Though accounting for less than 2% of the global jewelry market, some lab-grown diamonds have achieved ‘Type IIa’ quality, a grade given to the purest form of diamonds and which comprise of only 2% of the total diamond production. These ‘cultured’ diamonds are 100% conflict free and environment friendly unlike their mined equivalents.
According to a research carried out by a Stanford University graduate, lab-grown diamonds save auto emissions of around 483 million miles equivalent, while mined diamonds produce 5 times the carbon dioxide emissions than lab-grown diamonds. Deluxe Diamonds, the first company to open lab-grown diamond operations in UK, assures that lab-growns produce half the carbon footprint than mined ones.
Though the fact that Lab-grown diamonds provide a sustainable future is undisputable, there are factors especially in the mined diamond community who still propagate the possibility of improving the conditions of local mining communities, human rights and environment issues. Tiffany’s CEO Michael Kowalski agrees that it is in industry’s best interest to insist on more responsible mining practices.
As per the Global Diamond Report 2013, rough diamond production will reach 169m carat in 2018 and will drop to 153m carat in 2023 but the demand between 2018 and 2023 is expected to exceed supply. Deluxe Diamonds founder Johanna O’Brien said that when there will be shortage of mined diamonds, their prices will be out of reach of an average consumer and the lab-grown industry will pick up.
Source: Stringer, L. (2014) “Are Lab-Grown gems the key to a sustainable diamond trade?”, The Guardian, Guardian News and Media Limited