Synthetic White Diamonds

Button to see available white diamonds
AOTC offers white diamonds primarily in colorless and near colorless in sizes up to one carat, though availability is limited.

Making them Colorless

Being one of the forms of carbon, diamonds are made of carbon atoms. If a diamond would contain no impurities or irregularities, it would be absolutely colorless. Nearly all diamonds – mined and lab-grown alike – have some impurities which add color to the diamond, with nitrogen being the most common. During growth, these impurities become part of the diamond lattice and create a single-atom 'color center' based on the specific element. This color center absorbs all visible light, except one color which is reflected back, giving the diamond its color. Nitrogen creates a yellow color while boron creates a blue color.

Nearly all mined diamonds were originally yellow and contain more nitrogen than most lab-grown diamonds. Deep inside the Earth over millions of years, heat and pressure caused the single nitrogen atoms to aggregate into two-, four- or multiple-atom clusters. These aggregated nitrogen clusters do not absorb light, allowing a diamond to keep its white appearance, to a certain extent.

When growing diamonds, we do not have the luxury of millions of years to color treat our yellow nitrogen-rich diamonds to turn them white. Instead, we have to prevent nitrogen from entering the diamond lattice as much as possible. While we mainly produce colorless and near colorless diamonds, they certainly come out in all colors – from D to Z, graded using the same scale as mined white diamonds:

White diamond color scale from D to Z

Growth Duration

Since the absence of nitrogen significantly inhibits diamond synthesis, the diamond crystal grows very slowly. Usually, it takes about two weeks to grow a rough that could be polished into a one carat diamond, compared to 5-6 days for a yellow diamond.

Five white diamonds
It is necessary to maintain a very exact set of constraints for the heat and pressure during the entire growth cycle. If there is any fluctuation in either heat or pressure, the diamond will either stop growing, or become so heavily included that any further growth is unusable.

Being able to control the necessary growth conditions for the length of time it takes to grow a white is what makes them the most difficult and least available color.

Shape

AOTC offers most popular shapes, with the majority being round brilliants due to overall demand and yield. Other shapes such as princess, radiant, cushion, asscher and emerald are also being offered, based on production capacities. Elongated shapes such as marquise and pear typically have low yields since the size is determined by the longest dimension of our squarish shaped rough. For this reason, elongated shapes are not normally produced.

Photo of a loose white diamond

Cut

There are many different parameters that determine the overall cut and beauty of a diamond. All AOTC-created diamonds above 0.30ct. are polished in Antwerp to the highest standards. Each diamond is individually analyzed and cut to maximize beauty and value.

Size

The largest colorless diamond we have grown was polished into a round brilliant weighting just shy of one carat. This is the upper limit for the time being, since our whites are still experimental. The average weight is closer to 1/2 carat for a polished diamond. It will take months if not years to refine the technology to consistently produce larger sizes.

Availability

Being the most difficult to grow, very few whites are currently available. Only a couple new colorless diamonds are available each month, with each batch still varying greatly on the quality and sizes.

Many people are interested in whites because they have traditionally been used in engagement rings and jewelry. We encourage you to take a look at fancy yellow and brilliant blue diamonds to see if they pique your interest. A blue or yellow diamond is in many ways much more rare and unique than a white diamond.

Misconceptions

Back in 2003, an article in the Wired magazine created a myth that colorless diamonds would be available by the truckload for just a few dollars per carat. This, however, is far from the truth. The synthetic diamond industry is over fifty years old, and just recently has achieved significant progress in the production of gem-quality colored diamonds. The industry has a long way to go until white diamonds will be readily available in a wide variety of sizes and in decent quantities.

Caution Icon

A word of caution: Very few white lab grown diamonds are available on the market and in nearly all cases they weigh less than one carat. These colorless diamonds are very difficult to grow, with limited availability, from any producer. Their prices are often similar to those of a comparable mined diamond. If you see a product claiming it is a white lab-grown, or synthetic, diamond for significantly lower price than a similar mined diamond would cost, caveat emptor; there is a strong possibility that it may be a simulant. In fact, it can cost hundreds of dollars just to have one diamond cut, much more than most simulants cost at retail.

Type

All synthetic white diamonds are type IIa.