Traditions Reimagined: Lab Grown Diamonds As An Alternative
They’re truly one of the very few jewellery pieces that carry an appeal that almost everyone likes and admires. Whether you prefer the chunky ones or dainty and elegant ones, even the least traditional amongst us will go weak in the knees for a beautiful scintillating diamond.
As diamond technology advanced throughout the years, so did the diamond aesthetic. You can now get diamonds in a myriad of cuts, clarity, and colour to fit both your preferences and budget. But the pinnacle of modern diamond technology has to be the one and only lab grown diamond. If you’re wondering how they differ than your regular mined diamond, we’re here to give you the rundown so that you can make a better informed decision when shopping for an engagement ring.
The Origins: Lab Grown Diamonds
Just as the name suggests, lab grown diamonds are diamonds that have been produced and manufactured in a controlled environment. Thanks to modern cutting-edge technology, these stunning gems can be made in two ways: Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD) and High-Pressure-High Temperature (HPHT). In both processes, a diamond seed is placed in carbon-rich environs and is exposed to extremely high temperatures and pressure, imitating the natural geological environment that promotes the growth of the said beautiful gem.
Despite having differing origins, lab grown diamonds are optically, physically and chemically identical to their mined counterparts. And whilst they may have been produced in a controlled environment, the quality and characteristics carried by these lab grown diamonds come in a spectrum. As such, each diamond will possess different cut, colour, clarity and carat grade each time – no two lab grown diamonds are the same.
The Origins: Mined Diamonds
If lab grown diamonds are obtained through processes in a controlled environment, then mined diamonds’ procurement methods are a direct antithesis. The only way one could procure earth mined diamonds is – you’ve guessed it – mining deep within the earth’s surface.
There are three main mining techniques that are used in the diamond mining industry: open-pit mining, underground diamond mining and offshore marine diamond mining. They might differ in procedural specificities, but all three techniques use heavy machinery to extract these gems from the ground. Unfortunately, this also means that there’s a significant change made to the environment in a single mining project. In an attempt to procure raw diamonds, mining causes an adverse effect on the soil, vegetation and bedrock, ultimately contributing to the changes in the soil profile, surface hydrology, groundwater levels and more.
Unfortunately, those ecological aftermaths only scratched the surface. There’s also the miners’ low wages, unsustainable work practices and harmful working conditions that are often associated with mining as a whole.
The Verdict: Lab Grown Diamond VS Mined Diamond
Now that you’ve caught up on the diamonds’ origins, here is comparative analysis on their impacts on the environment.
One of the many different areas in the procurement of mined and lab grown diamonds is in their water usage. For a one carat diamond, mining will consume more than 126 gallons of water, whereas lab grown diamond technology consumes only 18 gallons. In addition, mining also produces discharge, wastewater and pollutants into natural water bodies, degrading its ecosystem.
Similar to their respective water usage, these two methods also greatly vary when it comes to energy consumption. Mining consumes approximately 538.5 million joules to produce a one carat diamond, as compared to the 250 million joules used by lab grown technology. In addition, according to a Frost & Sullivan study, the energy used in the making of lab grown diamonds is renewable, thus much more sustainable and environmentally-friendly.
Unfortunately, the difference in carbon emission between the two acquirement methods is nothing short of staggering. According to Frost & Sullivan, a traditional one carat mined diamond produces more than a whopping 56.7kg of carbon, whilst lab grown diamond of the same carat weight emit just 2.72kg of carbon – a mere 4.8 percent of what their mined counterparts produce.
In terms of overall emissions, the growth of lab grown diamonds is also reported to produce little to no emissions of significance. In comparison, mined diamond account for air emissions that are 1.5 billion times higher than those of lab grown diamonds.
Direct Ecological Impact
For every one carat diamond obtain via traditional mining methods, it’s reported that more than 2630kg of mineral waste created and nearly 9.3 square meters of land is disturbed. This effectively strips the land of its vegetation and biodiversity, rendering it obsolete even if mining activities have ceased.
In comparison, the growth of a one carat lab grown diamond produce 0.45kg of mineral waste and disrupt 0.006 square meters of land.
The Eco-Friendly And Sustainable Diamond Ring
If your partner is one to stick to traditions but doesn’t wish to contribute to the harmful environmental effects of a mined diamond, lab grown diamonds are definitely the gems to gift as a token of love and promise. Not only can your significant other revel in the beauty of a gorgeous gem, but they can also do so whilst preserving the environment at the same time!
At Star Carat Shop, we take pride in our extensive selection of IGI-certified lab grown diamonds. We only house quality diamonds that are also categorised in the rare TypeIIA category. Our friendly consultants will guide you through every aspect of the way, so that you’ll find a brilliant proposal ring that’ll suit your partner’s fancy. Book an appointment with us to get started with your hunt for the perfect engagement ring!