How Lab Created Diamonds Are Shaping Sustainability In Jewellery Design
Never before has there been a substitute for mined diamonds, the sparkling emblem of purity, perfection and promise between a loving couple – until now. We aren’t talking about cubic zirconias or cheap imitations. Lab created diamonds are “grown” using cutting-edge technology that replicates the natural diamond growing process. The result is identical chemically, physically and optically to those that are mined from below the Earth’s surface – the only difference is the origin.
So are they real? The answer is very simple, yes. Stephen Morrissau, a spokesman for the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), a nonprofit organization that oversees the international diamond grading system, affirms “from our perspective, synthetic diamonds are diamonds” and “ They are not fakes. They’re not cubic zirconias. They have all the same physical and chemical properties of a mined diamond.”
Their popularity is growing with consumers that are searching for an alternative that is perceived more ethically and sustainably sourced compared to mined diamonds. One of the leaders in the space, ALTR Created Diamonds, was identified as part of our Jewellery Trends To Look Out For in 2021 and we felt it worth diving deeper into the topic, the astounding developments and the impacts it will have on the future of jewellery design.
What Is A Lab Created Diamond?
You are probably wondering how a lab created diamond is grown? There are two methods used to create diamonds – High Pressure, High Temperature (H.P.H.T.) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (C.V.D.). Both methods start with a single crystal diamond, known as a seed, and apply a chemical process that recreates the temperature and pressure that forms natural diamonds deep underneath the Earth’s surface.
Think of it like growing a plant in a greenhouse compared to one grown in the wild, the origin differs but end-result is the same.
How Are Lab Created Diamonds Graded?
After the diamond has been nurtured to the desired carat, which can take anywhere from 2-8 weeks, it is precision cut and graded by the GIA. The grading process is the same as mined diamonds, assessing colour, clarity, cut and carat. This ensures that the quality of the diamond you are buying is the same as one that has been mined, and each comes with a unique certificate validating its authenticity.
Benefits of Lab Created Diamonds
Thanks to a streamlined process and vastly smaller resource requirements, the price of lab created diamonds tends to be less than mined diamonds, by about 20-30%. The costs in cutting, polishing and inspection are the same however savings come from the shorter supply chain.
The mined diamond industry has come under scrutiny in the past for unethical production practices and the prevalence of “blood or “conflict diamonds” which were funding violence and exploiting workers. Thankfully since the implementation of the Kimberley Process in 2003, unethical practices have been almost eliminated, with an estimated 99.9% of natural diamonds conflict-free. However, if knowing the exact origin of your diamond is important to you, then a lab created diamond is a transparent solution that shows exactly where it’s come from.
Lastly, the environmental impact of diamond mining may be cause for you to choose a lab created diamond. In fairness, most diamond mining companies have taken steps to minimise their impact on the environment and help improve the communities they operate in. However, there is significantly less energy involved in the production of lab created diamonds and this can carbon footprint can be offset with wind turbines and other renewable energy sources, as shown by ALTR diamonds.
Overall, it is clear that there will be a shift in what is important to consumers and there’s no sign of demand for lab-grown diamonds slowing down. There will always be the romanticism of mined diamonds, the history and scarcity appealing many customers. However, as time goes on, there will likely be a gradual shift towards alternatives.
Speak To Argyle Jewellers About Lab Created Diamonds
You can browse our collection of ATLR created diamonds, where we have a range of engagement rings, weddings bands and earrings. If you are interested in learning more about lab created diamonds, feel free to contact us and one of our friendly team members will happily answer any questions.