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June 22, 2022

Diamonds in the sky – How our diamonds are born

Becky Waldron

Guilt-free gems are on the rise. While beautiful jewellery is a gift treasured by many, the materials that make-up our favourite signature pieces should always be made with kindness to planet and people. The diamond has long been the symbol of beauty, glamour and love – however, it has also been wrapped up in conflict and exploitation.

There’s an ethically conscious movement happening, and diamonds are a part of it. People are increasingly gravitating towards eco-friendly and socially moral products and brands.

The founder of Skydiamond, Dale Vince OBE, is always aspiring for more sustainable way of doing things. While the luxury goods business began as a way to lock up excessive atmospheric CO2 in its most durable form (a diamond), it simultaneously fulfilled this desire – and need – for more ethical products.

A loose diamond sourced from the sky is one that is free from harm. A world-first of its kind, Skydiamond is changing the way we go about diamond mining. With our sky diamonds, you can find the perfect loose diamond for an engagement ring, heirloom necklace, or statement earrings.

The process: From carbon dioxide to a perfectly pure loose diamond

Curious to find out more about what exactly a sky diamond is and how it’s made? The entire process takes place on site in our sky mining facility, or Diamond Mills, in the Cotswolds.

Skydiamond-Blog-Imagery--June-2022-01

See more about our process, carbon capture and our commitment to sustainability below.

  1. We extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, as a gas.

  2. We liquify and purify the CO2.

  3. We split water using electrolysis to make oxygen and hydrogen.

  4. We use the CO2 and the H2 to make methane.

  5. We feed this into our Diamond Mill (CVD reactor).

  6. Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) is a technique by which diamonds can be grown from a hydrocarbon gas mixture. In the CVD process, a thin slice of diamond seed is placed in a sealed chamber and heated. The chamber is then filled with a carbon-rich gas (usually methane) along with other gases. Then, the gases are ionized into plasma using microwaves. The ionization breaks the molecular bonds in the gases and the pure carbon adheres to the diamond seed and slowly builds up into a crystal, atom by atom, layer by layer.

  7. We grow our diamonds in balls of plasma running at temperatures between 900-1200°C.

  8. This is a high temperature, low pressure process.

  9. It is powered by wind and solar energy from Ecotricity.

  10. It takes approximately 14 days to grow our diamonds in the Diamond Mill.

  11. We have global patents and trademarks on the process.

  12. We send our diamonds to be cut for our selection of cuts including emerald cuts, marquise, round, oval, heart shaped and more.

What is a diamond seed?

Our diamond seeds come in different sizes and are essentially slithers of diamond. The diamond seed grows into a structurally perfect diamond.

Resources

An important part of the diamond creation process is the resources used to help the rough diamond become a pure jewel. The resources we use are especially significant in this context, as an entirely sustainable and ethical diamond company.

Traditional diamond mining is incredibly energy-intensive and not only consumes a vast amount of water, but pollutes surrounding water supplies, too. This practice emits high levels of carbon dioxide, which, alongside intrusive land-mining processes, makes it planet unfriendly and unsustainable.

At Skydiamond, it is in line with our vision to make sure every process our loose diamonds undergo is one that can last.

Water

Water is an integral ingredient in growing a diamond. We have a rainwater harvesting system. The water we collect this way goes through a filtration process to make it as clean as possible.

Energy

Cloud-sourced diamonds need a fair amount of energy to transform from cloud to gem. Luckily, everything on site is certified 100% deep green energy, powered by Dale Vince’s Ecotricity. Our green Diamond Mills ensure that our carbon footprint is as low as it can be.

Carbon

A diamond’s main ingredient is carbon. To grow a diamond, as opposed to mining it from the earth, a supply of carbon is essential. We capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, turning something harmful – CO2 – into something beautiful, our loose diamonds.

Carbon capture

Skydiamond was born out of a want to take carbon dioxide from the air and repurpose it into something positive and everlasting. That’s why the carbon capture component of Skydiamond is such a valuable part of what we do – we want our gems to help change the world for the better.

Our carbon capture machine is a bit like a jet engine. There’s a large fan on the front and a mesh grill on the back. The fan pulls air through, capturing carbon dioxide in the catalyst box – a bit like a catalytic converter. While oxygen and nitrogen molecules can escape, the CO2 molecules are trapped.

This runs for approximately three hours until the catalyst is saturated with carbon dioxide. Once fully saturated, the machine seals off the catalyst and, through a heat exchange process, the CO2 is released and stored in a bag-like container. The CO2 will then go through a process to make it food-grade.

Utilising excess CO2

In the true Skydiamond way, we want to be innovative and pragmatic with all our resources – not wasting anything we don’t have to. Because we often have a surplus of food-grade carbon dioxide, we are now using this captured CO2, to power the beer pumps at Forest Green Rovers Football Club – the world’s greenest football club. This will keep us busy for now, but we’ll always be looking for ways to best utilise our CO2 as we grow.

What’s next for our diamonds?...

An adventurous and ambitious project, our jewels are now the only diamonds in the world that are created through carbon capture, sourced from the clouds, powered by deep green energy and free from harm.

Production is only set to grow as demand for these luxurious loose diamonds do. Continual improvement is the goal, and it’s one that’s being achieved. Currently, we send our loose diamonds to be cut and polished elsewhere, but we hope to take this in-house sometime soon.

Alongside exploring coloured diamonds, we’re also working on sourcing the pairing materials to make our loose diamonds into complete pieces of jewellery. Of course, any silver, gold or other materials we use will be 100% recycled, while remaining the highest of quality.

Sky diamonds have nothing to hide

We take delight in giving our diamond devotees insight into how exactly our diamond mining process works. A diamond should leave no one at a disadvantage, giving people the beautiful gems they adore, and not contributing to the environmental and social issues that surround traditional diamonds.

At Skydiamond, our diamonds really are forever. We continuously create beautiful jewels that only take excess CO2 from the planet, and not any of its valuable resources. Our ethical diamonds are redefining the diamond trade. Why not take a look at our range? We have nothing to hide.

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