The diamond industry has been a source of controversy for many years. Although the industry’s negative reputation is accurate, it’s not applicable to the entire industry.
Not all diamonds are mined – many are lab-grown – which means not every diamond producer or jeweler is supporting the negative part of the industry.
Lab-grown diamonds are real diamonds
Before exploring why lab-grown diamonds are ideal, it’s important to note that they are, in fact, real diamonds. What makes a diamond real is its atomic structure, not the place where it’s found. Diamonds are mostly carbon, which is why they’re so easy to create in a lab.
In a lab, diamonds are grown under the same conditions that create diamonds in nature. Essentially, it’s a specific combination of heat, pressure, and time. The result is an identical carbon-based jewel, but without the pain and suffering that comes from the mining industry.
Any piece of diamond jewelry can be made with a lab-grown diamond; it’s just a matter of ensuring the source of your jewel. For instance, a diamond tennis bracelet made from lab-grown diamonds will look just like a bracelet made from mined diamonds.
Although it is possible to tell the difference between earth-grown and lab-grown diamonds, you need special tools to perform this type of analysis. You can’t tell by looking at them side-by-side. Even the FTC ruled that lab-grown diamonds fall under the same definition as mined diamonds.
Lab-grown diamonds aren’t blood diamonds
Since lab-grown diamonds are real diamonds, you might be wondering why you should opt for them over mined diamonds. The answer involves a complicated and violent history of the diamond industry that is still happening today.
Certainly, the actual process of mining diamonds is dangerous. However, there’s something much more sinister about the industry. Since diamonds have a high monetary value, criminals use them as political bribes and to fund wars. For example, mined diamonds have financed wars in certain parts of Africa that resulted in more than 3.7 million deaths.
Another problem with the diamond mining industry is rampant poor conditions. Not only is mining a dangerous profession, but outside of the United States, diamond miners don’t earn a living wage. They are given the lowest possible pay for their labour, and are often tortured and beaten if they don’t pay bribes to the personnel who guard their camps.
Although mined diamonds provide more jobs, they’re not the ethical choice. Unfortunately, buying mined diamonds supports an industry that doesn’t value human life or the planet. Thankfully, lab-grown diamonds are an ethical and equally beautiful choice. They have the same shine, they look the same, and will make any piece of jewelry stand out.
What about the Kimberly Process?
The Kimberly Process was established in 2003 to prevent “conflict diamonds” from entering the market. Countries that subscribe to this agreement will not accept diamonds into the country unless they’re certified to be conflict-free. At first glance, this seems like a great reason to find KP-certified diamonds. However, there’s more to consider.
If you’re wondering if it’s better to buy diamonds certified under the Kimberly Process, the answer depends on your budget and how far you want to take your ethical considerations. When legitimately certified, these diamonds don’t come from a source of conflict, like having been used to fund a war. However, they’re still coming from an industry that doesn’t provide living wages or ideal working conditions. They were also expensive.
Although you can source diamonds and diamond jewelry that complies with the Kimberly Process, you’ll still pay around 40% more than what you’ll pay for lab-grown diamonds.
Lab-grown diamonds are 40% more affordable
If you’re looking for an affordable diamond, look at lab-grown jewels. This segment of the industry hasn’t been as affected as the mines. For instance, during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, many diamond mines were shut down and supply chains were seriously disrupted. With this disruption, fewer people were buying diamonds, mainly because of a low supply and higher cost.
People who lost their jobs during the pandemic weren’t exactly in a financial position to buy diamonds. However, with lab-grown diamonds costing 40% less than mined diamonds, diamond jewelry is far more affordable. Now that people are just starting to recover with new jobs, those who are looking to buy diamonds can save some money with lab-grown diamonds.
Lab-grown diamonds are ideal
Overall, diamonds grown in a lab are ideal for any piece of jewelry. They’re not only more affordable, but they’re also an ethical choice.