Man-made diamonds cut into the market this Valentine's Day

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- Valentine's Day always has people shopping for engagement rings and diamond jewelry. No question that it is expensive.

Now, there are man-made diamonds - not cubic zirconia, but diamonds grown in a lab that look just like the others at the jewelry store.
 
Marilyn Monroe sang about them. And most women still love them.
 
“I just got married,” said Kimberly Miller, showing off her ring.
 
“I'm a woman, and diamonds are my favorite stone,” said Mary Hausman.
 
“I actually love diamonds,” said Maria Galvez. “I think they are beautiful.”
 
Everyone knows diamonds are expensive. They traditionally come from mines which are controversial.

But companies like Pure Grown Diamonds are pushing into the market.
 
“The only difference is the point of origin,” said Pure Grown Diamonds CEO Lisa Bissell.
 
Bissell says even with a microscope, you cannot tell the difference between man-made diamonds and those from the ground. They have the same chemical composition.
 
For you guys looking for an engagement ring, the man-made stones run 20 to 40 percent less than mined diamonds.
 
“A carbon seed that's placed in a low-pressure microwave chamber,” Bissell explained how they are made. “Hydrogen and methane gases are added, the plasma ball ignites, carbon molecules rain down on the seed, crystallization begins, and six to 12 weeks later you have a diamond that's ready for cutting and polishing.”
 
A half-carat can sell for less than $1,000.
 
“Sparkly and everything else,” Jack said. “It takes a trained eye to tell the difference anyway.”
 
But Hausman isn’t convinced by cost savings, saying, “I guess I'm a traditionalist and I want to know it was mined in a safe place.”
 
For ladies, the siren song of diamonds isn't over. But now you can decide if you care where they come from.
 
“It is always a good present for a girl,” Miller said with a laugh.
 
Other than some sort of nostalgia for mined diamonds, there only seems to be one downside. That is size and color. Pure Grown has managed to make a three-carat diamond and they are getting better at colored gems.