Sustainable Diamonds: We Take a Look at Lab-Grown vs. Natural
As Marilyn Monroe famously said, ‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friend’. The sparkling stones have captivated humanity for centuries, symbolizing love, luxury, and eternal commitment. However, beneath the sparkling surface of these precious gems lies a dark underbelly of ethical and environmental concerns associated with traditional diamond mining. As consumers become more conscientious about their choices, lab-created diamonds are emerging as a compelling alternative, offering not only a more ethical option but also a significantly reduced environmental impact.
The problem with natural diamonds
One of the primary ethical concerns plaguing the diamond industry is the issue of conflict diamonds, also known as ‘blood diamonds’. These diamonds are sourced from regions where armed conflict and human rights abuses are commonplace. Proceeds from diamond mining in these areas often help to fund violence and oppression. Even with certifications being introduced to try to control the crime associated with diamond mining, conflict diamonds still manage to enter the market.
Beyond the issue of conflict diamonds, traditional mining practices have been linked to human rights violations, including unsafe working conditions, child labour, and displacement of indigenous communities. The lack of transparency in the diamond supply chain makes it challenging for consumers to ensure that their diamonds are ethically sourced.
Environmental impacts of traditional diamond mining
Besides human rights and impacts on communities, traditional diamond mining takes its toll on nature too. Open-pit mining, a common method used, leads to deforestation, habitat destruction, and soil erosion. Additionally, the energy-intensive process of extracting diamonds from deep within the earth contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Water pollution is also a significant problem, as mining operations can contaminate local water sources with harmful chemicals.
Lab-created diamonds offer an alternative solution
In recent years, advancements in technology have paved the way for the production of high-quality lab-created diamonds, presenting a more sustainable and ethical option for consumers.
Lab-grown diamonds, also known as synthetic or cultured diamonds, are created through advanced technological processes that mimic the natural conditions under which diamonds form deep within the earth. The primary method used involves replicating the high pressure and high temperatures that natural diamonds would have formed under millions of years ago. More recently, a second method using chemicals has also been developed and put to use. Either way, the processes result in diamonds with the same chemical and physical properties as natural diamonds, yet the controlled environment of the lab ensures a more ethical and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional diamond mining.
The affordable and responsible choice
Natural diamonds found in the ground often come with impurities, and that’s why prices for stones can range considerably based on the ‘4 Cs’: cut, clarity, colour and carat. When you purchase a lab-created diamond, it’s easier to find a stone meeting your exact preferences but also at a more affordable price. Overall, lab-created diamonds appear to be a no-brainer as an alternative to mine cut diamonds. As a responsible consumer, when you purchase these precious jewels, you can be sure that lab-created diamonds are:
- Guaranteed to be free from the taint of conflict, as they are produced in laboratories under strict ethical guidelines.
- More environmentally friendly thanks to reduced large-scale land disruption and less energy required during production..
- Readily available – diamonds can be found in an array of colours and sizes, but some are rarer than others and come with a hefty price tag. Lab-created diamonds are easily found in a range of options.
We think it’s wonderful to see the diamond industry undergoing a transformative shift towards sustainability and ethical practices. Lab-created diamonds represent a progressive step forward, offering a viable alternative to traditional diamonds that addresses both ethical and environmental concerns. Embracing these diamonds not only ensures a sparkling symbol of love but also contributes to a more ethical and sustainable future for the jewellery industry.
We’d love to know what you think about this month’s blog post. Do you own a lab-created diamond? Let us know your thoughts on how they stack up against natural stones. You can get in touch with us any time on social media or by email.