The Environmental Impact of Lab-Grown Diamonds

The Environmental Impact of Lab-Grown Diamonds

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Diamonds are diamonds wherever they arrive from, proper? Depends on whether or not you’re asking a jeweler, a bride-to-be, or somebody involved with the sustainability practices of mining and manufacturing. While it might be troublesome to inform a lab-grown diamond other than a pure diamond, there are some main variations of their origins that may affect the acquisition you select to make, and from whom you select to buy it.

This article is sponsored by Clean Origin.

How Are Lab-Grown Diamonds Made?

Sustainable diamonds. That time period has a pleasant ring to it. In basic, lab-manufactured diamonds examine favorably to the strategies used to mine pure diamonds. They don’t trigger the identical degree of environmental harm as mining, which requires the removing of earth and consumes freshwater and fossil fuels. Air air pollution and acid mine drainage from mining can contaminate water sources, and unethical diamond mining practices may end up in human rights abuses and destroy ecosystems. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that for every diamond recovered by mining, 200- to 400-million occasions as a lot rock should be extracted.

However, when checked out as a standalone business, the strategies utilized in a diamond manufacturing lab additionally elevate issues.

Manufacturers market their lab-grown diamonds as sustainable, suggesting they’re a extra accountable possibility for some shoppers. But how correct are these designations? Greenwashing can occur in any business, even diamonds, and when an organization makes use of the time period “environmentally pleasant,” the definition might be obscure. You wish to be certain that the corporate you’re shopping for from can legitimately stand behind its sustainability claims.

Here is what’s occurring within the managed setting of a diamond lab:

  • The course of that takes hundreds of thousands of years underground and makes use of the pure warmth and strain of the setting to create a pure diamond is mimicked in a lab in mere weeks.
  • While the factories don’t often have meeting traces, the equipment requires constant energy, 24 hours a day, seven days per week, to supply the gems. The supply of this vitality is necessary to the final word sustainability of the gem.
  • Labs use monumental microwave-heat turbines to duplicate the earth’s course of by excessive strain, excessive temperature (HPHT) manufacturing that requires sustaining a temperature above 300°F or chemical vapor deposition (CVD) that depends on temperatures as excessive as 1500°F.

The course of is comparatively simple – and so is the influence on the setting. If the diamond maker makes use of renewable vitality, the method is extra sustainable than diamonds made utilizing fossil gasoline vitality.

diamond ring
Photo: Adobe Stock

Pros and Cons of Lab-Produced Diamonds

If you might be contemplating the acquisition of a sustainable diamond, we applaud your acutely aware determination to reduce your footprint. After all, once you’re giving somebody a bit of bijou you hope they’ll be sporting for many years to come back, you need to be ok with seeing them put on it. It helps if you recognize that you simply made an knowledgeable determination about the place to buy it.

How a lab-produced diamond is created issues, as a result of some lab practices will not be any higher than conventional diamond mining unwanted side effects, as terrible as they are often. Here are the gadgets that many shoppers take into account of their search:

  • Pro: They value much less. Lab-grown diamonds value 10% to 30% less than what Mother Earth creates, so you will get an even bigger stone if that’s what you’re on the lookout for, improve readability and colour to have a really distinctive stone, and revel in fewer impurities.
  • Pro: They are actual diamonds. Lab diamonds are almost similar to the bodily, chemical, and beauty traits of mined diamonds. They could even have higher readability, which makes them brighter. They are usually not faux.
  • Con: They’re not as invaluable. Manufactured diamonds may look fairly, however they aren’t going to get you a lot in resale worth. Many individuals don’t consider lab-grown diamonds are actual diamonds as a result of they don’t come from the earth, however producers promise they’re visually and chemically similar.
  • Con: Their carbon footprint isn’t nice. If the manufacturing course of for lab-grown diamonds makes use of vitality generated from fossil fuels, it might even create extra carbon dioxide emissions than pure diamond mining; most factories nonetheless depend on fossil fuels to energy the reactors.

A study comparing lab-grown and mined diamonds by consultancy Frost & Sullivan discovered that mining diamonds produces 4,383 occasions extra waste than manufactured gems, makes use of 6.8 occasions as a lot water, and consumes 2.14 occasions the vitality per carat produced. Lab-brown diamonds additionally keep away from all of the sulfur oxide and greater than half the nitrous oxide emissions related to mined diamonds.

The Clean Origin Waverly Bridal Set
The Clean Origin Waverly Bridal Set includes a half-carat of lab-grown gems.

Are You Actually Buying a Sustainable Diamond?

Just as a result of a diamond is grown in a lab doesn’t robotically imply it’s sustainable. Don’t hesitate to ask questions of a jeweler, gemologist, or producer about their manufacturing course of or the place they supply their carbon. Companies that concentrate on environmental accountability may have these solutions available as a result of they work to enhance their manufacturing practices each day.

If lab-grown is your selection of gem, maintain the next in thoughts:

  • Look for a jeweler who’s comfortable to doc the sources of their stones.
  • Find out if the diamond supply is making efforts to cut back its carbon footprint.
  • Learn concerning the manufacturing course of on your diamond and whether or not it’s as energy-efficient as doable.
  • Remember {that a} recycled diamond could not have been sustainably or ethically sourced within the first place; the truth is, its supply could also be unknown.

Do your analysis and solely work with a jeweler you belief. Diamonds are a big, necessary buy, and although it’s your decision essentially the most sustainable gem, its origins will not be as simple or as environmentally accountable as they’re portrayed. There is all the time an argument to be made that lab-grown diamonds are extra sustainable than historically mined diamonds. But who you purchase the diamond from and the distinctive practices they use to trace the origin of their gems will let you know the true story of the diamond’s manufacturing.

The Environmental Impact of Diamonds

The quantity of vitality required to create lab-grown diamonds is immense, albeit persistently discovered to be half that of mined diamonds. Some corporations are working to make use of renewable energy and seize CO2 from the ambiance to make their gems, however extra must make this transition to cut back their local weather influence.

Similarly, amongst conventional diamond mining corporations, some have made efforts to offset the business’s social impacts. These embrace constructing schools and medical facilities and remediating environmental impacts in areas the place diamonds are mined. Given the lengthy historical past of the diamond business’s indifference to human impacts, it’s higher to take the mine out of the method.

There is one thing to be mentioned concerning the one-of-a-kind stone cast from the earth – that’s what makes them so uncommon, invaluable, and costly. For people who find themselves dedicated to sustainability in all facets of their life, they might discover themselves deciding not solely between pure diamonds and lab-grown diamonds — however whether or not they’re keen to buy any type of stone in any respect. If you do go for a diamond, select lab-grown stones made utilizing 100% renewable vitality to decrease your jewellery’s environmental influence.

This article is sponsored by Clean Origin, which is revolutionizing the diamond business with environmentally friendlier lab-grown diamonds and engagement rings. By eradicating the environmental harm created by mining, Clean Origin provides you extra sustainable choices for expressing your love and dedication.