Updated: 7 days ago
Diamonds are dazzling, stunning and the ultimate symbol of luxury. They are a symbol of perfection due to their hardness, optical transparency, high thermal conductivity and unique isometric, crystal structure. There is no other material in the world that compares and so diamonds are not only beautiful but also useful for many industrial applications.
Engagement rings, couples rings or other diamond jewellery symbolise strength, commitment, abundance, enlightenment and so much more, making them the obvious choice for so many reasons and occasions.
Diamonds form under high temperature and pressure conditions about 100 miles beneath the earth's surface. They are extracted in "open pit - or underground mines" or "marine mines". The former speaks for itself in that an open pit is dug up to reach the point where diamonds can be reached in 'Kimberlite pipes' (channels formed from cooled volcanic activity). Marine mines are those that excavate diamonds that have accumulated in river - and lake beds.
In both cases, large amounts of soil need to be removed to reach the point where diamonds can be excavated. In many cases that means removing entire lakes and eco systems, leaving behind dead wastelands, poisoned water sources through chemicals and machinery used in the process, and displacing entire communities from their homes. The damage is irreversible!
Lab Grown Diamonds
A diamond created in a lab is identical in properties to the natural counterpart. The same high temperature - high pressure, conditions are simulated in a lab to allow them to grow. The technology has improved so dramatically, that high quality diamonds can now be created in this way.
This means that the earth can be left alone. No mines need to be dug up, no immediate destruction on eco systems and no poisoning of water sources. The benefits with regards to environmental sustainability are indisputable.
Not all Lab Diamonds are Equal
However, it is important to mention here that creating diamonds in laboratories does not necessarily happen with no impact on the environment whatsoever. The amount of energy required to create the extreme conditions that diamonds need to form, is immense and the resulting carbon footprint of such energy use is most certainly significant.
Therefore, just because a jeweller uses lab grown diamonds, doesn't mean it's the most eco friendly choice for jewellery designs. So here I go claiming to be sustainable and eco friendly, and then this?
Well, there are some companies that produce lab diamonds that are more eco friendly than others. Therefore the label 'lab diamond' isn't really entirely satisfying. Sure, these diamonds will have less impact on the immediate environment but we can go a step further in our awareness and sustainability choices.
Lab Diamond companies that use renewable energy are the champions of sustainability when it comes to diamonds and if you want to go full eco bling, then that's the stuff for you.
Our most favourite celeb environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio himself became an investor and advisor to one such carbon neutral lab diamond company, after starring in the well-known, and incredibly disturbing, 2006 movie "Blood Diamond". (I loved him at 16 and I love him even more now!)
Diamond Powers and Energies
There is one thing a lab grown diamond cannot replace. The fact that a natural diamond was grown inside the belly of our beautiful planet. The energies that the earth infuses into its materials is not something anybody can recreate. For those who study the art of crystal healing, a lab grown diamond will never replace the power an earth grown gem holds. I am no expert on these matters. But since we are one of the living organisms that has sprouted from the earth, we are inevitably, energetically linked to all creation somehow.
I am the first to bow down to the powers offered by the 'Big Mama'. But clearly that doesn't mean that we need to be indulging in gemstones for the sake of symbolism and property. Symbolism and beauty can be obtained through eco-friendly alternatives and if we want to get the benefits of the earth's energies, there are a thousand other ways of connecting and getting the desired results.
So I say, leave the earth alone, let some treasures remain hidden and mysterious. Who knows, maybe the energies of a diamond in the earth does things to our world that we are completely unaware of.
When I first started making jewellery a few years ago, the sustainability factor was one of the first things on my mind. I fell in love with this craft and was deeply troubled that I would be creating something that supports such destruction.
Recycled Gold and Silver was easy. The big suppliers already offer these options, and whatever dimensions aren't offered, I make myself from recycled precious metals. There is absolutely no excuse for any silver/goldsmith not to be using recycled materials.
And when I started setting stones, I did one quick google search: "eco-friendly diamonds" and the new world of lab grown diamonds popped up. I also got countless offers from lab diamond suppliers at the time (and still do), but after my research I wanted to make sure that my supplier would be carbon-neutral.
Sustainability isn't that hard. It's awareness and a choice! It's really that simple!
"I was awakened by the chirping of a bird outside window. I had never heard such a sound before. My eyes were still closed, and I saw the image of a precious diamond. Yes, if a diamond would make a sound, this is what it would be like. " - Eckhart Tolle