lABORATORY GROWN DIAMONDS
Sustainably created without displacing land, wildlife or communities.
Earth-Mined vs. Lab-Grown: The Science Behind Diamonds
What is a diamond?
Diamonds are carbon atoms formed in a cubic crystal structure. They are formed naturally at extreme temperatures and pressures within the earth’s mantle and then pushed to the surface during deep volcanic eruptions. This is where the traditional mining process begins, which not only causes air and water pollution but also requires intensive labour. This labour poses a risk to human health and can cause human rights violations in less regulated mines.
So, what if there was a way to produce diamonds that would be kinder for the planet and its people?
Introducing lab-grown diamonds: a modern technology that allows us to replicate the process of natural diamond formation within a lab. This is done through two different processes: HPHT (High Temperature, High Pressure) and CVD (Chemical Vapour Deposition).
The Lab Diamond Growth Process: Explained
1 of 3
High-Pressure, High-TemperatureThis process uses a small apparatus to mimic the environment that a mined diamond undergoes beneath the Earth’s surface. Temperatures exceeding 1,300 degrees Celsius and 50,000 atmospheres of pressures are applied to a carbon source, which then turn carbon atoms into a rough diamond crystal.
2 of 3
Chemical Vapour DepositionA diamond seed is placed into a CVD chamber. Hydrocarbon gas is introduced into the chamber along with electrical energy in order to create a plasma globe. As the gases' molecular bonds begin to break down, the pure carbon attaches itself to the diamond seed, forming atomic bonds, so that the seed begins to form into a much larger rough diamond.
3 of 3
The End Result?Both processes create a rough diamond that is chemically the same as an earth-mined diamond - without the ethical and environmental price tag. In fact, after the polishing process, jewellers, gemologists, and scientists can not tell the difference between earth-mined diamonds and lab-grown, and they are still graded in exactly the same way. Every time the lab-grown process finishes, a new unique diamond is created, which is then polished and cut with its own clarity characteristics.
A Sustainable Future
Why have we chosen Lab-Grown Diamonds?
At Fyne, we pledge to act sustainably, responsibly, and ethically - in the best interests of our planet and its communities. Our choice to use sustainable lab-grown diamonds is an essential part of our vow to the earth, and this is what makes them even more beautiful than their natural counterparts. What’s more, lab-diamonds offer a progressive and innovative alternative to the traditional market. Because it's a relatively new industry, the technology is constantly evolving and changing to make way for even better practices.
By choosing to use lab-grown diamonds, we can ensure our customers have the best, while we do the best to ensure sustainable processes.
Some of the ‘sustainable’ benefits of choosing a lab-grown diamond are:
The supply chain is both shorter and more transparent
Earth-mined diamonds are harvested in a long and obscure process that requires them to pass through many hands. This puts more of a burden on the planet (producing more carbon emissions) and makes diamonds expensive. Because the supply chain is shorter, lab-grown diamonds are a cheaper and more planet-friendly alternative that still guarantees the same quality. After all, diamonds shouldn't cost the earth...
They are ethical and ensure greater protection of human rights
The earth-mined diamond industry has a reputation for its unethical and shady practices. Typically, this can be issues such as slave labour, child labour, low wages, or community displacement to make way for mines. For example, have you ever heard of ‘blood diamonds’? These are diamonds mined in conflict zones, with oppressive work conditions, to fund the crimes of rebel movements in the region. The Kimberley Process was brought in to prevent these types of situations from occurring, however, its narrow wording and inconsistent application have left a lot to be desired.
In addition, accidents and other health hazards are commonplace in diamond mines. Workers are at risk of mine explosions, and other on-site risks, as well as exposure to pollution and toxins which can increase the risk of cancer, among other illnesses.
In contrast, lab-grown diamonds have zero impact on human life, as the lab ‘diamond growing process necessitates maintaining a clean room environment’. This results in ‘no life or occupational hazards to employees’.
The technology used is sustainable and environmentally-friendly
Mining earth diamonds requires a huge amount of fossil fuel and water, putting unnecessary pressure on the planet. In addition, the emissions produced from the traditional mining process cause both air pollution and groundwater pollution. In parts of Africa, where fresh water is scarce, this is a huge problem.
Take the ‘Marange Diamond Fields’ in Zimbabwe. Here, toxic waste (from the diamond mine) was being disposed of in the nearby river. This caused widespread damage such as biodiversity loss, crop damage, soil contamination, as well as health risks to workers as a result of exposure to toxins. This is just one of the many examples that showcase how unsustainable the traditional diamond mining process can be.
A Lab-Grown Solution.
Why have we chosen Lab-Grown Diamonds?
Lab-grown diamonds offer a sustainable, conflict-free, and eco-friendly solution. As technology evolves, the processes are only becoming more sustainable, with many suppliers using renewable energy. In fact, Diamond Foundry (one of our suppliers) can already proudly declare that they have a zero-carbon footprint!
By working with companies that are consciously reducing their carbon footprint, we are paving the way for future generations to think differently, live boldly, and redefine luxury.
Learn more about our sustainability values below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a lab grown diamond?
A lab grown diamond is a diamond that is created through a controlled man made process, rather than a gemmological process beneath the earth’s surface. Lab grown diamonds have the same physical, chemical and aesthetic structures as mined diamonds.
Is there a chemical difference between a lab grown diamonds and a diamond mined from the Earth?
Put simply, no - there is no chemical or aesthetic difference between lab grown diamonds and ones mined from the Earth.
Gemmological labs (e.g. GIA, IGI, or HRD) can use very advanced and expensive machinery to spot slight differences in growth structures due to the respective environments of each diamond's formation process. This is like comparing DnA of two different individuals – each will have unique characteristics but still be made up the same chemical elements.
Are there other names for lab grown diamonds?
A lab grown diamond is the most widely used term to describe diamonds that are grown with science and human intervention.
Other names include man made diamonds, lab created diamonds, above ground diamonds, cultivated and cultured diamonds.
What is the difference between a lab grown diamond and cubic zirconia or moissanite?
Cubic zirconia is a simulant – it is made to look like a diamond but it’s chemical, optical and physical properties are not the same as a diamond. It is less durable and has less brilliance than a mined and lab grown diamond.
Moissanite is also a simulant or imitation, and is rarely found in nature so most moissanite is man made - it is the second hardest material after diamonds. Moissanite also refracts light differently, so its sparkle can look quite colourful – almost like a rainbow effect. In terms of price, moissanite is significantly cheaper than lab grown and mined diamonds.