Meet the scientists who are making diamonds truly sustainable
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Do you do mined diamonds, as well as lab-grown diamonds?
Yes, however we champion lab-grown diamonds as the future of luxury. Our mined diamonds are very carefully sourced, and we do not rely on the Kimberley Process alone to determine if our stones are ethical.
What is a lab-grown diamond?
A lab-grown diamond is a diamond grown in controlled laboratory conditions, free from the natural impurities found in the Earth’s crust.
In the same way as water can freeze on a lake or be frozen in a freezer to create ‘real’ ice, we take a diamond seed and put it in a chamber which re-creates the heat and pressure of the Earth to make real diamonds.
Under these conditions, nature takes over, and the diamond crystal grows of its own accord. Just like we created the freezer using technology to harness the natural laws of freezing, we have created technology which can harness the natural laws of carbon crystalisation.
Grown diamonds are therefore anatomically and optically identical to their mined counterparts, with the difference being that they are often of a higher quality (owing to the controlled growing conditions), and up to 40% better value compared to mined diamonds. It is safe to say that you can purchase a 3 carat lab-grown diamond for a fee similar to its 2 carat mined counterpart.
How are lab-grown diamonds made?
There are 2 main processes for growing diamonds, HPHT and CVD which, just like the earth, are capable of creating incredible, average and forgettable diamonds.
A diamond seed (a very tiny diamond), highly refined graphite and a mixture of compounds (all of which are required for the growth of diamonds in the Earth’s crust) is placed under extreme hydraulic pressure of over 500 atmospheres and consistent heat reaching temperatures of 1,300 degrees Celsius.
As the process completes, the growing environment cools and a rough diamond is ready to be cut and polished in the same way as rough diamonds are extracted from the earth and then cut and polished.
What are the carbon emissions for lab-grown diamonds?
Carbon emissions for mined diamonds are 57000 grams per carat, compared to 0.028 grams per carat of lab-grown diamond.
Sulphur Oxide emissions for mined diamonds are 0.014 tonnes per carat, compared to nil for mined diamonds.
Nitrous Oxide emissions for mined diamonds are 0.042 tonnes per carat, compared to nil for mined diamonds.
Are lab-grown diamonds real diamonds?
Yes. Lab-grown diamonds display the same chemical and optical qualities as their mined counterparts. They have the same hardness, refractive index, and dispersion properties. They are graded by the same independent gemological institutes which grade mined diamonds and are graded using the same standards.
How can I tell if a diamond is lab-grown or mined?
You won’t be able to tell. A lab-created diamond looks and acts the same as a mined diamond and will test positive using a diamond tester. However, it is worth mentioning that all diamonds (lab and mined) are unique and are graded according to pre-determined categories of quality, known collectively as the 4 Cs. It' the responsibility of the jeweller to choose high-quality stones and to sell them at a fair price.
How does a lab-grown diamond compare to a mined diamond?
Lab-grown diamonds have identical optical and chemical properties as their mined counterparts. This means they exhibit the same sparkle and are as durable as mined diamonds. The two key differences between lab-grown diamonds and mined diamonds are: Value: A 3-carat lab-grown diamond will be priced similarly to a 2-carat mined diamond Ethics: Ethical Lab-grown diamonds have a dramatically lower carbon footprint, do not fund conflict or child-labour, and do not contribute to environmental damage or the displacement of nomadic tribes, such as the Kalahari Bushmen.
See above point the 4 Cs.
To learn more about how diamond mining has negatively affected the Kalahari Bushmen, please visit Survival International.
Is there a price difference between a lab-grown diamond and a mined diamond?
Yes. Lab-grown diamonds are between 20% and 40% better value than their mined counterparts. A 3-carat lab-grown diamond will be priced similarly to a 2-carat mined diamond. In addition, it is usually possible to purchase a better-quality diamond for your budget when choosing lab-grown, because the controlled conditions in which it was made did not contain any of the impurities found in the Earth’s crust.
Where do your diamonds come from?
We use only the most ethical diamond growers who create the very best quality diamonds available. Currently, these laboratories are based in Antwerp, the US, and India. We source first and foremost from Antwerp whenever possible, to keep our carbon emissions for transportation as low as possible. It is important to understand however, that diamonds are traded on a global market, and are not necessarily in the lab where they were first created. It's our job to sift the best quality from this global market, using our expertise and industry connections. This applies to both lab-grown and mined diamonds.
Our mined diamonds come from predominantly from Canada and Botswana, from mines with great track records for ethical production, as well as appropriate treatment of workers.
Do lab-grown diamonds test positive as diamond with a diamond tester?
Yes. They will pass all tests used to confirm a pure, carbon diamond.