Diamonds That Tell Your Story
January 10, 2023

Natural vs. Lab Grown Diamonds

Natural diamonds are diamonds that are formed over millions of years deep within the Earth's mantle. These diamonds are extracted from the earth and cut and polished for use in jewelry. For over a hundred years diamonds have been the symbol of love, not only for couples getting married, but for for expressions of love between family members.

The mining of natural diamonds can have significant social, economic, and environmental impacts.

Many of the impacts are good for the countries that mine diamonds.

Take Botswana for example:

The diamond industry is crucial to the economy of Botswana. It is the largest contributor to the country's gross domestic product (GDP) and accounts for over 80% of its export earnings. The diamond industry provides jobs for over 15% of the country's population and is a major source of foreign exchange.

Additionally, the diamond industry is a significant contributor to the government's revenue, providing funding for essential services such as healthcare and education. The success of the diamond industry has also enabled the government to invest in infrastructure and other development projects, helping to drive economic growth and improve the standard of living for the people of Botswana.

Moreover, the diamond industry has played a key role in the country's political and social stability. The government's revenue from the diamond industry has allowed it to maintain a strong social safety net and provide support to vulnerable populations. Additionally, the diamond industry has helped to foster a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation, leading to the growth of other sectors such as tourism and manufacturing.

Some of the impacts of diamond mining bring up other issues.

Social issues associated with diamond mining include:

  • Displacement of local communities: In some cases, mining operations can lead to the displacement of indigenous or local communities, disrupting their traditional way of life and social structures.
  • Labor abuses: The diamond mining industry has been criticized for labor abuses, including the use of child labor and exploitation of workers.
  • Conflict diamonds: The trade in diamonds has been linked to conflict and violence in some countries, with rebel groups using diamonds to finance their operations.

Economic issues associated with diamond mining include:

  • High capital costs: The upfront costs of starting a diamond mining operation can be significant, requiring large amounts of capital investment.
  • Fluctuating diamond prices: The price of diamonds can fluctuate significantly, making it difficult for mining companies to plan and budget for their operations.
  • Limited employment opportunities: Diamond mining operations often employ a small number of workers, leading to limited job opportunities in the surrounding area.

Environmental issues associated with diamond mining include:

  • Land degradation: Mining operations can lead to land degradation, including the loss of vegetation and soil erosion.
  • Water pollution: The use of chemicals in diamond mining can lead to water pollution, impacting local aquatic ecosystems.
  • Carbon emissions: Diamond mining operations can generate significant carbon emissions, contributing to climate change.

Lab grown diamonds, on the other hand, are diamonds that are created in a laboratory using advanced technology. These diamonds are chemically, physically, and optically identical to natural diamonds, but are created in a much shorter time frame and are often more affordable.

The growing of diamond crystals come with their own social economic and environmental issues.

Social issues: Laboratory grown diamonds may face consumer skepticism and negative perceptions, leading to potential challenges in market acceptance and sales.

Economic issues: The production of laboratory grown diamonds requires significant investments in technology and infrastructure, which may impact the profitability of the industry. Since the technology to grow diamonds has produced gem quality rough material, the industry is relatively immature which could impact the long-term stability of pricing, which would lead to price decreases until the market reaches a certain level of price stability.

Environmental issues: The production of laboratory grown diamonds may result in the emission of greenhouse gases and the use of large amounts of energy, leading to potential negative impacts on the environment. Additionally, the disposal of waste materials generated during the production process may also pose environmental concerns. Many diamond growing operations have resourced their energy usage to either renewable resources or by purchasing offsets to their carbon emissions.

Return To Insights & News