In an era where consumers are getting more environmentally conscious, guilt of buying mined diamonds persists in the subconscious. Though it was known that Lab-grown diamonds provide a sustainable choice, there have been some apprehensions raised about the eco-friendly claims of Lab-grown diamonds primarily on account of lack of any in-depth research study on the subject.
The environmental impact of mined diamonds have at least been studied to some extent but the same for Lab-grown diamonds was missing. Frost & Sullivan, a global research and consulting firm, carried out an extensive environmental impact assessment for both mined diamonds and Lab-grown diamonds and recently published a report “Environmental Impact Analysis – Production of Rough Diamonds”.
The report highlights that apart from the traditional 4Cs of diamonds, 2 new – ‘Conscience’ and ‘Carbon’ are being considered by buyers as they become more aware. For mined diamonds, the environmental damage starts from the exploration phase itself and intensifies during extraction phase where heavy machineries, explosives, hydraulic shovels, trucks etc. are used depending on a suitable mining method. For Lab-grown diamonds, however, they are grown under sustainable conditions above earth in ‘diamond-growing greenhouses’.
Various environmental parameters including carbon emissions, water usage, energy usage, waste generated, land disturbed etc. have been considered for the study. But the study does not limit itself to only environmental impact but also considers some ‘Human Impact’ factors.
This relative comparison clearly indicates the immense environmentally detrimental impact mined diamond causes vis-à-vis Lab-grown diamonds. 1 carat of mined diamond causes 1.5 billion times air emissions than that by 1 carat of Lab-grown diamond.
To benchmark the overall impact caused by both Mined diamonds and Lab-growns, the study assigned weights to various parameters using Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) framework – multi-criteria decision-making approach, and found the below rating results.
Mined diamonds’ overall impact is more than 7 times than that of Lab-grown diamonds.
Frost & Sullivan study has clearly established that Lab-grown diamonds are indeed eco-friendly and helps restore balance to biodiversity and environment. Till the time, the ratio of environmental impact by Mined diamonds to that of Lab-grown reverses, Lab-grown diamonds remains the only sustainable choice for consumers.