They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend; we can’t deny this. Diamonds, for years, have been used as a way to express love, friendship, and luxury.
The opulent gem is most often seen in our jewelry, with the bigger gems catching higher price tags. But what we often don’t know is where these diamonds come from.
And no, they don’t magically appear in jewelry stores.
They are mined.
Mined diamonds come at a great cost to the environment and the surrounding community. The process involves extremely dangerous open-pit and underground mining, where forced labor and insufficient working conditions are often the case.
The 2006 political war thriller Blood Diamond brought to light the fact that many diamonds are considered “conflict diamonds.” These conflict diamonds are those that are mined in areas of conflict and sold to finance war.
Furthermore, mined diamonds are hugely detrimental to land and the environment. According to Clean Origin, for every carat of diamond that is mined, nearly 100 sq. ft. of land is disturbed and almost 6,000lbs of mineral waste is created. This leads to deforestation, waste of proper farmland, as well as soil erosion.
Drilling operations that are conducted on bodies of water also greatly affect wildlife and ecosystems, damaging them beyond repair.
Consumers would never guess that the perfectly cut, glittering diamonds in jewelry stores could come from such dark backgrounds.
So, what can we do about this?
The answer is to trust in our purchasing power.
Instead of buying into mined diamonds, it would be more ethically and environmentally sound to purchase lab-grown diamonds. These kinds of gems are identically the same in both physicality and chemical structure, with the only difference being that mined diamonds are sourced from the ground.
They’re completely manufactured in the laboratory, in complicated processes that mimic the natural process of diamond formation. In the end, the diamonds that are “lab-grown” are wholly same as the ones extracted from the earth.
Yet, lab-grown diamonds don’t disturb any land, are significantly cheaper than mined diamonds (due to a shorter supply chain), and are free of accident or injury since miners are not included in its making.
It’s clear that lab-grown diamonds are a better choice for more conscious consumers.
If you’re looking to buy a diamond for a loved one, or just plain treat yourself to fancy jewelry, be sure to ask first where exactly the diamond came from.
Like with clothes and the fast fashion industry, ensuring your money goes to ethically sourced products makes a big statement to companies who continue such practices.