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3 On Your Side: Lab-Created Diamonds

By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- It often been said that a diamond is a girl's best friend.  But the price of a diamond, well that can stop many people in their tracks.  3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan tells us you may be able to save up to a third on the cost of a diamond because of a technological breakthrough.

It's hard to deny the brilliance and beauty of  diamonds.  But some stunning gems cost far less than you would expect, because they were actually created in a Singapore laboratory.  Instead of spending millions of years in the earth, some diamonds are formed in a matter of weeks in pressurized containers.

Lisa Bissell is the CEO of Pure Grown Diamonds.  She says, "They have all the optical physical chemical properties of mined diamonds and they're 100 percent carbon because they're genuine diamonds."

According to Bissell, "A small piece of carbon which is placed in low pressure microwave chamber, hydrogen and methane gasses are added to the chamber and then the miracle begins."   The ultimate result is a high grade gem, with the same properties as a natural diamond, but costs about 30 percent less.

Even with significant consumer savings, diamond dealer Reuven Kaufman insists nothing can replace the real thing.  He says, "You can't afford it?  Buy a smaller real diamond, buy a more imperfect diamond, use a layaway plan."

John King of the Gemological Institute of America says that lab grown diamonds are essentially the same as natural ones, it's a matter of educating consumers.  King says, "There's a place in the market for all these different items and it's really through an awareness that people can choose best."  Bissell adding, "The difference is in price the difference is in point of origin it's just a sustainable wonderful alternative."

Lab-created diamonds do come with certification in regard to color and clarity and to keep up with the new technology, there is equipment to test stones to see whether they are natural or man-made.

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