Did you know they can grow diamonds? That was news to me. I read about it on brilliantearth.com. If you've heard about the atrocities associated with diamond mining, that's really good news. And they're less expensive. They're not the same as cubic zirconia, which are diamond simulants and can be distinguished from real diamonds with the naked eye. Apparently, the lab created diamonds have the same properties as real diamonds to the point that they can only be distinguished with specialized equipment.
So how do they do it? They start with a tiny carbon seed of a pre-existing diamond, and with highly technological processes, they apply extreme pressure and heat that mimics the natural way that diamonds are formed. If you're as old as me, you might remember the old Superman shows where he'd take a lump of coal and squeeze it until he had a diamond. Technology has reached Superman proportions!
Why choose a man-made diamond over a real one? As I mentioned before, they're less expensive, although not as cheap as cubic zirconia, but a lot less distinguishable from real ones. They can also do different colors, which are extremely rare in nature. Fancy colored ones are formed when small amounts of special trace elements are present during the growth phase.
My husband swore off real diamonds when he watched the movie "Blood Diamond" so if your guy is anything like that, and you have your heart set on a diamond engagement ring, man-made, also known as engineered or cultured diamonds, might be the way to go.