Remember that story years ago about turning your loved one’s ashes into a diamond? That was the first time I heard about lab-grown diamonds, and well that’s what we are expected to return to anyway, no? Stardust and flecks of diamonds in the sky? Like stars and diamonds, we are carbon-based and to carbon – one day – we will return.
While I love all things that sparkle, for me, I opted out of a diamond wedding ring when my husband asked me what I wanted. A simple gold ring will do just fine I told him. In the back of my mind, I was remembering that Leonardo DiCaprio movie Blood Diamonds and the hell that people in Africa go through to mine our little shiny things. Then there is also the environmental degradation that goes along with it, and very high cost for the purchaser, always trying to buy a little more than he can afford. Who needs debt at a time like this?
A good diamond means I love you. So if the diamond is bigger and better it means you love me more? Diamonds have surely had a great marketing campaign for decades and hey, I think they are a lovely thing. Even lovelier now when you can find heirloom diamonds on the market –– a second-hand diamond. But then your mind wanders. Why did the family sell it? Were they under duress or going through a divorce? That’s what comes to my mind when I think about estate sales.
The really only conceivable way to buy a diamond today and be a serious environmentalist is to buy a lab-grown or lab-created diamond. You don’t need to have it made from the ashes of Uncle Peter or your dog, but just from carbon that the lab chooses for you. This is what happens in nature anyway: heat and energy and a lot of time make diamonds. In the lab, they just speed that all up.
So how exactly are lab grown diamonds made? And how can they be eco?
A lab-grown diamond simply put is a diamond made in a lab. They share the identical molecular structure as a “natural” diamond, and optically they look exactly the same. Lab-grown diamonds also look “rare” because they also have flaws and inclusions just like mined diamonds.
Good for the land
In the past, people mined diamonds –– they still do it today. But there is no need for disturbing that 100 square foot parcel of land for your carat of diamond. Lab sourced diamonds, made using high pressure and heat generate a very tiny ecology footprint compared to the 6000 pounds of mineral waste and pollution created by the traditional diamond mining industry.
Good for people
Forget about the underground trade, arms dealing and shady sides of the business –– one in a thousand miners are severely injured when mining for diamonds, sometimes beaten and forced into slave labor, and only earn a tiny fraction of that they see.
Don’t believe the seriously flawed Kimberly Process which might claim that your diamond is conflict-free? The industry is notorious for ignoring human rights abuses, and exploiting people. The Kimberly Process only means that the diamonds were not financing rebel movements against governments from where they were mined. The poverty continues, the environment continues to be mired. Crimes are still done against people. Lab-created diamonds bring jobs locally to you, and zero people get hurt while creating them. And they sparkle just the same.
Use less of your income
Tell your loved one that the 30% you save on the diamond, means an even greater honeymoon when you are able to travel. Instead of going on an outrageous holiday, travel more modestly corona style and longer, doing something you love with the person you love. Camping, glamping, fishing, hiking, birdwatching?