Cultivated diamonds are physically, chemically and optically identical to mined diamonds. After each lab-grown diamond is created, it undergoes the same grading and certification process as mined diamonds based on the 4 C’s: cut, clarity, colour, and carat.
The environmental factors, transparency and competitive pricing surrounding the cultivated diamond industry are key drivers in its growing demand.
Here are three reasons to buy cultivated over mined
Diamond mining employs heavy machinery and explosives to dig deep into the Earth, disturbs habitats, pollutes water, renders land unusable and creates tons of mineral waste.
Here’s the full breakdown of the energy and water usage as well as carbon emissions. Mined diamonds produce over 125 pounds of carbon per carat, while lab-grown diamonds generate just 6 pounds of carbon per carat. Mined diamonds also produce over 30 pounds of Sulphur oxide while lab-grown diamonds produce none. In total, air emissions on a single carat of a mined diamond are 1.5 billion times higher than those of a lab-grown one.
Moving into water and energy usage, a mined diamond consumes more than 126 gallons of water and 538.5 million joules per carat. By comparison, lab-grown diamonds consume just 18 gallons of water and 250 million joules per carat. Furthermore, much of the energy used in creating lab-grown diamonds is renewable.
Mined diamonds take up 100 square feet of land per carat and produce over 5798 pounds of mineral waste. Lab-grown diamonds disrupt just 0.07 square feet of land per carat and produce only 1 pound of mineral waste. One study concluded that diamond-growing facilities “are often located in areas that have a negligible impact on the environment and have almost no impact on biodiversity in the area of operation.”
The diamond mining industry has always been plagued with controversy and conflict, from child labour practices to human rights violations to peripheral bloodshed to work-related accidents to health risks.
Diamond mining has exploited the poor, enabled wars, and results in 1 injury per every 1000 workers on an annual basis. The mines themselves are vulnerable to collapse and workers are at risk for everything from lung disease to cancer to hearing loss.
By comparison, lab-grown diamonds create zero injuries, spark zero wars, and exploit zero workers.
Benefitting from a shorter supply chain, a cultivated diamond is approximately a third the price of a mined diamond.
Source: Why You Should Buy Lab-Grown Diamond Engagement Rings, Jacob Osborn, Man of Many, 2020.