Concerns surrounding the ethics of mining for stones, as well as oversupply and economic uncertainty, have caused disruption in the natural diamond industry in recent years. Globally, more than 130 million carats of rough diamonds are mined for jewellery every year, often under conditions that exploit workers and violate human rights. Add this to the fact that many lab-grown stones cost between 30 and 40 per cent less than their natural counterparts, and it’s not difficult to see the appeal.
It’s only in recent years, though, that technology has advanced enough to make the high-quality diamonds needed for fine jewellery. For Warch, the breakthrough couldn’t come soon enough, ‘everything that’s going on in the mines, from blood diamonds to child labour, is shocking.’
The Kimberley Process — an international certification scheme that regulates trade — has gone some way to cleaning up the industry by removing conflict diamonds from the supply chain, but for Chavez, it doesn’t solve the problem. ‘I think the mined diamond industry has made some progress, and it’s mainly because people have demanded it,’ she says. ‘But I think that if we have the possibility to grow diamonds, it makes no sense to keep mining for them.’
A lot of people are now valuing the fact that they can buy a diamond that was grown without harming anyone, without having to mine, that’s conflict-free. Values, and what we’re looking for as consumers, are changing.’ By all means, say it with diamonds — but these days, the true sparklers are man-made, not mined.
Source : Evening Standard