Lab grown diamonds are often touted as a way to help the environment. But what does that really mean? Are lab grown diamonds better for the environment? How are they created? Are they cheaper, too? You’ll find the answer to all of these questions and more right here, so keep on reading!
From leaving a smaller carbon footprint to using less of the earth's natural resources, there are many reasons why lab grown diamonds are beneficial. They are an environmentally responsible stone choice with no sacrifice in beauty, brilliance or fire.
From the beginning of time, diamonds have been one of the strongest and most beautiful materials on Earth. While the gems diamond producers craft are beautiful and powerful, what's even more captivating is the process those stones take to become a part of jewellery. Diamonds are a valued product but it takes a lot of resources to produce them.
Are lab grown diamonds better for the environment? Jump to a section below or read on to find out all you need to know about the environmental impact of lab grown diamonds.
- Are Lab Grown Diamonds Better for the Environment?
- The Environmental Impact of Diamonds
- Sustainable Diamonds vs. Natural Diamonds
Are Lab Grown Diamonds Better For The Environment?
Lab grown diamonds are an attractive alternative to natural diamonds. Impressively, lab-grown diamonds use 95% less carbon in their creation than mined diamonds do. Natural diamond mining can be an environmentally devastating process, which is why the impact of mined diamonds is a hot topic nowadays.
The environmental impact of natural diamonds begins as soon as a diamond is taken from the ground. Diamond mining uses explosives, heavy equipment and lots of manpower to dig up the earth, using toxic chemicals and huge amounts of water in the process. Even once a diamond is found, miners must extract it using large machinery that can damage or destroy the surrounding ecosystem.
Once extracted, diamonds must be cleaned using chemicals and energy-intensive processes like high-pressure hot-air blasting and acid baths. According to scientists, the roots of diamond over-extraction can be traced back to the Great Depression.
Lab-grown diamonds are not mined at all, rather they are created using a high-tech process that expands a single microscopic diamond crystal. There are, however, no chemical differences between mined diamonds and lab-grown diamonds.
Lab grown diamonds are 100% real diamonds in every way. They have the same chemical, physical and optical properties as natural diamonds. In addition to an incredible hardness of 10.5 on the MOHS scale, they have a uniquely brilliant fire and scintillation (sparkle).
The Environmental Impact of Diamonds
Of all the gemstones, diamonds are the most special. Whether you plan on giving or receiving a diamond engagement ring, you might want to consider if the diamond has an environmental cost. Diamond mining is a sensitive subject these days and many consumers are becoming more aware of its impact on the world around them.
Diamonds are a girl's best friend, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are a friend to the environment. Mining diamonds can be a large-scale operation that takes a lot of coal and oil to keep the massive diamond mining industry running. It has many detrimental impacts on the environment including soil erosion, deforestation, and ecosystem destruction.
The mining of diamonds has always been a controversial topic. Africa has long suffered from the consequences of diamond mining. Residents living near diamond fields have suffered horrific consequences like child labour and other conflicts.
In just the past two decades, seven African countries have endured brutal civil conflicts fueled by diamonds. These diamonds have become commonly known as ‘conflict’ or ‘blood’ diamonds. Despite most of these conflicts ending, human rights issues still remain. Millions of people are still dealing with the consequences of past wars.
Few people are aware of this cost, but once informed, support for sustainable diamonds increases significantly. Lab grown diamonds support environmental and socially responsible purchasing decisions by offering an ethical alternative to mined diamonds. Why? Because they are created in a controlled environment, with no additional impact on the earth.
Lab grown diamonds are made in a lab, they can be controlled to attain high quality and optimal clarity. If you want to get the same kind of look as a mined diamond, but want to help the environment, then lab grown diamonds are the best option.
Sustainable Diamonds vs. Natural Diamonds
A sustainable diamond is:
- a diamond that has been ethically sourced,
- a lab-grown diamond made using environmentally-sound practices, or
- a recycled diamond that has been reused, reset, or resized.
Sustainable diamonds are created without damaging the environment with pollutants such as burning coal. These factors make them more environmentally friendly and sustainable than mining natural diamonds, which are derived from either volcanic eruptions or metamorphic rocks under extreme pressure.
Laboratory-grown diamonds grow from carbon seed which is placed into special furnaces called arc chambers. The furnaces are heated to about two thousand degrees for about two weeks to grow the carbon into tiny diamonds. The stones are then taken out of the furnace and polished for colour and clarity.
A natural diamond is a product of mother nature and is stunning in its clarity, brilliance and beauty. It forms deep under the earth, under pressure and at temperatures exceeding 1,000 degrees. The unique crystalline structure of these diamonds makes them withstand extreme environments and the tests of time.
By using jewellery made from diamonds that were ethically sourced, you can support more sustainable diamond production and enjoy the same beauty and brilliance of a mined stone for many years to come.
Types Of Sustainable Diamonds
So you have decided to buy a diamond. Perhaps it's for an engagement ring, or maybe you just love diamonds and see them as investment pieces. Either way, choosing a diamond requires careful consideration. Diamonds often represent one of the biggest purchases someone may make in their lifetime, so it's crucial to shop with a retailer that offers high-quality stones at prices that are fair, reasonable and affordable.
The three main types of sustainable diamonds are lab grown, recycled and carbon-negative diamonds. Recycled diamonds are diamonds that have been recycled. They are basically, mined diamonds that can no longer be used in jewellery (either because they're old or flawed) are sent to be recycled into "new" stones. Because these diamonds are produced in a controlled environment and meet all the same standards as non-recycled diamonds, they look just like their non-recycled counterparts.
Carbon negative diamonds are a more recent development that are grown with less carbon than normal diamonds, making them an eco-friendly option for those who love the sparkle of diamonds but wish also to do their part to help fight global warming.
The term "socially conscious diamond" is an easy way to describe diamonds grown by and manufactured using environmentally sustainable practices. There are always exceptions, of course, so always research your vendor and their diamonds before you buy.