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What Are Ethically Sourced Diamonds?

by Molly Jones
Last updated on September 12, 2023
Diamond Solitaire Rings

Recently, ethically sourced diamonds are all people seem to talk about when discussing the diamond industry. But what is an ethical diamond? What makes it so ethical? Not to worry, we will break down all there is to know about ethically sourced diamonds. This way you can make an informed choice when shopping for your engagement ring. Read on to find out more!

Ethically Sourced Diamonds Don’t Harm Humans or the Earth

Lab grown diamond rings. Ethically sourced diamonds.
Lab Grown Diamond Rings

Ethically sourced diamonds, also known as conflict free diamonds, are mined in a way that doesn’t harm humans or the environment.

A diamond’s value comes from its rarity and its beauty. But sadly, diamonds are also one of the most environmentally damaging products on the market. And this is thanks to mining.

Mining ruins lands and communities, often without payment to those the mining companies drive out.

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and Conflict Free Stones

Several certifications exist for diamonds that meet certain standards of ethical sourcing. The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) is one of the most widely in-use certifications. It requires all parties in the diamond trade to disclose their supply chain, including countries where their diamonds come from. The KPCS also requires the tracking of all diamonds throughout their journey. This allows us to trace diamonds back to their source country if needed.

Another common certification includes “fair trade” practices. This certification ensures that mining companies pay workers fair wages. It also ensures workers safe working conditions while they produce these beautiful jewels.

How Are Natural Diamonds Sourced?

Kimberley Diamond Mine. Ethically sourced diamonds.
Kimberley Mine

Diamond mining and manufacturing are quite complex. They are also far-reaching within the diamond industry.

The first step in the process is finding a diamond deposit. This involves one of two main methods. Method 1 is prospecting, which involves searching for diamonds in certain areas. Method 2 is diamond drilling, which involves using drills to dig through layers of rock until you find a deposit.

Once a deposit appears, it’s time to start digging. Rough diamonds form under huge amounts of pressure—sometimes thousands of tons per square inch. Thanks to this pressure, they are hard to extract from diamond mines. This is where diamond-mining equipment comes in handy. It allows miners to drill through layers of rock without disturbing the natural topography around them too much.

Newly mined diamonds are processed before being sold on the market as engagement rings. Diamond cutters typically cut raw diamonds into smaller pieces. They use very fast-spinning saw blades made of tungsten carbide steel alloy particles. These smaller diamond pieces then receive a polish to make them smooth. Finally, diamond cutters shape them into the shining stones we know and love today.

Are Natural Diamonds Bad for the Environment?

Lab Grown Diamond Engagement Rings and Bands. Ethically sourced diamonds.
Stacked Rings

Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but they’re not so great for the Earth. Diamonds have to be mined from the surface layers of the Earth (usually through open-pit mining). That process requires roughly 1,700 tons of earth for every carat of a natural diamond taken from the ground.

The surface mining required to get at those diamonds contributes to deforestation, soil erosion, and ecosystem destruction. And then there’s all the carbon dioxide emitted by the machines used in mining operations. These factors make natural diamonds less sustainable than many other gemstones on the market today.

What Are Blood Diamonds?

Blood diamonds, or conflict diamonds, are natural diamonds that come from conflict zones. The profits from their sale finance wars. The mining of blood diamonds also results in major human rights violations.

In these conflict zones, forced laborers are often the ones who mine natural diamonds. These forced laborers face abuse, torture, and even death if they refuse to work.

The profits from blood diamonds go toward buying arms and equipment for rebel groups or militias. In turn, these rebel groups and militias use the arms and equipment against civilians.

The term “blood diamond” describes these kinds of stones because of their connection to so much violence and suffering. People started using the term around 1999. Around this time it became clear that rebel groups were using diamond sales to finance their activities in places like Sierra Leone.

Thanks to certificates like the Kimberly Process, transparency regarding the source of natural diamonds is increasing. However, experts estimate that around 5-10% of the world’s diamonds are still illegal.

Are Ethically Sourced Diamonds and Conflict-Free Diamonds the Same?

Loose lab grown diamonds. Ethically sourced diamonds.
Loose Lab Grown Diamonds

When discussing ethical diamonds people often use the term “conflict-free diamonds” interchangeably; however, there is a key difference.

Conflict-free diamonds do not finance wars. Ethical diamonds ensure the mining process results in minimal damage to the environment. It also ensures the mining process is in harmony with local communities.

What Are Recycled Diamonds? Are They Ethical?

A diamond is thought to be recycled when it has been cut, polished, then put back into the market. Recycled stones are great for people who want to help the Earth. They are also good for people who want to make sure they are getting a high-quality product.

But, as with other mined diamonds, you can’t be sure your diamond ring isn’t a blood diamond. So if you’re looking for a 100% ethical ring a recycled stone may not be your best bet.

Are Lab Created Diamonds Ethical Diamonds?

Lab diamonds are 100% conflict free. Ethically sourced diamonds.
Lab Diamonds are 100% Conflict Free

Yes! Lab grown diamonds are ethical diamonds. This is thanks to the fact that lab grown diamonds, as the name implies, form in a lab. Because of this, you can purchase a lab grown diamond with confidence. You can be sure it is a conflict free, 100% ethical engagement ring.

When you buy a lab grown diamond engagement ring, you know the diamond did not come from the Earth. The diamond grew from scratch in a controlled environment—no one ever had to risk their life for it. And no one ever had to work under slave-like conditions for it. That’s pretty amazing!

Are Lab Diamonds Real Diamonds?

Diamond solitaire rings. Ethically sourced diamonds.
Clean Origin Rings

All the same rules apply to lab grown diamonds as to natural diamonds. They’re chemically, physically, and optically the same.

The main difference between natural and lab grown diamonds is in how they form. Natural diamonds form over millions of years under intense heat and pressure, and deep within the Earth’s crust. Scientists make lab created diamonds in a lab. This means that lab grown diamonds are will be less expensive than mined diamonds, as they have a shorter supply chain. If you’re looking for a cost estimate for a specific diamond, you may want to use a diamond price calculator.

Clean Origins Selection of Ethical Lab Diamonds

Lab Grown Diamond Rings and Earrings
Lab Grown Diamond Rings and Earrings

If you’re looking for ethical engagement rings free from diamond mines and the supply chain of blood diamonds, consider Clean Origin.

Clean Origin offers conflict free and ethical rings in many styles and sizes. With us, you can always find something that matches your unique personality. Choose from a variety of settings including halo, three stone, solitaire, and more. You are sure to find your perfect ring.

Shop Clean Origin’s Selection of Ethical Engagement Rings Today