Diamonds are symbols of enduring beauty and love. But they often have a dark side that stands in direct contrast to this beauty. This is because the majority of diamonds on the market are mined at an incredible cost to the communities and environments that harbor them. While all forms of mining can have negative consequences, diamond mining has proven especially brutal.
What Is A 'Natural' Diamond
A natural diamond is usually so-called because it is mined from the earth after occurring naturally. This contrasts with lab-created diamonds, which are created using science — but no less real.
It is no secret that the quest for diamonds has contributed to human suffering. The impact has been especially severe in Africa, which contains much of the world’s natural diamond supply. Over the last decade, consumer awareness of the natural diamond trade’s harsh practices has grown. In-depth reporting and even popular culture movies like Blood Diamond have shed light on how natural diamond mining fuels forced labor, violence and countless casualties.
While the mined diamond industry seeks to address some of these issues through increased transparency around the source of natural diamonds, it cannot fully eradicate them. In fact, it is estimated that about 5-10% of the world’s diamonds are still illegally traded. Since natural diamonds exchange hands many times after their discovery, the risk remains that a mined diamond may still be associated with some conflict. But even if the industry could somehow fully eliminate these ethical risks, there is another casualty to consider: the environment.
Natural diamond mining can devastate environmental ecosystems. Here are a few examples of how the most popular techniques wreak ecological havoc.
1. Marine mining, commonly practiced today, deploys large ships with powerful pipes that often drill deep into the seabed to reach diamond deposits. The pipes indiscriminately suck up everything in their path, displacing and disrupting the sea life.
2. Open pit mining, one of the oldest techniques, requires digging miles beneath the earth’s surface. The process can displace about 1,700 tons of earth for a one-carat rough diamond. This leads to deforestation, soil erosion and the depletion of precious farmland.
3. Alluvial mining employs walls and dams that redirect water flow to capture diamonds that have reached the surface of river beds after years of natural erosion. This impacts the quality of the water and the health of aquatic life.
The Case For Lab Created Diamonds: Why Compromise?
Over the last decade, technological advances in lab-made diamond creation have made it possible to match the quality found in nature – to the point that trained gemologists cannot tell the difference between a mined “natural” diamond and a lab-grown diamond of comparable features. After years of human suffering and ecological devastation, it is worth pausing to question why there would ever be a good reason to purchase a mined diamond. There isn’t.
With a certified lab-created diamond, you don’t have to compromise between quality and ethics. You get both a perfectly beautiful diamond and the peace of mind that it truly is clean, free of conflict and friendly to the environment. And if that wasn’t enough, it also happens to be friendly to your wallet! Clean Origin lab-created diamonds can be up to 40% less expensive than their comparable mined counterparts.
In 1477 the Archduke of Austria started a tradition that has endured through the ages – the romantic gesture of offering a diamond engagement ring. It’s about time a diamond’s origin matched this beautiful sentiment. At Clean Origin, we believe true love deserves nothing less.
As mentioned previously, lab-created diamonds are diamonds that are created using science — they are “grown” inside a lab using groundbreaking technology, and a process that replicates the natural diamond growing process. Because of this process, it is not uncommon to hear these lab-grown gems described “synthetic diamonds.” While they are synthetic in the sense that they were created and not mined, the term “synthetic” itself can be somewhat of a misnomer. These kinds of diamonds are very much real, and in no way different from natural diamonds chemically, physically, or in appearance.
In contrast to mined diamonds, there is no need to be concerned about the impact that using manufactured diamonds in your jewelry could have.
While mined diamonds have a negative environmental impact, there is no such concern about those that are created in a lab. For every carat of diamond that is mined, nearly 100 square feet of land is disturbed, and almost 6000 lbs of mineral waste are created. By contrast, no land needs to be disturbed for the creation of diamonds in a lab, no matter how many carats.
Of course, diamond jewelry is always going to come with a price tag, but with lab-created diamonds that price tag is much lower. They are often 20-30% less expensive than natural diamonds. That is because the supply chain is much shorter and the process is renewable.
We have mentioned the questionable ethical practices that have long dogged the diamond mining industry, and while much has been rectified, mined diamonds still result in 1 injury for every 1000 workers every year. This is something that is hard to prevent in a mining environment, whatever precautions are taken. Meanwhile, in a lab, casualties are incredibly rare.
Whether you are looking for an engagement ring, promise ring, or any other kind of jewelry, a lab-grown diamond is the way to go for your choice of gem. It is not only more affordable, but it is the only way that you can provide yourself with real peace of mind. All of our diamonds go through the same outside professional grading process for cut, clarity, color, etc. and are guaranteed to give you just as much — or more — joy as a natural diamond. So next time you are looking for diamond jewelry, score one for the earth and go lab grown.
Often confused with cut, the shape of a diamond is the physical appearance that it takes. The most popular shape is the round brilliant.
The cut of a diamond determines how effectively light that enters the stone is refracted within and reflected back through the top of the diamond, providing sparkle. The best cut grade is defined as Ideal, followed by Excellent, Very Good, Good, and Fair. Fancy shape stones often do not receive cut grades and will be listed as 'None.'
Carat refers to the actual weight of a diamond and is a unit of measure equal to 0.2 grams. In all diamonds, carat weight is a large contributor to the price of the stone.
The color in diamonds is actually the absence of color, graded on an alphabetical scale from D to Z, with D being a colorless diamond and Z being yellow.
Clarity measures the amount of inclusions or imperfections found in a diamond. The best clarity is VVS1 followed by VVS2, VS1, VS2, SI1, and SI2. Although other levels of clarity exist, we only carry diamonds with quality we can stand behind.
A cut grade that makes up less than 1% of all the diamonds in the world. Perfectly symmetrical with plenty of sparkle. Viewed from above, you will see eight symmetrical arrows and from below, eight perfectly symmetrical hearts.