Diamond Sourcing: Choosing Between Mined and Lab Grown Diamonds

Diamond Sourcing: Choosing Between Mined and Lab Grown Diamonds

As globalization continuously pulls the world closer together and the internet and 24 hour news connect us to struggles and troubles around the globe, the importance of understanding supply chains cannot be understated. 

A growing movement of consumers looking to purchase diamond jewelry are turning away from diamonds with unknown origins. Instead, they are demanding gemstones that are sourced conflict free or are created in a lab away from the political and social turmoil that has been associated with conflict diamonds. 


At Jay F. Jeweler we are proud to source natural diamonds from vendors that are associated with The Kimberley Process and certified members of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC).

 

 

The Kimberley Process (KP) is a multilateral trade regime established in 2003 with the goal of preventing the flow of conflict diamonds. The core of this regime is the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) under which States implement safeguards on shipments of rough diamonds and certify them as ‘conflict free’.”

https://www.kimberleyprocess.com/en/what-kp

 

The Kimberely Process and the United Nations Security Council have worked to regulate the rough diamond trade, eliminate conflict diamonds from the global market, and promote the trade of ethical diamonds. By working with vendors that follow The Kimberley Process, Jay F. Jeweler is contributing to the UN 2030 Agenda of 17 Sustainable Development Goals through ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity in countries where diamonds are mined. Creating a new custom piece of diamond jewelry with Jay F. Jeweler ensures that the natural diamonds you purchase are of the highest quality and are contributing to a more ethical and sustainable jewelry industry. 


The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) is an organization focused on improving the transparency, accountability, and integrity of the jewelry industry through certifications and sustainability initiatives. RJC has been creating multi stakeholder frameworks to improve the environmental and ethical impacts of the jewelry supply chain since 2005. They are currently working with the United Nations to pursue a decade of action to accelerate the adoption and success of the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. 

 

Graphic Created by Responsible Jewellery Council



Consumers are increasingly demanding transparency from their jewelers and want to know their diamonds are responsibly sourced. In some cases, customers are preferring to purchase lab-created diamonds that are chemically structured the same as a natural, mined diamond. These diamonds are grown under controlled conditions and maintain the same physical properties as natural, mined diamonds. Because lab-created diamonds are not sourced from mineral deposits, they do not require the large overhead costs of mining operations and can be continuously produced. These factors help make lab-created diamonds significantly less expensive compared to natural diamonds formed in the earth.


Lab-created diamonds have also been associated with a shift towards sustainability in the jewelry industry. Because lab-created diamonds are grown in a laboratory, the environmental degradation and hazardous waste that has been associated with mined gemstones is not involved. That is not to say lab-created gemstones are carbon neutral. There is still an incredible amount of energy and materials that are needed to create the correct environment for gemstones to grow in a laboratory. The carbon emissions vary greatly between different laboratories growing diamonds. The energy source for the laboratory plays a large role in the environmental impact of lab-grown diamonds. However, if you are looking to purchase a new diamond, choosing a lab-created diamond can have a lot of appeal from a price point perspective and is generally believed to be more sustainable. 


Scientific research papers are starting to focus on the life cycle assessment of lab grown diamonds vs. mined diamonds and the papers are preliminary, but very interesting! The largest diamond mining corporations have also released research comparing the two industry rivals and their carbon footprints. I believe in the next 5-10 years we will see more transparency in the materials and emissions from laboratories growing diamonds and more environmental stewardship policies being enacted at diamond mines. Until then, a broad comparison of the carbon footprint of the two diamond sourcing options is difficult to make.


Ultimately, you won’t go wrong with either diamond option at Jay F. Jeweler. Our natural diamonds are sourced by vendors with the top certifications in the industry that focus on eliminating conflict diamonds from the global supply chain, improving the working conditions of mining employees and promoting the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals in every sector of the jewelry industry. Our lab-created diamonds offer an alternative to natural diamonds that deliver the same sentiments of love, acceptance and commitment as natural diamonds, but are created outside a mine. 




Additional Reading Resources:

  1. https://www.uvm.edu/~shali/Synthetic_Diamonds_Mined_Diamonds.pdf
  2. https://research.chalmers.se/en/publication/510513
  3. https://www.responsiblejewellery.com/wp-content/uploads/RJC_Progress-Report_May-2020.pdf
  4. https://www.kimberleyprocess.com/en/kp-action
  5. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/mar/10/diamonds-lab-grown-climate-change
    1. Written by former employee of the diamond mining industry who now works for the lab-created diamond industry
  6. https://www.voguebusiness.com/technology/mined-diamonds-environmentally-friendly-debeers-dpa
    1. Reaction to study released by diamond mining corporations listed below
  7. https://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/documents/the-socioeconomic-and-environmental-impact-of-large-scale-diamond-mining_dpa_02-may-2019.pdf
    1. Study funded by the largest diamond mining companies in the world

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