Early attempts to make diamonds mimicked the conditions under which earth-mined diamonds are formed. Lab-grown diamonds have been made since the 1950’s by a High-Pressure High-Temperature (HPHT) process. Graphite is put into a huge hydraulic press with a metallic catalyst and heated to high temperatures, converting the graphite into diamond in a few hours.
First marketed by General Electric for industrial applications, the diamond crystals produced by this early HPHT method are typically small in size, and to date are too flawed for use in electronics or as gemstones. These HPHT diamonds are most useful as abrasives, or for hard-wearing edges on cutting tools and drill-bits.
Recent developments with the HPHT technology have yielded diamond gemstones. Scio Diamond’s only known direct commercial competition in manufactured diamonds is HPHT diamond. However, HPHT diamond has limitations and Scio Diamond does not believe it will ultimately be a substantial competitor. While certain innovations may improve the quality of the product, HPHT diamond is always readily detectable and typically results in a yellowish-orange gemstone. There are also numerous limitations intrinsic to the HPHT process itself that many believe simply cannot be overcome, including not only quality, but also cost and size of stone.