Can Lab Grown Diamonds Help Us Save The Environment?

What Are Diamonds:

The diamonds are the hardest and rarest, its the most famous symbol of romance, romanticized by pop culture, it became a part of the romance culture, other than that it’s used for cutting tools, used to make the windows of the aircraft because it keeps away harmful radiation. Due to its high thermal conductivity therefore used in heat sinks because it’s a good conductor of heat. Diamond exfoliator tool, used for beauty treatments, tightening the skin, acne scars are removed, skin damage caused due to sun heat, nanodiamonds used to deliver medicines to the exact areas of the body, creating a scope for treating cancers. It is used in audio equipment for Less distortion and therefore clear sound.

Diamond has many metaphorical meanings, the symbol of strength, it’s a symbol of working under pressure and cutting through any difficulties. Due to high refractive properly, diamonds are lustrous, and they sparkle. Drilling and polishing. Diamond is considered unique because structures are never identical, It has a scale of 10 on the Mohs hardness scale made in the mantle approximately 150 km deep, more than 1000 degree Celsius for billions of years. The rarest diamond is the colorless diamond The weight of diamonds is measured in carats. A diamond is pure carbon.

The 4 Cs are used to grade the quality of a diamond: Clarity, cut, color, and carat weight. It had unstable resale value,25-50% of the value is lost when it is purchased because of market fluctuations, therefore it’s a risky investment. “A diamond is forever campaign”, this Slogan was used by De Beers company. Before this tagline was introduced, the mindset was that diamonds were only for rich people. After this tagline, it glamourizes an era that every married couple should have a diamond ring and it was a sign of love.

What are lab-grown diamonds?

Lab-grown diamonds are made in the lab. All the chemical and optical properties are fulfilled. Lab-grown diamonds are not simulated diamonds, as is often confused. It uses the same high pressure, and high temperature. These are exact diamonds just their source of creation is different, having the same chemical composition as that of natural diamonds are made under billions of years of extreme heat and pressure provided by the earth, and lab-grown diamonds are made from provided conditions of extreme pressure and heat inside the lab. Lab-grown diamonds are also measured in carats and certified by the IGI (International Gemmological Institute).

How are lab-grown diamonds made?

It uses the same high pressure and high temperature providing all the necessary needs for creating a diamond, but it’s just man-made that’s all. Better color and clarity. More than a physical need, it’s also a psychological need. People pay a lot of money just to feel accomplished, the feeling of worth buying or worth having a beautiful diamond. So, the better choice is to buy a lab-grown diamond that is 73% cheaper and has the same properties, and does not support the uprooting of 3/4th of the environment just to find natural diamonds.

Natural diamonds have some amount of nitrogen present whereas lab-grown diamonds don’t. The reason why lab-grown diamonds are less expensive is due to supply and demand, natural diamonds after a point of time can get exhausted because it was created naturally. There are 2 methods through which lab-grown diamonds are made.

High-pressure/High-Temperature Process (HP/HT) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). High Pressure/High-temperature Process (HP/HT). It is a more expensive method than CVD. They are put into something called containment cubes, required 1300-1600 degrees Celsius temperature is applied and adequate pressure is applied to mature the already half-made diamonds. In a Chemical Vapor Deposition. The process starts with using a “diamond seed”.

It is then placed in a vacuum chamber. The chamber is then filled with gases that are high in carbon. The gases used are methane, hydrogen, and other inert gases like argon. Then it is heated to 815 degrees Celsius. In this process extraction of carbon occurs and the carbon particles get deposited on that seed. A period of 10 weeks is required.

Issues regarding the Diamond Mining:

The controversies behind diamonds are not that great. One name is the Blood diamond and another name given is the conflict diamond. Blood diamond was always a problem and is still a problem in 2021. De Beer Group was the first company that initiated the search for diamonds in Africa when the diamond was discovered by a 15-year-old boy near a river.

Triggered Colonialism, human abuse, protests, soil erosion, disturbed ecosystem, long and rough working hours, no sleep schedule, and no safety. People are forced to move places; their livelihood gets disturbed. Diamonds are very heavily used to fund wars in countries like The Democratic Republic Of Congo, Sierra Leone, Angola, Central African Republic. Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) was used to restrict access to the diamonds. Strict legal rules were applied to prevent misuse.

Different mining contracts are signed to allow the usage of land as ethically as possible for example, the Rio Tinto 954 hectares were used for diamond mining. The issue is not only about soil erosion anymore because of the hectares of land that are reserved for diamond mining, but most of the land is also actually used for polluting it as well, dumping the waste debris after mining, and not for the actual mining.

There is less compensation, like cutting 1 huge tree and then planting one sample. Triggering already water-stressed regions. Mining uses up a lot of water and electricity, for ore extraction, and maintaining the mining equipment, depending on the processing method applied. Mining is especially a problem of deforestation because diamonds are carbon products, and there are huge chances of finding diamonds trapped below the trees. Even in the present years,  there is no guarantee that blood diamond has stopped yet.