All you need to know about sustainable diamondsBecky Waldron
The word sustainable has gained so much attention over the last decade or so, and for good reason. As our world changes, we’ve had to adapt our lifestyles. This doesn’t have to mean giving up the good things – we just have to be more creative about how we indulge in luxury items.
That’s why we created our sustainable diamonds; to keep giving people the most adored and precious jewels they love, but without the harm.
As the creators of the world’s only carbon negative diamond, we are delving into what sustainable diamonds actually are, and how to choose the perfect ethical jewel for yourself or the ones you love.
What are sustainable diamonds?
‘Sustainable’ refers to something that can be maintained – a common need in our world today.
The diamond industry has long used practices that can’t continue. From the damage it causes to the environment to the harm it causes to the people, workers and communities involved, diamond mining and its market are not long term solutions.
Sustainable diamonds are ethically sourced jewels; free from conflict. They are also environmentally friendly, not mining – or harming – the earth to get them. This means that they must be sourced or created through other measures like growing them in a laboratory or mining them from the sky.
How are sustainable diamonds different to other diamonds?
You may have spotted that we mentioned things like ‘harm’ and ‘conflict free’ in relation to sustainable diamonds.
That's because traditional diamonds come with a high price for people and planet.
Diamonds have a long history of being responsible for conflict in regions where they’re mined, funding wars and corrupting local communities.
The sustainable diamond movement is changing that. When diamonds are created in a laboratory or mined from the sky, the ethical and regulated processes wave goodbye to these harmful social risks.
Want to know more about blood diamonds? Read our blog here.
The environmental aspect also plays a big role in whether or not a diamond is sustainable.
The process of extracting diamonds from the ground is very intensive. Diamond miners will dig thousands of feet into the ground to get these jewels – destroying the earth. It’s not just the area where this digging happens that’s affected, but:
diamond mining contaminates soils across a large area;
pollutes surrounding rivers due to sediment run-off;
and destroys biodiversity in the process.
Diamond mining also uses a lot of fuel for both exploration and mining purposes, emitting a large amount of CO2 in the process – around 108kg of CO2 per carat. And considering that around 116 million carats were mined in 2021 (a much lower number than previous years), you can begin to understand how polluting diamond mining really is.
Find out more about the environmental impacts of diamond mining in Imperial College London Consultants report.
Types of sustainable diamonds
There are different kinds of diamonds that can be classified as sustainable diamonds. These are lab-grown diamonds and recycled diamonds. And, more recently, Skydiamond’s own sky mined diamonds.
Lab-grown diamonds: These diamonds are made by replicating the process in which natural diamonds are formed deep below the ground. They have identical physical properties to ‘natural’ diamonds. Although lab grown diamonds are more sustainable, you still need to be wary as this process is very energy intensive. Sustainable lab grown diamonds must be created with environmentally conscious processes.
Recycled diamonds: These are diamonds that have already been extracted from the earth, cut and so on, and have been owned by someone before. Recycled diamonds re-enter the supply chain through jewellers or agents, ready to be adored again.
Sky mined: It’s a new concept that Skydiamond have created. Our sustainable diamonds are made from the sky. Through carbon capture technology, our Diamond Mills absorb atmospheric CO2 and turn it into a pure diamond. This process puts the air back cleaner than we found it. And, making it even more sustainable, our Diamond Mills are powered by green energy – supplied by Ecotricity.
Debunking the myths
Many people ask, ‘Are lab-grown diamonds real?’, the answer is yes. Lab-grown diamonds and other kinds of sustainable diamonds are all real diamonds and not synthetic diamonds.
By ‘real’ diamonds, we mean that they are structurally, anatomically and chemically identical to diamonds mined from the earth. The difference? Lab-grown diamonds are much less socially and environmentally harmful.
In terms of the validity of a diamond, you can be sure that whenever you buy a lab-grown diamond or a sky mined diamond, that it is as real as it is beautiful.
How to know whether the diamond your buying is sustainable
Finding out whether a diamond is sustainable means being inquisitive; not just taking a brand’s claims at face value. Dig a bit deeper into a brand’s ethos, history, and evidence of this title.
As mentioned, a lab-grown diamond, for example, is not synonymous with being more sustainable. What processes are brands using to produce their diamonds? Are these processes environmentally damaging, or are they eco-friendly?
A brand's sourcing and supply chain information is also indicative of how sustainable they are. Are they participating in working practices that can sustain employees for the long term?
Some brands are more transparent than others, so in this case, honest information might be easy to find – this is also a good sign that the brand is truly sustainable.
The world’s only sustainable diamond
Mined from the sky to protect the earth, Skydiamond is the most sustainable diamond brand. It’s not just sourcing our diamonds from the skies that make us sustainable, but our use of captured rain, and our solar-powered Diamond Mills.
From the start, Skydiamond’s objective has been to work in harmony with nature. We hope that our approach will inspire others to come up with inventive ways of addressing the climate crisis, helping create another way to live.
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