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Why Lab-Created Diamonds Are a More Sustainable Choice in 2024 (Guide)

Lab-created diamonds are a more recent and environmentally friendly substitute for mined diamonds because they consume less energy and water and emit fewer carbon emissions than traditional diamonds. 

Lots of jewelry companies are now using lab-grown diamonds instead of mined ones to tackle environmental issues.

Why Are Mined Diamonds a Problem?

For many years, there has been debate around the diamond mining industry. Most people are aware of “blood diamonds,” extracted in a conflict area and then used to fund ongoing atrocities and other forms of violence. 

Unfortunately, we still live in a world where this is the case. Although some countries have ratified the Kimberley Process, many have not, and it doesn’t look like blood diamonds will go away soon.

Although violence is the most well-known problem associated with diamond mining, it is not the only problem. The diamond mining business has significantly harmed the environment. 

Everywhere that diamonds are mined, the local population is forced to leave and relocate, which degrades the soil’s quality and causes deforestation and soil erosion if they do so in large numbers.

Lab-grown Diamonds - image of the stripped land around the Argyle Diamond Mine in Western Australia
Area around a diamond mine in Australia

Mined areas that have yet to be repaired are not only unsightly but the damage is sometimes overlooked. Although mining corporations are expected to restore mined regions to a condition comparable to or superior to the one before mining, this obligation is only sometimes upheld.

Laboratory-Created Diamonds are a Superior Option

People have an innate fascination for jewelry, and diamonds are the most widely available valuable stone. Diamonds are unsurpassed in beauty, which is one of the reasons they have evolved into the standard gem for most wedding rings.

But the attractiveness usually diminishes because diamond mining results in severe environmental damage until you consider lab-created diamonds.

If you’re considering popping the question for marriage and are looking at diamond rings, think about the origin of your diamonds before making a buying decision. You don’t have to purchase mined jewels to get fantastic wedding rings. 

Today, many stunning diamond rings are made with lab-created diamonds with exquisite settings and shapes. Some jewelry dealers allow you to make your own engagement ring using a lab-created Diamond.

Lab-grown Diamonds - stock image of a womans hand with a different diamond ring on each finger

Why are Lab-Grown Diamonds Preferable to Natural Ones?

Keeping the effects of diamond mining in mind, many entrepreneurs have developed ethical and sustainable companies. Lab-created diamonds require around 86 percent less water and 50 percent less energy and emit 95 percent fewer carbon emissions than their counterparts, making them a more eco-friendly option.

Lab-grown diamonds are produced under identical environmental circumstances to naturally occurring diamonds but in the lab. In other words, lab-created diamonds and natural diamonds are physically and chemically identical. Still, it has no adverse environmental effects because it doesn’t waste water or exploit any land.

Additionally, many lab-grown diamond businesses have developed their sustainability approach by utilizing recyclable or reusable packaging and shipping materials to minimize their carbon footprint.

Take a look at this video by DW Planet A:

How are Diamonds Created in a Lab?

The demand for lab-created diamonds has continuously increased over the years because of how they are produced.

Six steps are typically included in the diamond mining process: geological survey, uncut diamond mining, grading, cutting and furbishing, and retailing. Even with mining firms’ best efforts, there are still significant negative environmental repercussions associated with diamond mining, including the destruction of ecosystems, deforestation, and soil erosion.

Additionally, traditional mining harms society by forcing youngsters into labor and causing illnesses among workers due to their unhygienic living conditions. Moreover, the diamond industry occasionally leads to suffering and corruption. Blood Diamond, a Hollywood film, effectively captures the suffering created by diamond mining.

Lab-grown diamonds are a better option because they don’t require mining, making them more advantageous and environmentally benign. Instead, two laboratory techniques are used to make them:

1. Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD)

In this procedure, a tiny diamond seed is heated to about 800 degrees Celsius in a sealed chamber with carbon-rich gasses. Various gasses are injected into the chemical vapor deposition reactor at extremely low pressure. The interaction of microwaves and hot gasses creates plasma. When the temperature rises, the gas molecules separate, and carbon atoms connect to the seeds and grow with layers.

Lab diamonds created using the CVD technique are made purely of carbon and nitrogen-free, making them even more distinctive. The CVD production method is primarily used in India, the United States, Japan, and Singapore. Interestingly, while all CVD diamonds are 100% carbon, just 2 percent of the world’s natural diamonds are purely carbon-based. 

These diamonds are categorized as Type IIA by GIA, IGI, SGL, and other well-known laboratories for grading and certifying diamonds. Type IIA diamonds have the best shine, brightness, and luster of any diamond. Overall, the shine and luster of CVD diamonds are unrivaled and rare in mined diamonds.

