Just as with our clothes, there are more opportunities than ever to be sustainable and environmentally friendly when it comes to buying jewellery. While leading jewellery houses promote responsible mining, using known sources, recycled materials and certified mines, many labels are now choosing to use laboratory-grown diamonds rather than their natural counterparts, in an effort to have a more ethical and sustainable footprint.
The technology behind lab diamonds has made crucial advances in recent years, allowing companies to grow higher quality diamonds more rapidly and cheaper than before, subsequently increasing competition between lab-diamond and mined-diamond companies. The former’s gems are transforming the market, offering both improved pricing and transparency. And as a new generation of millennial customers move away from conventional diamonds, a lab- grown alternative is gaining traction.
Whether in the form of engagement rings or statement red-carpet jewels, lab-grown diamonds are elementally, physically and visually identical to a mined diamond, with their creators hoping to transform the industry.
A mined diamond usually exchanges hands 10 to 15 times before getting to its final owner, a chain which is now bypassed, offering more transparency on the diamond’s journey. This small slice of the $80 billion diamond industry appears to be broadening.
As to whether or not man-made diamonds can ever replace ‘the real thing’, opinions are mixed. There will always be a premium attached to mined gems, all truly fine jewellery and history’s great jewels have been made with mined diamonds, so they are unlikely to ever be dismissed entirely. But it’s undeniable that man-made diamonds are advancing the future of a very traditional industry, with an impact that cannot be undermined.