The diamond industry has profited off of a century’s worth of environmental destruction, human exploitation, and even blood diamond wars. The continent of Africa, specifically the countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Republic of Congo, Angola, Côte d’Ivoire, the Central Africa Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo have all been significantly impacted by diamond-related conflicts.
More awareness about these issues have emerged within the last 20 years, with the political war thriller ‘Blood Diamond’ starring Leonardo DiCaprio premiering in 2006 being a large platform that brought these environmental and humanitarian issues to light. The rising popularity of lab-grown diamonds has changed the narrative of the diamond industry and has positively impacted the highlighted nations and the entire continent of Africa.
Buying a lab-grown allows you to be 100% sure of your diamond’s origin. Many individuals who purchase mined diamonds are unaware of where their diamond came from, and whether or not they had been touched by cruel and conflicting processes. On the other hand however, with a lab-made gem there is no question about your diamond’s origin. Not only is there an ethical standard that lab-grown diamonds hold, but they are also considered as an eco-friendly alternative.
As written by Africa.com, “The African environment can benefit greatly by increased demand for grown diamonds as they do not result in erosion water and soil contamination, loss of biodiversity, and the creation of sinkholes whatsoever”. The skyrocketing popularity of lab-growns has even influenced the legal definition of a diamond which is determined by the Federal Trade Commission. It no longer includes the word “natural” since lab-growns are chemically, physically, and structurally identical to mined diamonds and are therefore considered diamonds as well.
While the idea of lab-growns replacing diamond mining is highly unlikely, it is still a step in the right direction for seeking out a sustainable alternative that benefits those who were once harmed by its unethical methods.