a woman gets a diamond on her finger, and her girlfriends tell her it's beautiful, that's the rate of return on the purchase. She just made her girlfriends jealous," Mooreman said with a smile.
John King of the Gemological Institute said lab-grown diamonds are essentially the same as natural ones, and it's just a matter of educating consumers.
"I believe there's a place in the market for all these different items, and it's really through an awareness that people can choose best," he said. "When you can buy a spectacular diamond, at a third of the price, that makes a huge difference, especially to the person who is buying the stone."
Lab-created diamonds do come with certification with regard to color and clarity. To keep up with the new technology, there is also equipment to test stones and see if they are natural or manmade.
Diana Jackson of Hobe Sound visited Carroll's Jewelers to see the new stones. She couldn't tell the difference when the lab stone and mined stone were placed side by side.
"I would be happy with this," she said. "Nobody knows the difference and I'm not telling."
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