Eco-friendly, sustainable jewelry is very popular in today’s conscientious society, and that often means turning to artificial, lab-grown diamonds that do not require destructive mining techniques or other harmful practices. Not all lab-created gems are as eco-friendly as they may be purported, however, and concerned consumers should learn all they can about artificial stones before choosing the best options for engagement rings and other jewelry. CVD or lab grown diamonds are one of the newer and more popular options, but how do they measure up against natural diamonds?
What You Need To Know--
What Are Lab Grown Diamonds?
In chemical vapor deposition, a carbon-rich gas is broken down in a vacuum chamber and bombarded with lasers or microwaves. A seed crystal in the chamber is used as a base for a new crystal to grow from the dissociated carbon atoms, and as those atoms accumulate, they create an identical crystalline and chemical structure to natural diamond. That rough diamond can then be cut and polished into a fine gemstone, just like a natural stone mined from the earth.
Pros of lab Grown Diamonds
A newer technique for creating diamonds, chemical vapor deposition (CVD) or lab grown diamond is an increasingly popular choice for synthetic diamonds. While the technique was first developed in the 1980s, improved methods and technologies have made it more prominent in the past decade, and more options are available for high-quality CVD diamonds in different types of jewelry.
• Lab Grown Price
Compared to other artificial diamond creation techniques, lab grown diamonds are easier and less expensive, and can yield larger stones in shorter periods. Depending on the initial gas used in the process, the resulting stones may be colorless or could be popular fancy colors such as pink, yellow, or blue. Overall, the cost of a lab grown diamond may be as much as 15-30 percent lower than a natural stone of similar size and quality, and there is no destructive mining or earth disruption to create the artificial stone.
Cons of Lab Grown Diamonds
• Ethical and Eco-Friendly
Lab grown diamonds aren’t quite as eco-friendly as they may seem, however. While it is true that no mining is necessary to create a CVD diamond, the technique does require prolonged periods of high temperature and pressure to break down the gas and grow the stone. This manufacturing process requires a great deal of electricity, which largely comes from coal and natural gas plants, leading to the greenhouse gasses and air pollution typical of that energy production. In fact, CVD diamond manufacturing may produce as much as triple the amount of greenhouse gasses as standard mining techniques.
• Social Impact
Furthermore, there are other socioeconomic concerns about lab grown diamonds compared to naturally mined stones. While artificial diamond manufacturing facilities do create local jobs and improve the economy, those jobs are highly skilled and much of the process is automated, so the direct economic impact to the surrounding community may be minimal. In areas where natural diamonds are mined, however, many more jobs are created, often for less developed communities that can benefit much more dramatically from the presence of the mining work. More responsible mining techniques have been developed, and while there is an environmental impact from mining diamonds, many mining companies are dedicated to restoring the environment in the areas where they have worked, helping minimize any negative impact.
Other social impacts that consumers must consider when comparing natural versus artificial stones are the policies of each company involved in the process. What political motivations do different companies hold, and what charities are they known to support? How are their employees treated, and what opportunities does the company provide for advancement or diverse employment? In today’s socially conscious society, these are all concerns that a consumer may need to consider before purchasing a diamond to represent their most intimate emotions and relationships, as well as their personal style and values.
Resale Market for Lab Grown Diamonds
Ironically, there is very little resale market for lab grown diamonds, and consumers interested in vintage, antique, or estate jewelry pieces overwhelmingly prefer natural stones. This should be another consideration for consumers comparing natural and lab grown diamonds, particularly if the stone may be reset or resold in the future. Lab grown diamonds are unlike to appreciate in value as significantly as natural stones, and may not be as good of an investment in the jewelry market.
Vintage engagement rings have a rich history all their own, having been passed through different generations, relationships, and love stories. Each ring was originally designed and expertly handmade by artisans of their time, from the bold, geometric designs of the Art Deco era to the gentle, precise designs of the Edwardian era to the delicate, romantic designs of the Victorian era. Each vintage ring has its own distinct look from its respective era and cannot be produced today by present day jewelers.
The Most Sustainable Diamonds of All
Choosing a diamond can be a monumental decision, particularly for an engagement ring, wedding ring, or other significant piece. By being aware of the full story behind artificial stones such as lab grown diamonds, it is easier to compare how synthetic techniques measure up to naturally mined stones, and consumers can make the choices they are most comfortable with for those very special jewelry pieces.
Ultimately, the most sustainable and environmentally-friendly diamonds of all are vintage and antique stones. Reusing a vintage piece means no new mining or environmental damage is necessary to enjoy the jewelry, making it the ultimate in sustainable recycling and responsible jewelry ownership with minimal harmful impact.
Vintage Rings For Everyone:
No matter which gemstone is your favorite, these time-honored gemstone have a rich history and individualized character and will continue to have a timeless beauty and elegant appeal that is part of a legacy to pass on to future generations.
Find The Perfect Engagement Ring:
Antique rings are prized not only for their beauty but also for their exquisite attention to detailing and design. If you’re looking for a ring with a sense of glamour, sophistication and vintage charm, explore our collection of vintage engagement rings today!