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When it comes to the topic of diamonds, there are usually 2 distinct groups of conversation. The first is focused on the aesthetic aspect of it - how beautiful it looks and the 4Cs. With the second being its ethical and environmental impact.

Why a diamond’s provenance matters

It is a well known fact that the traditional diamond industry is rife with ethical and moral problems that run deep, so much so that processes put in place (i.e., the Kimberley Process) are of little consequence, akin to the so-called “Dolphin-Safe” tuna labels that were under scrutiny in the Netflix documentary “Seaspiracy”. “Blood Diamonds” have both funded and been the source of several civil wars, resulting in so much violence, bloodshed and slavery. Apart from this, the working conditions in diamond mines are highly questionable with little regard for safety and welfare. A lot of the miners are underpaid (as little as under a dollar per day), along with the exploitation of child labour. And this is just the tip of the iceberg as there are many other ramifications that are the result of the diamond industry.

From the moment it is mined, a diamond typically passes through 20 pairs of hands before gracing the consumer’s. This highly-convoluted process clouds the conditions surrounding its mining lineage.

Presently, it is estimated that about 65% of natural diamonds on the market originate in Africa, where they have been mined and traded illicitly for arms and to finance rebel militias. Approximately 3.7 million people have died in Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Liberia, and Sierra Leone in prolonged civil wars that occurred well into the twentieth century.

Aside to that, the environmental impact threatens the sustainability of this trade. Diamond mines leave a permanent scar on the landscape in the form of a gaping hole. This also leads to soil erosion, deforestation and ecological devastation. These are only a handful of consequences and the list goes on.

While there are no industries which leave a blameless legacy, few are as widespread and destructive as this. With the advent of man-made lab grown diamonds, the industry now certainly has hope to right a wrong that has been wrought upon the earth. Lab grown diamonds are not to be confused with diamond simulants which are not pure carbon based. Sure, diamond simulants like moissanite and cubic zirconia are also an ethical and sustainable alternative to diamonds as they are man-made, but they are not diamonds.They contain only a small percentage of carbon with the rest being impurities and other compositions.

A good metaphor to compare natural and lab grown diamonds would be that natural diamonds are your favourite sinful dessert and lab grown diamonds are calorie free, but taste exactly the same. Lab grown diamonds are pretty much the full on experience, minus the guilt! All the brilliance and beauty of a natural diamond, but none of the unethical implications of one. Not to mention, a smaller hole in the earth, and your wallet.

Majority of the ethical and human rights issues arise at the mining phase. With the diamonds now being grown in a lab, we have effectively severed the gangrenous limb from the rest of the body, stopping the plunder and abuse right at its source. This is not to say that there might not be any human labour violations along the rest of the production chain, but it is safe to say that this process is a large departure and vast improvement from its predecessor.

Lab grown diamonds have also effectively solved the problem of physical scars on the earth as diamonds can be grown from what is seemingly thin air. However, it is arguable that growing diamonds in labs requires an enormous amount of energy, and that the energy source used might be in the form of burning dirty fossil fuels which then again pose another environmental issue, merely replacing the energy spent in operating heavy mining machinery with that of a laboratory. As the lab grown diamond industry continues to grow in popularity, it is our hope that more and more labs start to adopt renewable energy sources, further reducing our carbon footprint.

While the lab grown diamond industry is far from perfect where there might still be instances of exploited labour or unsustainable energy sources being utilised, we believe that the industry is taking a giant step in the right direction. One must be conscious about greenwashing the lab grown diamond industry, and be aware of the realistic limitations. However, with the world’s consumers casting a spotlight on sustainability and making morally conscious choices, it is our vision that the industry will slowly, but surely, reach the ethical and sustainable high ground that it so desperately needs to make up for all its predecessor’s past wrongdoings. Lab grown diamonds are truly The Better Diamond.

Why a diamond’s provenance matters

The Better Diamond is currently a small company with a singular purpose - to provide certified diamonds with a fully-traceable history that does not involve conflict and human rights violation. We pride ourselves in the clean origins of our diamonds which provides certainty and reliability to our ethically-conscious customers.

We are part of the The Carbonfree® Partner Program which supports businesses with innovative and flexible ways to calculate, reduce and offset their carbon footprint. The Better Diamond has reduced 36 tonne(s) of CO2 emissions through energy efficiency projects championed by the Carbonfree® Partner Program and we look to continue doing our part in making the transition to a clean energy future possible.

Through active participation in the Eco-packaging Alliance, we not only look to cement our commitment to sustainability through the packaging of our products, but also to reduce emissions and rejuvenate the climate through reforestation initiatives that have seen more than 38,000 trees planted to date.

Our Beneficiaries

Supplementary to raising public awareness of an alternative to natural diamonds, while refining our workflow to reduce negative environmental impact, we connect with the following partners who do the same to move the world forward with sustainability initiatives and we hope to bring our clients along this journey with us.

Rainforest Trust purchases and protects the most threatened tropical forests, saving endangered wildlife through partnerships and community engagement. Through these highly effective partnerships, they can ensure sustainable results necessary for the long-term protection of tropical ecosystems and the wildlife they hold. Their unique, cost-effective conservation model for protecting endangered species has been implemented successfully for over 30 years.

Earthworks is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting communities and the environment from the adverse impacts of mineral and energy development while promoting sustainable solutions. Earthworks stands for clean air, water and land, healthy communities, and corporate accountability. They fulfill their mission by working with communities and grassroots groups to reform government policies, and encourage responsible materials sourcing and consumption. They expose the health, environmental, economic, social and cultural impacts of mining and energy extraction through work informed by sound science.

Oceana is a non-profit organisation that seeks to make our oceans more biodiverse and abundant by winning policy victories in the countries that govern much of the world's marine life. Founded in 2001, it is the largest international advocacy organization focused solely on ocean conservation. The good news is that we can restore the oceans to their former glory. Oceana is Campaign driven, fact-based, multi-disciplinary and experts at what they do.

With every order made, we seek to empower our clients to make a positive impact on the earth and communities across the globe.