It was back in the 1950s that scientists discovered they could grow diamonds in just a matter of weeks and, thanks to dramatically improved technology over the last decade, it is now next to impossible to tell lab-grown diamonds from their mined counterparts.
The laboratory process mimics how diamonds are grown naturally. A very tiny diamond, which is highly refined graphite and a mixture of compounds, is placed under extreme hydraulic pressure and consistent heat, just as it would in the Earth’s crust. As the process completes, the growing environment is cooled and a rough diamond is ready to be cut and polished. Exactly the same as when rough diamonds are extracted from the earth.
Lydia McCarthy-Keen is a luxury, ethical jeweller based in London and a purveyor of the world’s finest lab-created diamonds. We’ve asked her to list a few reasons why we should be buying them instead of mined diamonds.
Lab-grown diamonds have identical optical and chemical properties as their mined counterparts which means they are equally durable and sparkle in just the same way. Also, they are graded by the same independent gemological institutes using the standards that grade mined diamonds.
They are better value than mined diamonds; anywhere between 20-40% based in diamond industry statistics. For instance, you can buy a 3 carat lab-created diamond for the equivalent of a 2 carat mined diamond. Also, it is worth noting that it is usually possible to purchase a better quality diamond for your budget when choosing lab-grown because the controlled conditions in which it is made does not contain any of the impurities that are found in the earth’s crust.
Unlike mining, the laboratories don’t fund conflict or child labour, and the trained technicians working there will receive a proper salary.
A lab-grown diamond is grown in a virtually carbon neutral environment – 0.028grams per carat whereas for mined diamonds it is 57000grams per carat. Also, there are no sulphur or nitrous oxide emissions
Unlike mining the process of making lab-diamonds doesn’t cause any environmental damage, or the displacement of indigenous nomadic tribes, like the Kalahari Bushmen.
Ultimately, mined and lab diamonds are two products without any practical distinction beyond the quality and grading of the individual stone itself. Lydia says “I feel we need to recognise that we are capable of creating a future where luxury, abundance and sustainability are not mutually exclusive.” Good news for ethically aware diamond lovers around the world!
For more information visit Lydia’s website www.lydiamccarthy-keen.co.uk or you can email her at [email protected]