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Why Man-Made Diamonds are Not Eco-Friendly
As more people are making the choice to shop sustainably, man-made diamond sellers promote their gemstones as the eco-friendly diamond alternative. But just how valid is this claim? The reality is that man-made diamonds, also known as lab grown or synthetic diamonds, are not the most eco-friendly diamonds available. From huge energy consumption, to unknown waste disposal methods and job displacement, keep reading to learn why made-made diamonds are not the most eco-friendly and how you can buy sustainable diamonds.
Disadvantages of man-made diamonds
There are three major disadvantages of man-made diamonds:
1. Massive energy consumption: Man-made diamond factories operate all day and require large amounts of constant energy. They require huge energy as they are attempting to recreate the massive heat and pressure that occurs in the Earth to naturally create diamonds. According to Jason Payne, founder of ADA Diamonds, the “most efficient” diamond growers use 250 kWh of energy per carat which is the equivalent of the amount of energy the average US household uses in 8.7 days. Payne continued to explain that “less efficient” growers use about 750 kWh per carat, in comparison to the Argyle mine which uses 7 kWh to produce 1 carat and De Beers which uses 80.3 kWh per carat.
Comparison of Energy Use: Natural Diamonds vs Man-Made
Man-Made Diamonds: 250 kWh - 750 kWh
Argyle Mine: 7kWh
De Beers: 80.3 kWh
2. Lack of transparency: JCK news director Rob Bates explained that there is almost no independent research on the eco-friendliness of lab grown diamonds. Furthermore, many manufactures are not as transparent as they should be about how waste and other by-products of lab grown diamonds are treated and disposed of.
3. Job displacement: Environmental planner and energy professor, Dr. Saleem Ali, said “Synthetics are not going to generate a lot of jobs. When the diamond mining industry is well-governed, it has the potential to benefit people greatly in very poor areas.” Today, millions of people depend on diamond mining to support themselves and their families. Modern diamond mines operate under strict environmental protocols from local governments. For instance, members of the Diamond Producers Association, who account for 75% of the world’s diamond production, work to further the economic, social and institution development of their communities.
Why natural diamonds are not eco-friendly
Unfortunately, natural diamonds are not an eco-friendly option. Every year, 150 million carats of diamonds are mined, extracting over 260 billion tons of earth. Mining in large quantities damages ecosystems, contaminates the soil, water and air. Mining one carat of diamonds causes:
- 3.10 tons of earth displacement
- 0.056 C02e tons of greenhouse gas emissions
- 8.9 liters of fuel use
- 2,534.87 liters of water use
While members of the Diamond Producers Association work to manage the environmental impact of their mining, there are still poorly managed mines whose mining practices can result in:
- Soil erosion which strips nutrients from the soil, leading to agricultural problems.
- Polluted waters which kill the fish and plants that live in it, thereby removing a food and water source for the local wildlife.
- Airborne dust pollution which is comprised of disease-causing toxic chemicals.
- Mining pits which become filled with stagnant water and become a hub for diseased mosquitoes.
How to buy eco-friendly diamonds
The most eco-friendly way to buy diamonds is to shop pre-owned. By shopping for pre-owned diamonds and diamond jewelry, you give new life to existing diamonds without increasing your carbon footprint. Your recycled, sustainable purchase reduces the need for harmful diamond mining or energy consuming man made diamond production. What's more, diamonds are thousands of years old, so whether freshly mined or mined 20 years ago, they will look the same.
At Gemma by WP Diamonds we believe in making beautiful, sustainable diamonds and diamond jewelry affordable for everyone. Enjoy shopping for loose diamonds or diamond jewelry from your favorite brands such as Harry Winston, Chopard, Tiffany and Graff at up to 80% off retail. All of our diamonds and jewelry are assessed by our team of expert gemologists for exceptional quality and authenticity. Your money always goes further at Gemma by WP Diamonds thanks to our amazing discounts, easy monthly payment plans with our partner Affirm and free US shipping.
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