naturally occurring diamonds
The Diamond Industrys Quest To Reduce Its Carbon Footprint and Protect Biodiversity
A few years ago, lab made diamonds made their mark on the diamond industry and shed light on different aspects of the naturally occuring diamond world.
From blood diamonds, or diamonds mined in a war zone and sold to finance an insurgency, to environmental concerns around carbon footprint with mining diamonds and biodiversity, consumers quickly wanted information around the integrity of the naturally occurring diamond they were purchasing and rightfully so.
So what is the natural diamond industry doing to be on the right side of history, especially with many online retailers positioning lab made diamonds as an “ethical choice,” versus natural diamonds? To start, diamond mining is generally less harmful to the environment than other types of mining. Additionally, the orebodies used in mining are vertical not horizontal, ultimately affecting less of the surrounding area. Many companies have established protected habitats adjacent to their operations, often times larger than the mining operation itself.
Over the last few years, the natural diamond industry has set out on its journey to decarbonize in line with global climate targets. As part of their carbon reduction strategies, NDC members are developing renewable energy projects, often in developing countries where it is harder to source energy, as well as engaging in carbon offsetting projects and investing in programs to sequester carbon. (Source)
As much as 99% of the waste from diamond recovery is rock and 84% of the water used in diamond recovery is recycled. The natural diamond industry abides by global environmental standards and stringent national laws. Before a single diamond is recovered, environmental permissions must be granted by governments with a legal obligation for ongoing monitoring, reporting and closure plans.
There are many contributing factors to the difference in carbon emissions recorded by the industry. These include mainly the availability of clean energy at mine locations, the production or yield capacity of a mine and exactly which stages of mining are included in methodologies.
Leaders like De Beers Group have set a goal of becoming carbon neutral across their operations by 2030 and are making progress. This process is broken down into three categories called scopes, each with a different level of goals. The first category titles Scope 1 & 2 includes improving operational efficiency, increasing the use of sustainable fuels, and switching to sustainable drive trains (the components of a motor vehicle that deliver power to the wheels), for vehicles and machinery.
Electrification of mining processes as well as the adoption of hydrogen fuel cells and battery electric vehicles are promising developments for the diamond industry.
Industry leaders have taken strategic steps to develop fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) haulage trucks, and the world’s first fully electric mine at Borden in Canada. Additionally, in Canada, industry leaders are designing a mine which incorporates low-carbon energy and uses only renewable sources and exploring the use of synthetic fuels and biofuels. Switching to more sustainable biofuels for trains has the potential to decrease carbon emissions by over 70% according to McKinsey.
For the emissions that the company cannot mitigate or replace with alternative energy sources, they are engaging in offsetting projects like the Wonderbag initiative, which reinvests carbon offset financing back into communities and is verified by numerous carbon standards and protocols.
As far as humanity is concerned, the isolated nature of prominent diamond mines means the workforce lives close by and develops a community spirit, which the diamond industry supports by investing in hospitals, schools, training and bursary programs.
For example, 33% of Botswana’s GDP comes from diamond mining, and an estimated five million people globally have access to health care thanks to diamond revenues, according to diamondfacts.org.
Today’s mining is not done by hand but is quite automated with miners moving millions of tons of rocks per year. Miners operating large earth loaders in open pits or underground would never even see a diamond. (Read more on this topic)
At La Bijouterie, we never work with conflict diamonds. We strictly work with ethically sourced GIA certified diamonds, and you will receive a GIA certificate and appraisal with your jewel. We want you to know that we’ve worked in the diamond wholesale business for generations and only work with trusted and ethical sources that take pride in where their diamonds are sourced.
Although we love naturally occurring diamonds and pride ourselves on the sourcing of them, we also work a lot with Lab Made diamonds. We feel both play an important role in the diamond industry and do not see one as better than the other. We’re simply here to help educate you, and demystify the sales of naturally occurring diamonds, marketing aside. Consider us your partner in transparency so that you are able to make the best purchasing decision.
We’re always at your service,
Founder of La Bijouterie
The Future of Lab Grown Diamonds vs Real Diamonds
“I do not believe you can do today’s job with yesterday’s methods and be in business tomorrow.”- Horatio Nelson Jackson, American Physician and Automobile Pioneer
At La Bijouterie, we believe in innovation, as it’s the key to success in almost any industry. When Lab Grown Diamonds (LGD) joined the greater diamond discussion a few years ago, we knew it was time to start educating our customers in new ways, and share the depth of knowledge we have about the diamond industry as a whole. It was time to focus on the future. Because of this, we have an obligation to be upfront and factual in the information we share, and present it in a way that is unbiased and educational as it relates to Lab Grown vs Real Diamonds.
Educating our clients brought up many questions, but one in particular we feel is worth a longer explanation...
What place does a lab made diamond have in the future, especially compared to real, naturally occurring diamonds?
Our hope is this blog post will be part of that greater conversation for you. Know that the best way to find out the answer to this question is to book a virtual or in-person 1:1appointment to further the discussion in order to make your own educated decision. Then you will have the opportunity to ask as many questions as you’d like.
What is a Lab Grown Diamond (LGD)?
A lab-grown diamond is a man-made product that shares the chemical and optical properties of natural diamonds, but whose origin and value differ greatly. Lab-grown diamonds are produced in factories in approximately 2-3 weeks using one of two methods originally developed in the 1960s for industrial purposes – HPHT and CVD. These methods artificially replicate natural conditions found in the Earth, forcing carbon atoms into a crystal structure. In more recent years, technology improvements have allowed factories to produce lab-grown diamonds in qualities that allow for uses beyond industrial. (Source)
So Are LGDs Actual Diamonds?
Although their chemical structure is the same as a natural diamond, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) a lab-created diamond cannot be called “real” because it does not come from the Earth and it is not a gemstone. (Source)
By this point, you may be feeling confused. How are you supposed to make a decision on whether to move forward with a naturally occurring diamond, (and which one?) vs one that is Lab Grown? Why is the word diamond in the title if they are not in fact diamonds? Do real diamonds hold their value? What about pricing? The environment?
Other Expert Opinions
In trying to differentiate natural diamonds from the lab grown alternative, theNatural Diamond Council quite truthfully underscores natural diamonds rarity.
“Natural diamonds are finite and rare. Diamonds are becoming rarer every day because no new significant deposits have been discovered in about 30 years,” it states. “However, lab-grown diamonds can be manufactured in potentially unlimited quantities similar to any manufactured product, thus they are not finite and cannot be considered rare.”
To which, the NDC adds, “Natural diamonds obtain their value from their scarcity as a natural, billion-year-old precious gem and have shown over decades to grow in value as they become more rare.”
There are a lot of things to consider here, and we’ve found one of the most important things to consider is Price vs Value.
Price vs Value
In its 2019 report, Bain gave more specifics, noting the lab-grown market grew 15% to 20% in 2019, following a similar trajectory in 2018.
That increase is credited to “the widening price differential of lab-grown diamonds versus natural ones and campaigns that leveraged the ‘green’ benefits of manufactured stones,” the report states.(Source)
When it comes to value, you can’t put a price on rarity. As basic economics states, once demand goes up, and inventory goes down, price goes up. So where does this leave us, as each claim they are better than the other for different reasons? More importantly, where does the future of Lab Grown Diamonds lie? Well that answer is entirely up to you as the consumer.
At La Bijouterie, our sole purpose is to help couples achieve a milestone moment in their lives any way we can. We believe in quality over quantity, and educating always. Before pulling the trigger on such an important decision,book a no stress 30 minute 1:1 appointment.
At Your Service,
Founder, La Bijouterie