I was recently asked the question above. While I have never heard the term “handmade” diamonds, I am pretty sure the question is – “What are man-made and lab-created created diamonds.” The basic answer is that “man-made” diamonds are just that – made by man and created in a laboratory (lab-created).
However, for me the more accurate term is “synthetic” diamonds. Although marketers of “lab created” diamonds don’t really like the term”synthetic.” They think that for consumers the term “synthetic” sounds as if they are not real. So, they use terms like “man-made” and “lab-created” as they feel they are user friendly and easier to understand.
The bottom line is, for a a diamond or other gemstones to be considered a “synthetic” or “lab-created” gemstone they must have a natural (made by mother nature) counterpart. More specifically, the must have the same chemical, physical and optical properties as its natural counterpart.
Here is the tricky part. A “man-made” gemstone does not necessarily mean that it has a natural counterpart (made by mother nature). “Man-made” gemstones can be made of materials other than what a natural gemstone is composed of. Those materials may be things like glass, plastic or even assembled gemstones such as doublets or triplets. Remember, a “synthetic” gemstone must have the same “chemical, physical and optical properties as its counterpart. Which is also why the term “imitation gemstone” is also used for “man-made” gemstones. Confusing – isn’t it?
Joseph R. Villarreal, G.G. (G.I.A.)
, Austin, TX