The big question everyone is asking, are Synthetic Diamonds more sustainable than Natural Diamonds? They’re certainly being branded that way, but we all know too well that some companies and organisations are not afraid of "green-washing" consumers to sell their latest and greatest commodity.
Charlie, our resident Gemologist, is currently studying for her DGA (Diamond Member of the Gemological Association). She has been researching this very question. In today’s day and age when the planet is almost at a point of no return, shouldn’t we all be doing our best to be more sustainable in our everyday life? Unfortunately, some companies are abusing this mindset and using it as a sales tactic to deceive consumers into thinking they are making a sustainable choice.
Read below the reasons why we won't be stocking Synthetic Diamonds here at Woods Jewellers, and why we think Natural Diamonds are the far superior option all round. Of course sustainability is a huge factor when weighing up the pros and cons of this debate, however there are other factors that we will discuss too.
What makes Natural Diamonds so exquisite?
Firstly, their story;
They have a fascinating history, formed millions of years ago, under just the right conditions. Some of the Kimberlite (host rock in which a Diamond is found) is estimated to be 0.9 - 3.9 billion years old.
Natural Diamonds undergo extraordinary environmental circumstances, bursting towards the earth’s surface through volcanic eruptions. They are miracles of nature. They have to be pushed from the earths mantle extremely quickly, too slowly and they would be Graphite not Diamond! What a difference that would make, as Graphite's attributes are opposite to that of a Diamond in almost every way. Graphite is soft, dark in colour, undesirable and abundant. The magnitude of the eruption needed to expel more Diamonds (more than those that already exist within pipes and alluvial deposits) would have to be of cataclysmic scale - and most likely (hopefully!) not within the time of human life on earth.
This means that the Diamonds that already exist, whether they are already mounted within beautiful rings and necklaces, or lying within pipes waiting to be found - are extremely likely to be the only Diamonds that ever exist on this earth while humans walk upon it - they are a very scarce commodity. This is one of the many things that makes them so unique, valuable and precious.
From a sustainability viewpoint, isn't natural always better than man made? Diamonds were already formed in the upper mantle of the earths core millions of years ago. Already made by our wonderful earth, they are just waiting to be found! Why would we run generators consuming large amounts of electricity, operating labs that funnel fossil fuels into our already polluted air, and use chemicals to make a copy of something, whose very history is one of the reasons it is so beautiful?
Mining is one of the largest factors when considering the sustainability of Natural Diamonds, and it is often why they are shone in a bad light. Mining any natural material can have a negative impact on its surrounding environment, however Diamond companies such as De Beers have begun to take the reigns in turning this around. De Beers have a “Rewilding” program that re-homes animals who have been affected by the impact of mining. To read more about this, click here.
Buying Natural diamonds also helps to protect the livelihoods and well-being of mining communities by supplying jobs, education, a stronger economy and a better future.
Synthetic LGD (Lab Grown Diamonds)
As Synthetic Diamonds are artificially mass-produced there is no story to tell as there was with Natural Diamonds, and so we'll jump straight in with the sustainability.
Synthetic Diamonds are lab created to mimic Natural Diamonds. The Greenhouse gas emissions alone are three times greater for lab-grown diamonds than their mined counterparts. Fossil fuels are used to power machinery that mimics the natural temperature and pressure that is needed for diamond formation - it takes an incredible amount of electricity to do this, and they need large amount of water to cool the reactors down. Most are also made in China and India, and rely heavily on coal.
There is no consistency in the price, there are also no regulations put in place for fair trading. The wealth gained from lab grown diamonds only benefit the people who own the companies, unlike Natural Diamond mining whose profit benefits the local people.
The majority of claims that lab grown diamonds are more ethical or environmentally friendly do not appear to be based on any discernible, ethical or environmental benefit; they simply rely on using outdated or inaccurate perceptions of the Natural Diamond sector as a point of comparison.
All information correct at the time of writing 11/08/2022
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