The Ethics of Coloured Diamonds
You keep seeing beautiful coloured diamond engagement rings popping up left right and centre on social media. They are undoubtedly mesmerising, but where do they come from? Are they ethical?
The first thing you probably really want to know is 'how expensive are coloured diamonds?'
We don't blame you, sometimes the cost of a stone can be off putting, particularly when you are in the market for coloured diamonds which can cost an arm and a leg! We don't want you to pay that price...we want you to feel comfortable paying a price that you know supports ethical sourcing, making your ring even more beautiful.
When the colour is rare and the more intensely coloured a diamond is, the more valuable it becomes. Typically, lab-grown coloured diamonds will be a lot less costly than a rare, natural coloured diamond. The basic rule is: the more rare the jewel, the more expensive. Colour diamonds are so rare, that having a synthetic alternative offers great potential for jewellery designers like me. It also helps you to achieve the look you love for less.
Boasting a smaller carbon footprint, lab grown diamonds are around 30% cheaper as well being visibly (without using specialist equipment) and chemically identical to their natural counterparts.
If you would like to discuss the price of using a lab-grown diamond in a bespoke design, please do get in touch. We usually suggest a budget upwards of £950 for the full design.
ARE COLOURED DIAMONDS ETHICAL?
It depends how we define ethical. Many natural diamonds can be hard to fully trace. This is why more and more businesses are turning to lab-grown diamonds where they can confidentially declare the origin of their stones. They are traceable.
But is this really ethical? In an ideal world, the solution will be to fix the market as a whole. The solution will be to make sure provenance is required for all diamonds (like for our bananas or our cod files), that all gemstones are tracked through-out the supply chain, and that everyone involved in their production, small scale artisan or big corporation, get paid a fair price.
From a designing point of view synthetic coloured diamonds look great, and I agree that they are sustainable. We have used lab-grown yellow diamonds in our latest Hera Collection, so we can offer you full disclosure on the origin of every part of this design. With many natural coloured diamonds, it can be difficult to trace whether or not they are conflict free.
HOW ARE THEY MADE?
Image Courtesy of Swarovski Created Diamonds
Lab-grown coloured diamonds are cultivated in conditions simulating the geological process. They share the same chemical and optical properties and are considered real diamonds unlike imitations.
Natural diamond formations took place in the first couple billion years of the Earth’s history. Some diamonds are younger, but still hundreds of millions of years old. The energy of natural diamonds might be hard to rival for some, but lab-grown are certainly making a case for themselves, don’t you think?
UNDERSTANDING THEIR COLOUR
What is it that gives coloured diamonds their magnetising hue? Natural coloured diamonds are created by exposure to radiation, different gasses underground and other chemical elements over many many years. For example a yellow tone comes from inclusion of nitrogen, and red and pink shades are thought to be due to changes to the electron structure during the diamond’s journey to the earth’s surface.
Laboratories form coloured diamonds by impersonating the process of crystallising carbon, and treating the diamonds to enhance their tones. This process can be achieved in a matter of weeks.
WHAT ARE FANCY DIAMONDS?
Jewellers will grade absolutely colourless or white diamonds with a "D". The scale moves down from “D” to "Z" and, between these two extremes, diamonds will display subtle coloured tones. Diamonds with a very strong and distinct colour, or “fancies”, are extremely rare, like pink and blue diamonds. With lab grown blue and pink diamonds the cost will be considerably less despite the rarity of their natural counterparts.
So the questions remains.. are coloured diamonds ethical? They can certainly be sustainable. I see a world where both natural and synthetic diamonds can coexist, with full disclosure of origin, and fulfilling different customer’s dreams. Lab-grown diamonds allow me to be fulfilled creatively, and without creating a negative impact on the environment and society.
Ultimately, the choice in your hands. We encourage you to find jewellery that works best for you, but we can promise you don’t have to think twice about conflict or sustainability when you shop with us: we’ve done this bit for you. Browse our unique engagement and wedding rings to see that you don’t need to forsake style for ethics.
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