I was having a discussion with my friend about the intrinsic worthlessness of diamonds (DeBeers and whatnot) and how synthetic diamonds haven't caught on, again because of the marketing/propoganda that natural diamonds are "better". My friend, partially to spite me because he doesn't like to lose an argument, claims that synthetic diamonds have only been produced with a hardness up to 9.8, and you can only get a hardness of 10 with a natural diamond.
I call BS on that. A little research indicates that while natural diamonds may slightly vary in hardness (the impurities which alter the color also modify its crystal properties), synthetic diamonds have a more consistent hardness which is otherwise identical to a naturally-occurring diamond with the same chemical properties. This appears to make sense.
Are chemically-identical synthetic and natural diamonds of equivalent hardness? Or is there a caveat to the synthetic diamond-making process that produces weaker diamonds?