Creating Man-Made Diamonds
AOTC diamonds are created in technologically advanced facilities using a high pressure, high temperature (HPHT) method to replicate geological conditions in which diamonds naturally crystallize deep below the Earth's surface.
At the core of the HPHT process is a growth cell which contains all the elements necessary to grow a diamond. These include a tiny diamond seed, highly refined and purified graphite (a source of carbon) and a metal-based catalyst that facilitates the diamond growth. The growth cell is placed between the anvils of a powerful hydraulic press then is heated to over 1,300 degrees Celsius and over 50,000 atmospheres of pressure is applied. As the temperature and pressure increase, the catalyst turns into a molten metal solution. Once the required conditions are reached, the graphite dissolves into this solution. Through a controlled cooling process over the course of several days, the carbon atoms slowly build upon the crystal structure of the diamond seed. The diamond normally grows as a truncated octahedron or a hexa-cubic shape, depending on parameters of the growth process. Once the press runs its full cycle, the growth cell is removed. The new diamond is cleaned and ready to be cut and polished, just like any mined diamond.
Diamonds of different colors grow at different rates and with different success ratios, which is why the size availability and cost varies with color. It is exponentially more difficult to grow larger sizes, as the longer the cycle runs, the more it is prone to failure.