By Michelle Graff
Antwerp, Belgium--Diamond growers continue to be able to increase the size of the stones they produce, as most recently was illustrated by a 3.09-carat diamond graded by HRD Antwerp.

The diamond was grown using the CVD, or chemical vapor deposition, process, meaning it was created in a specially developed growing chamber using a carbon-rich gas. CVD lab-grown diamond are created without the presence of nitrogen, therefore the resulting stone will always be a Type IIa or Type IIb diamond.

This particular 3.09-carat stone is a brilliant-cut diamond with a color grade of slightly tinted white (I) and a clarity of VS2, the lab said.

Previously, the largest lab-grown diamond reported was a nearly colorless 3.04-carat round diamond cultivated by Pure Grown Diamonds (formerly Gemesis) late last year. That diamond has a price tag of $23,012.

Lab-grown diamonds have become more and more topical in jewelry industry news in the past few years, as growers have improved their techniques, particularly as it pertains to white diamonds, and more mainstream chains have started selling them.

Just last month, the Gemological Institute of America announced it would be growing diamonds for research purposes in order to keep up with identification and treatment of the stones, which it said are becoming increasingly prevalent.

And over the summer, retailer Helzberg Diamonds became the latest in a string of chains testing the market for man-made diamonds, selling pink, yellow and white lab-grown stones in select stores across the country.

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