As the world raves about global warming and ways to keep carbon emissions low, industries are now more and more focused on finding the best alternatives to mined diamonds, opting for synthetic diamonds instead.
But just how impactful is ditching the natural, mined diamonds for synthetic diamonds? And are synthetic diamonds as impactful to the environment?
7 Positive impacts of synthetic diamonds
Before we look at the positives of investing in lab-grown diamonds, let’s first look at synthetic diamonds.
The lab-grown diamonds can be defined as engineered, man-mad, or cultured diamonds, which as the name suggests, are the diamonds that are made in the lab.
Like mined diamonds, synthetic diamonds are made primarily of carbon atoms arranged in a crystal formation. Because of the simplicity of the structure of the diamond, scientists have been able to easily create diamonds in the lab just by isolating the carbon atoms and layering them into themselves.
The creation of diamonds in the lab is done under two main processes, the High-Pressure High Heat method, which mimics the exact conditions that form diamonds under the earth’s crust; and the second method is called the Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD), which makes use of heat to breakdown the carbon atoms from their molecules.
This process then sets aside the atoms like snow on the flat surface where the diamonds are formed. As a result, the mined and lab-grown diamonds will look the same to the naked eye.
Note that HPHT-created diamonds are stones that have carbon particles in the form of graphite subjected to extreme pressure and heat conditions via electrical current and a mechanical press.
On the other hand, the CVD diamonds are ‘grown’ under lower-pressure conditions from layered built on a base surface from the surrounding cloud of carbon plasma.
That said, you need to know that lab-grown diamonds are not the same thing as diamond simulants. The main difference between these two types of diamonds is that the diamond simulants are not carbon-based, unlike lab-grown diamonds.
The stimulants are more like the stones that have been manufactured to look like diamonds, although they are oftentimes made of alternative materials such as moissanite and cubic zirconia.
So, CZ is a diamond simulant that is made from zirconium dioxide. This inexpensive lab-grown diamond simulant is not only inexpensive but also stunning and just as brilliant as the natural diamond.
It is less durable than real diamonds or lab-grown diamonds too. On the other hand, you have the moissanite, a lab-grown diamond simulant made of silicon carbide – it is just as durable and is ranked the second-hardest stone made in the labs after the diamonds. It doesn’t cost as much.
Now that we have the basics out of the way, let’s look at the positive impacts of lab-grown or synthetic diamonds.
Because the creation of lab-grown diamonds is less intensive but yields the same high-quality gems, synthetic diamonds are essentially so much cheaper than mined diamonds.
And in most instances, synthetic diamonds cost between 30% and 40% less than real diamonds, even though they have the same color, size, and clarity levels. So, you’re getting the real thing, but for a lot less than you may have spent on the mined diamonds.
Often, the discount enjoyed by synthetic diamonds is variable, and it depends on both the quality and the shape of the stones.
Generally, the great discounts come from the fact that diamond consumers are attracted to the traditional ideal of mined diamonds, albeit with the romantic notion that diamonds are created beneath the earth’s crust over millions of years.
And with synthetic diamonds valued at much less than mined diamonds, it makes sense that synthetic diamonds are much more popular today.
The only catch is that you would have to choose the synthetic diamonds carefully because some of them are lower quality options than what you may be used to.
2.No mining necessary
The lab-grown diamonds are made in the lab, not mined. Mining diamonds is damaging to the environment as it degrades the land and environment where the diamonds are mined from.
At the same time, mining diamonds is known historically as a process that also puts the workers at risk because of the unsanitary conditions that these workers are exposed to.
The mining conditions are also hazardous. And in recent years, measures have been put in place to control and regulate the diamond mining processes, specifically, the Kimberly Process.
Unfortunately, these measures have only been effective in helping determine the origin of the diamonds. However, they haven’t been able to account for the human rights factors.
3.No ethical issues around the diamonds
The other significant advantage of synthetic diamonds is the fact that these diamonds made in the laboratory do not face or come with ethical problems common with mined diamonds.
And because they are made in the labs where the employees work in safe environments that boast proper and the highest standards for health and safety. The employees enjoy fair wages too.
There’s also the fact that synthetic diamonds don’t come from conflict zones. Unfortunately, claims that these diamonds are entirely safe are untrue because they leave a carbon footprint on the environment from the heat and high-pressure conditions that must be met in the lab for the diamonds to be created.
These processes are big energy consumers, and the total energy consumed is nothing but insignificant, so, in many ways, the lab-grown diamonds are still big energy consumers.
4. Lower noise pollution levels
The other advantage of the lab-grown diamonds is that these stones are produced in largely safe conditions in the lab with no blast-offs or other loud processes needed to get to, mine, and process the diamonds.
Noise pollution is undoubtedly a big issue for the mined diamonds and the mined regions of the world, and in these parts of the world, the noise levels are dangerously high and unsafe.
5. Fewer effects and damage to land
Despite the high energy consumption levels, synthetic diamonds made in the lab don’t have significant or serious effects on the land they are mined on or the local environment – with physical and chemical outputs harming the environment.
With the synthetic diamonds, little farmland is damaged, dried up water wells, land for crop production is untouched and not damaged, there is no risk of contaminated groundwater, and homes are not at risk of cracking. So, for an overall eco-friendly solution, synthetic diamonds are ideal.
6.No water scarcity issues
The other challenge you will avoid with lab-made diamonds is that these diamond creation processes do not affect water supply or cause water scarcity problems by drying up wells.
Water problems are a massive challenge for the mined diamonds because the diamond mine pits that are much lower than the water table or the bottom of the local wells will affect access to water. Mines affect water quality too.
7. Air pollution
The diamond mines also mean a high level of airborne emissions in all the mining and processing cycles, and these are risks not faced with synthetic diamonds.
Mining diamonds means high emissions during the exploration, construction, development, and operation stages. Then you have the waste piles from all the mining operations, which would be easily picked up and dispersed by the wind, polluting large, nearby ecosystems.
Negative effects of Synthetic Diamonds
Synthetic diamonds are imperfect despite causing little harm to the environment and keeping people largely safe. One of the things that stands out about these diamonds is that the value of diamonds tends to depreciate thanks to the fact there are no limitations in terms of supply.
So, its resale value is lower and primarily impacted. As a result, it would be too expensive to upgrade the synthetic diamonds later.
The other challenges from synthetic diamonds are as follows:
- Crippled economies in areas where synthetic diamonds are more popular than mined diamonds. Though run by funded corporations, the local communities don’t often benefit directly, which is a challenge with synthetic diamonds.
- Environmental issues circumvented by not mining are still faced with the high heat and pressure conditions that the synthetic diamonds demand. The high energy demands present a challenge, and in many cases, the environment is affected somehow, and the diamonds are a tad too expensive.
Synthetic diamonds are quite popular today because they present fewer challenges and don’t impact the environment as much.
They are also cheaper than mined diamonds, and as the world seeks more eco-friendly solutions in a bid to lower carbon credits, the popularity of synthetic diamonds is reasonable.
It will be a good option for you if you are looking for a cheaper alternative to mined diamonds.
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Tiger is a fashion&jewelry lover. He is also a fashion jewelry manufacturer that help thousands of small business to grow and also do business with some big fashion jewelry brands. He is a truly metal expert and he will share some information you are looking for.