Natural vs Lab Grown - which is more sustainable with a more favourable carbon footprint?

The big debate in our sector is the Natural versus Lab Grown diamond issue and which is the more sustainable with the smaller carbon footprint.

On first look Lab Grown looks clean, manageable, better value, easy to control its provenance and so on. What's not immediately obvious is the enormous energy required to replicate what our planet does naturally, and that is, create diamond material naturally from the heat generated from the Earth's core.

Extracting these treasures from its natural state and then getting it to market is deemed too high a price to pay and that the Lab Grown option is better all round.  This is a false truth.

The livelihoods that the natural industry supports, impacts local communities far and wide; creating jobs, security and even education and health benefits that would otherwise not exist were it not for the diamond industry.  The huge energy drain needed to create one diamond synthetically, heating the diamond seed to 2,600°C (4,700°F) at pressures of more than 50,000 atmospheres, creates a huge carbon footprint.  The received wisdom says the following:

The estimated C02 emissions associated with laboratory grown diamonds are over three times greater than diamonds recovered by Diamond Producers Association members in 2016. While 160 kgs of C02 are emitted per polished carat of mined diamonds, it is small fry compared to the 511kgs of C02 for a lab-grown diamond.  So that's over 300% more C02 emmissions.

Don't just take our word for what's written here.  Please click here and hear what Dr Saleem Ali, a member of the UN Environment's International Resource Panel has to say on this topic (Dr Ali is also a Professor of Energy and the Environment at Delaware University's College of Earth, Ocean and the Environment).

Let's start the debate with the facts.  Please email your thoughts to us here.