Everything you need to know about 100% Ethical and Personal Diamonds
If you could have a diamond grown for your engagement ring from your own personal source of carbon, or another source of your choosing that represents your love and your life would you be intrigued?
What if it was 100% ethical and a much more environmentally friendly option?
Well this is a technology that is available to us all now and is the next step in the future of ethical diamonds and jewellery.
In the last few years we are lucky to have witnessed some of the most interesting and innovative products and businesses come to the forefront that provide us with alternatives to the previous unethical and environmentally damaging things we have been consuming in the past. Although most industries are zooming forwards focusing on our future one industry is still pushing the idea that traditional is best, and this is the diamond industry.
Clever marketing has led us to believe that diamonds are rare even though there are millions in circulation already. Despite what we learnt from the movie Blood Diamond there are still many ethical issues with earth made diamonds and a lack of clarity on diamond origin upon purchasing. And then there are the environmental issues around mined diamonds, a hugely fossil fuel intensive act that displaces ecosystems. With this knowledge in mind is it time we took a step into the future of diamonds instead of holding on to tradition?
What is the future?
There are a few options for diamonds in the future. As there are already so many diamonds in circulation one option is to re-purpose those diamonds, this is by far the most environmentally friendly option however relies on people selling their diamonds instead of holding on to them. Another option is bulk lab grown diamonds that are made solely from generic carbon. This is done in different parts of the world and as with any purchase it is important to ask what lab your diamond has come from and check on their ethical and environmental impact. The final, and likely the most interesting option is lab grown diamonds from personal carbon. Again, the same cautions apply about checking on the ethical and environmental impact of the individual business you go through, however having control over the majority of the material that goes into your diamond makes for the most informed and unique diamond purchase available.
How do you grow a diamond?
All diamonds are formed from graphite, a crystalline form of carbon. Through huge amounts of heat and pressure within the Earth over a very long period of time this turns into a diamond which can be mined, cut and polished. What technology has provided us with is the ability to do this above ground in a lab, using your signature carbon, so a diamond that is grown from you. To do this you take the hair from two people and extract the signature carbon from this sample. Only a ½ cup of hair is needed to provide enough carbon for a diamond, which is analysed at the laboratory before the signature carbon is extracted. This is added to a growing foundation out of which a unique crystalline matrix will grow, and this is then placed in the core of an HPHT (high pressure high temperature) machine which recreates the diamond growing conditions, these are typically in excess of 2000⁰C and 60,000 atmospheres. Depending the on the carat and the colour that you have chosen the diamond will take weeks to months to grow before being removed as a rough diamond, polished and cut to your specifications not having hurt any people or animals in the process.
Are these real diamonds?
These diamonds have the exact same physical, chemical and optical properties as a mined diamond and are graded in the exact same way, it’s just this has been grown from you above ground. These diamonds come with certification showing the grading of your personal diamond and can be independently assessed.
Why are they personal, are they really vegan and how does this influence the ethical impact?
These diamonds are personal because you get to choose what your diamond looks like and what it is grown from. Most people choose to extract the signature carbon from the hair of two people in love, however many others have utilised fur from their pet/pets when they have been groomed, ashes from a loved one who has passed on and favourite flowers. Obviously if we are utilising hair, fur or ashes it does not make the diamond strictly vegan, however if we are happy to give up some of our own locks or utilise existing ashes then this is an alternative ethical option to using something synthetic, because we know exactly where that carbon has come from and the impact it has had.
What about the jewellery?
These diamonds can be set by an ethical jeweller who will source recycled and/or ethical metals for you. Many of these jewellers are already aware that these diamonds exist and will happily work with you to create the most ethical and personal engagement ring, wedding bands or another special piece for you.
How much does this cost?
Prices vary depending on the carat and colour you choose. Surprisingly white/colourless and blue diamonds are the hardest to produce so have a higher price tag. The smallest size you can get is 0.03 carat and the largest size available is a spectacular 2 carat. These technologically advanced personal diamonds can start at as little as $2270 for two mini diamonds, perfect for wedding bands and zoom right up to over $30,000.
Ultimately when we are choosing such a significant item to purchase that we plan on wearing until we are old and grey, we need to ensure that it’s going to last the distance; ideally that it’s interesting and has a story behind it; that it didn’t harm people, animals or the planet in order to be made; and that it represents something important. With this technology available that allows you to have a real diamond grown from your love and life, would you consider this instead of the traditional mined option?
About the writer:
Sarah Ellis runs Heart In Diamond Australia, the leader in personal and ethical lab grown diamonds. She is determined to change the way we purchase diamonds and has a strong personal pull to everything sustainable.
Although Heart In Diamond started with memorial diamonds, the number of people enquiring about engagement and wedding diamonds lead them to investigate this area and saw a need for diamonds that were very different to those found in the jewellery stores.