Our customers are typically more environmentally conscious than the average consumer, and this is a standard that we are more than happy to work to live up to. In recent years, laboratory grown diamond brands have been popping up and heavily promoting their man-made jewelry. However, they haven’t been completely truthful and upfront about how ethical their practices really are.
If their marketing is to believed, these brands proclaim that lab-grown diamonds are better for the earth and for us. But before you form a decision on whether to shop natural or lab-grown, take a few minutes to learn a few facts about synthetic diamonds or cultured diamonds that go beyond what they present in their sales pitches.
Here are five secrets that cultivated diamond producers don’t want you to know:
Growing diamonds requires a significant amount of energy
Consumers are slowly shifting to brands and products that are more eco-friendly and better for the environment. While this is a welcome development, it leaves consumers vulnerable to questionable marketing pushes from big industries. You may have heard that cultivated diamonds are more environmentally-friendly. But what these companies forget to inform customers is that creating diamonds requires a lot of energy to begin with! To create a diamond, presses and reactors use extremely high pressure and heat for an extended amount of time as the manufactured diamond crystallizes. This energy used by the machines have a significant environmental impact.
“Lab-grown” diamonds aren’t manufactured in a lab at all!
Here’s one fact that may be the most surprising out of all of them. When you think of laboratories, most of us think of clean rooms, scientists in white coats, and sophisticated high tech equipment. But when we think of factories, we usually picture a significantly different environment. Those in the “lab-created” diamonds industry don’t want you to picture the latter, even though these so-called man-made diamonds are manufactured in huge factories like the majority of industrial products. These actually factory-created diamonds are usually located in low-wage countries where energy isn’t from clean sources and the chemical by-products aren’t disposed of safely.
There is no resale or upgrade market for lab-grown diamonds
Fine diamonds are always in demand. Because of how rare they are, selling jewelry such as diamond engagement rings or wedding bands has never been easier. Several reputable websites are also available to help customers resell their pieces.
On the other side, the resale market is not yet established. Because prices are drastically going down as time goes by, very few want to commit to holding inventory that could see significant price drops in just a few months. Even if they have a high gem quality, your jewelry that uses lab-grown diamonds may sell for a lot less than you paid for it.
If you plan on passing down the manufactured diamond, think about whether it will hold its value over time. Will your child consider it as a precious gem or as a mass produced piece of costume jewelry? While no one knows for sure, what we do know is that our earth isn’t creating more real diamonds. Don’t forget to consider which would be better as a long-term investment!
Moving away from mined diamonds puts millions of jobs at risk
Presently, 10 million people around the world have a livelihood due to the diamond industry. The practice contributes around $7.6 billion each year to Africa and has significantly contributed to the improvement of impoverished countries in the area, such as Botswana. Many developing countries where there aren’t a lot of options for work often rely on mining as a major source of employment.
Companies in the natural diamond industry continue to work towards only mining in conflict-free areas and promoting transparency with their consumers about their ethical sourcing practices. For diamond mining companies, social responsibility is often as important as environmental responsibility. On the other hand, lab diamond brands don’t generate nearly the same amount of jobs or encourage economic development.
Buying synthetic diamonds isn’t exactly the “eco-friendly” choice
If their sales departments are to be believed, lab-grown diamonds are “significantly eco-conscious”. But aside from the environmental cost related to the high energy needs of diamond factories, the raw materials, chemical catalysts and metals used to manufacture the machines are mined as well.
One advantage that natural diamonds has over cultured diamonds is that the former is reused several times in fine jewelry across generations. Think of the millions of treasured heirlooms that are passed down. This tradition means that the impact of diamond mining can be amortized over several centuries of reuse! As of now, we are unsure that cultivated diamonds will be treated the same.
A definitive study that compares the ecological impact of the two practices isn’t currently possible as well because of the lack of concrete data on the raw materials used in the process of manufacturing synthetic diamonds. This supports the movement that proclaiming manufactured diamonds as more eco-friendly compared to mined diamonds is unethical. Planting a single tree will benefit the environment a hundred times over compared to buying lab-grown diamonds.