2. High-Pressure High Temperature (HPHT)

This technique imitates how diamonds are naturally created deep within the earth. Diamond seeds are carefully selected, put into rough lab diamonds, and pushed through a sphere press. 

The seeds are subjected to extremely high pressures and temperatures to turn them into beautiful diamonds. Lab staff carefully watch the operation until it’s done. After cooling, the diamond seeds become the highest quality carbon diamonds.

Why is the Demand for Lab-Grown Diamonds Rising?

Today, lab-created diamonds are widely accessible and come in many options. They provide brightness and brilliance comparable to what their mined counterparts do. lab-Contrasting lab-created diamonds to natural diamonds goes beyond how they’re created.

The strongest arguments for supporting the allure of lab-grown diamonds are as follows:

– Laboratory-Grown Diamonds are Just as Valuable as Natural Ones

A diamond is one of the hardest materials on earth because it has a three-dimensional structure consisting of carbon molecules. Lab-grown diamonds’ strength, quality, and durability are comparable to those of their mined counterparts because they share the same atomic structure. 

Lab-grown diamonds’ clarity and color are superior to naturally occurring gems in certain situations. Additionally, lab-created diamonds continue to be valuable and timeless, much like those found in the ground, thanks to laboratory procedures and technological improvements.

– No-Fault Identification

Jewelry manufacturers and gemstone specialists must follow the laws and regulations governing the appropriate purchase of gemstones. Most mined stones have ethical issues due to their origins in violent areas. 

These precious stones also referred to as “blood diamonds,” are mined under unjust working circumstances involving child labor and human rights breaches. On the contrary, buyers of lab-grown diamonds are guaranteed that the stones have a clear history and a confirmed traceable source.

Lab-grown Diamonds - stock image of a diamond held by foreceps

– Reasonable Price

Diamonds are generally expensive, especially if you choose the highest quality. However, even with high-tech finishing, you can purchase lab-grown diamonds for a fraction of the price of mined diamonds because they are generated in a lab. Lab-created diamonds are even more flawless and dazzling than genuine jewels. As more businesses grow them globally, they are stable in color, pure, and relatively readily available on the market.

– Nostalgic Preservation

Turning your loved one’s ashes into an artificial diamond is another alternative that is becoming increasingly popular today. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some businesses have recently begun using carbon from cremated remains to grow diamonds in a lab, giving grieving families a chance to keep their lost loved ones close to them for all time.

The high carbon content of cremated human remains can be purified, compressed between two plates at very high temperatures, and crystallized on every side of a diamond piece. Depending on the ingredients put in and the length of the irradiation process, finished products may be black, blue, green, red, yellow, or any other color.

Consistently, lab-grown diamonds support the needs of producers, suppliers, customers, and the environment. Last, never question the resale value of lab-created gems; you can sell them through businesses purchasing graded and certified gems just like their mined counterparts.

Millennials and the younger generation of customers are more conscious of their purchases than ever before and are making environmentally sustainable decisions. Since the world has learned about the advantages of lab-created diamonds, these eco-friendly gems represent true love and devotion among these affluent buyers who want to create a better future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Diamonds Grown in a Lab Really Diamonds?

Lab-grown diamonds are identical to natural diamonds from a chemical, physical, and optical viewpoint. They sparkle beautifully and have the same crystal structure as mined diamonds. Additionally, lab-created diamonds have the same renowned Mohs hardness of 10. They are slightly less expensive than genuine diamonds while being just as durable.

Is There a Way to Distinguish a Lab-Made Diamond from a Natural One?

At first sight, it's impossible to distinguish between a lab-created diamond and a naturally occurring one. But there are two little details you can search for to know the difference. With a magnifying glass, look for a little laser inscription on the diamond's girdle (the widest point determining the gem's contour when viewed from the top). Many lab-created diamonds bear an inscription stating their origin. A lab report number may also be engraved on the girdle of a diamond. If there is no writing on the girdle, seek the assistance of a reputable gemological laboratory to determine whether a diamond is mined or synthetic.

Why Are Some Lab-Created Diamonds Colored?

A significant "positive" for lab-grown diamonds is the availability of colored diamonds. Diamonds with fancy colors can be some of the costliest gemstones but also the most stunning. For instance, pink diamonds are always in demand, but most people's budgets won't allow them to purchase one in a suitable size for an engagement ring. If you're seeking a diamond with fancy hues for your engagement ring, a lab-created stone may be your best choice for great color, size, and design at a reasonable price.

References

Hindustan Times: Shurui Studios Champions Sustainability with Lab Grown Diamonds

Alicat Scientific: Producing Lab-Grown Diamonds with Chemical Vapor Deposition

Science Direct: High Pressure–High Temperature Growth of Diamond Crystals

International Gemstone Society:  Gemstone Hardness and Wearability

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