How Sustainable Are Lab Grown Diamonds?
Diamonds are a girls best friend... In this article, we will be discussing lab grown diamonds and how sustainable they actually are in comparison to naturally mined diamonds - read to find out more!
Lab-grown diamonds are increasingly becoming more popular, they have the same chemical and physical properties of naturally mined diamonds, and they’re also cheaper in price. The sustainability of lab-grown diamonds and whether or not they’re actually ethical depends on the producer. In order for lab-grown diamonds to be marked as sustainable, they have to watch their energy sources.
First let's talk about the positive and negatives of naturally mined diamonds...
Unethical mining and labour is a large problem across the supply chain. Often workers are under legal age, not paid fairly and overworked. These people are forced to mine in dirty and hazardous conditions.
Negative environmental impact due to large-scale mining using heavy machinery and explosives in their extracting process. The holes created from mining can be enormous and have even proved to create dangerous air currents if they are big enough.
Sadly, diamonds are still fuelling conflict in particular places. These are areas like the Central African Republic and Zimbabwe in particular where the dark side of the diamond trade has come to light.
Now onto the positives...
There is an increasing amount of countries improving the working conditions for the miners as well as being better regulated. This significant process has improved the diamond trade.
It can be a source of economic development and livelihood, providing jobs for those in need. For example, large-scale diamond mining in Botswana contributed to almost a third of it’s GDP. This turned it from one of the poorest countries to a middle-income country.
What are lab grown diamonds?
Lab grown diamonds are made of the same materials and natural occurring diamonds, pure carbon. However, the process of making and extracting is a synthetic one instead of the natural mining process.
Keen to find out more? Lets talk about the positives of lab grown diamonds...
The working conditions for staff are significantly better! This is mainly because there is not mining involved that the workers have to carry out, therefore it is a lot safer.
There are no physical restrictions as one can situate the lab wherever they’d like to. Therefore they have greater control environmentally - for example, one can situate a lab somewhere where you can use hydropower. A vastly more sustainable option.
The producer has full control of the growth process - from the colour and size, to the cut.
Economically, it’s cheaper in price. These lab grown diamonds are cheaper to produce than naturally occurring diamonds, therefore set a cheaper price point for consumers too.
Lab grown diamonds have a smaller physical footprint. This is because they use less water and create less waste - a much better choice for your environmental footprint!
Sadly, there are negative aspects to lab grown diamonds that are definitely worth mentioning so you can have a full picture of the true sustainable value of lab grown...
As we mentioned previously, these labs can be situated anywhere, however the majority are grown in labs in countries such as China, Singapore, and the US. All of which heavily rely on fossil fuels for energy, an unsustainable and environmentally damaging source of energy.
The huge amount of power that’s needed to create these diamonds can lead to a large release of carbon pollution if the energy source is dirty, contributing to chemical pollution. Also, greenhouse gas emissions are 3 times greater for lab grown diamonds compared to naturally mined diamonds.
So how sustainable are lab grown diamonds against naturally mined diamonds?
The main takeaway from this is that the working conditions for the supply chain is considerably better for those working in the lab grown industry. Producing less waste and using less water during production is definitely a positive but the dramatic drawback comes from their contribution to greenhouse emissions that we can't ignore!
Now you have the facts, we'll let you decide what your opinion on the sustainability of lab grown diamonds are... We hope you enjoyed this article and found it to be an interesting read! Don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more content and visit Aequem to shop sustainable summer styles now!
Credits to Ayla for researching such an interesting topic!
Aequem Gang xo