Humans have always tried to imitate what nature has created. Surely it is because of our desire to create, innovate, improve and express ourselves. However, also because the Earth's resources are limited.
Many alternatives have always arisen for the diamond: zircons, white sapphires, white spinels... But all of them have been considered imitations or were not up to the task. However, today a new option has been extended to the natural diamond. It is the laboratory or synthetic diamond.
We explain what a natural diamond and a laboratory diamond are, how they are formed and how they differ. We also explain why we, at Roosik & Co, will continue to work with natural diamonds. Let’s go!
What is a natural diamond?
A natural diamond is made of carbon and is considered the hardest element in nature in the world.
Natural diamonds are created 165 kilometers underground at very high temperatures and pressures. Its formation process is very long, it can take billions of years. These diamonds reach the surface thanks to volcanic activity, in a journey of more than 75 million years.
What is a synthetic or laboratory diamond?
A lab-grown (or laboratory-grown) diamond is a diamond that is synthesized by human activity.
The diamond production system, the HP HT (High Pressure and High Temperature), was discovered in 1950, but the amount of energy and technology required required only the creation of very small crystals. It was not until 1990, with the incorporation of a new technique called CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) and the improvement of HP HT, that diamonds large enough to be worked into jewelry could be created.
At that time the cost of production to create a synthetic diamond was very high due to high consumption. Just to give you an idea, the price of a lab diamond was like a natural one… Before the election, there was no debate. But the process of creating a diamond lab-grown was CO2 free and this encouraged pioneering companies to continue their development.
In fact, since the 90's today, more and more companies have joined this project and thanks to the use of renewable energy have managed to develop synthetic diamonds of up to 15 carats at a cost much lower than in the 1950s.
The fall in the price of lab-grown diamond has led many companies in the jewelry industry and new jewelry brands to use this type of synthetic gem.
Main differences between a natural diamond vs a laboratory or synthetic diamond
There is no visual difference between a natural diamond and a synthetic diamond, really, a synthetic diamond is a diamond because it is crystallized and formed by the same chemical structure. The only difference is in the growth process, one is formed on Earth and the other is in a laboratory.The GIA (American Gem Institute) has even developed an expensive scanner system to distinguish them.
Lab-grown diamond prices will be cheaper year after year, and the price difference from natural ones will be accentuated.
In addition, in the medium to short term, a sharp drop in laboratory diamond prices is expected as the pioneering diamond company De Beers has invested more than 90 million euros in a plant in the US for synthesis of the diamond.
Just to give you an idea, a few months ago, De Beers sold a 1 carat diamond, with H color and VS2 purity, for the lab for $ 4,400, while the natural gem itself was priced at $ 6,000. Shortly afterwards, the same gem was sold for $ 800.
It is worth noting that the prices of laboratory diamonds are set by companies, they are not governed by market prices as with natural diamonds.
A priori, the laboratory diamond is positioned as a sustainable diamond thanks to very good marketing campaigns. However, it is worthwhile to delve deeper into this topic. And it is that:
- To produce a laboratory diamond with the Hp HT technique requires a huge amount of energy, imagine, it is the same that a natural diamond needs for billions of years.
- If it is synthesized with the other method, the CVD, the energy equivalent to that required by a house for a month is consumed.
This large amount of energy is said to be obtained from renewable energy sources.
Natural diamond, on the other hand, consumes a large amount of water in order to extract the diamond from its parent rock: kimberlite. However, this water is constantly recycled and reused. In addition, the commitment of mining companies today is very high and its impact is regulated so that it is smaller every year.
But beyond environmental sustainability, the natural diamond industry is committed to the sustainability and social dignity of countries of origin such as Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. Countries that, thanks to the extraction of this gem, enjoy good working conditions, have been able to access education and public health in 80% of households and have access to clean water and electricity in 90% of the houses.
In other words, natural diamonds help the growth and socio-economic development of these countries and are their main economic source.
Sustainability: the Kimberley Treaty
When it comes to diamonds and sustainability we cannot ignore the Kimberley Treaty. This is a certification system designed to prevent conflicting diamonds from entering the diamond market. This will ensure that customers do not finance wars or human rights abuses with the purchase of diamonds.
All Roosik & Co diamonds come from countries within the Kimberley Treaty.
The value of the diamond
Natural diamond is one of the most desired gems, but it is a finite mineral resource. He thinks that quality diamonds we work with at Roosik & Co (D-E-F colors, purity superior to VVS2 and triple excellence) are part of 0.02% of the world's diamond mining. That is why, year after year, the price of diamond increases and becomes more exclusive; owning the most beautiful of the gems is not available to everyone.
Well, until now.
And this is where synthetic diamond comes in handy, as mass production will lower the price of lab-grown diamond, a diamond that looks the same as natural and is very attractive to jewelry companies.
This also makes us think about another topic: what value will these synthetic diamonds retain over time?
In this sense, it is also important to talk about the permanence of the artistic object itself: the jewel.
Natural diamond has always been used in jewelry for its beauty, its optical properties and its hardness.
Once the artist or the goldsmith, in our case Jordi Rosich, designs and creates a jewel, this is a piece forever. And his artistic value is also closely linked to the use of the materials he has used. That is, durable materials such as precious metals (gold and platinum) and natural diamonds. These materials will always have a higher value, and the growth of their value (regulated by the market) is exponential. The value of this work of art, the jewel, grows year after year.
Why do we work with natural and non-laboratory diamonds at Roosik & Co?
For us, each piece is unique, it is handmade, with all the care and time in the world… We do not feel comfortable today creating our pieces with synthetic diamonds, mass produced.
Jewelry is synonymous with emotion, love, family tradition, legacy… Each piece is an expression of ourselves and the person who wears it, who accompanies us all our lives and those who will come. Is there a ring with a diamond in series synthesized by the man of a feeling as noble and unique as that of our love while asking for commitment? What’s the point of offering a gem with a lab diamond beyond its aesthetics?
We believe that a jewel is something deeper… It is a small object that allows us to remember our most precious people and experiences, and forever. The value of this memory seems impossible to transfer to a diamond that has not generated the Earth for billions of years, a treasure of nature that has overcome all the inclement weather and very high pressures, as every obstacle or success overcome by our paths and that we seal with a shining jewel.
A diamond tells a story and values. Also, your history and your values.
On the other hand, when it comes to the sustainability debate, we are very aware of the communities that live and depend on natural diamonds around the world, which is why we have been working for years to offer you and trace the origin of our diamonds.
Thanks to the diamond industry, countries such as South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Canada, all within the Kimberley Treaty, have improved the country’s socio-economic conditions and the well-being of its citizens.
In fact, diamond is their main economic source. Without diamonds, how would they manage to live in the sub-Arctic of northern Canada or in the arid and desert lands of Namibia? Do you know that millions of South Africans work in the industry of the brightest gems and their wage conditions are dignified and commendable?
Stopping natural diamond mining is endangering the well-being and development of more than 10 million people. All the work done so far can be affected by the growing proliferation of new companies joining the synthetic diamond business.
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