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 “lab-created” 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