What is a natural diamond?
Diamond is pure carbon created under pressure and temperature. The only place that such high temperature and pressure exists is below the surface of the Earth. They reach the surface through volcanic eruptions and then later they are mined.
What is a cultured diamond?
Diamonds can be manufactured in labatories. They’re chemically identical to natural diamonds the only difference is that they are grown in lab rather than underground.They can have a dash of colour, yellow, red, pink, green, orange… you name it the possibilities are endless. Compared to naturally occuring diamonds, which take a few days to be made but million of years to be found, whereas cultured diamonds are identical to the mined counterparts, just younger and grown in a laboratory in a mattrer of days using advanced high pressure high temperature process rather than being the result of large scale (and incredibly expensive) mining activites.
Natural diamond drawbacks
Natural diamonds are said to be in short supply and some say that they could run out as soon as a decade. Similarly a natural diamonds origin of the upmost importantance too, conflict diamonds also known as blood diamonds due to the blood shed to obtain them. A few years ago Leonardo Di Caprio starred as a South African the in the film Blood Diamond which touched on some of the natural diamond problems.
Most of these controversal stones come from Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Ivory Coast, Liberia and Sierra Leone and are illegally mined and then sold to raise money for rebel militia or terrorist groups. These groups earn money by forcing men, women and children to dig for diamonds and anyone who protests is either killed, or threatened by having a limb cut off. The United Nations, the Conflict Free Diamond Council and other groups are working toward better regulaition so that blood diamonds do not appear in the market. According to National Geographic the UN estimates that 98.8% of diamonds in the market are conflict free and before purchasing a natural diamond, request to see its conflict free certificate.
Similarly the human-and-animal rights issues run wild in India as well as certain African countries who have steadily increasing murder and HIV infection rates as a result of trespassing and sex trade. In India where 92% of the world’s smaller diamonds are cut, children are given the smallest stones to work with because their eyes and fingers are better suited for seeing and shaping tiny facets. Severe eyestrain, repetitive motion injuries and lung infections from inhaling diamond dust are just a few conditions that what these workers, or should we say slaves are subjected to…
Animal rights activists have just as much at stake in a diamond industry regulation as human-rights organizations. According to the Animal Welfare Institute, African primate populaitons are dwindling – in 15 to 20 years, apes will become extinct. the chimpanzee population has declined to around 150,000 and with 600 gorillas being poached yearly, they’re facing extinction as well. The ever decreasing numbers of primates may be partly attributed to paching, but not all poaching is for sport. Some hungry diamond miners with no other food source depend on these animals for survival.
It all seems quite a lot of work, toil and heart ache when you can simply create an exact replica of the stone in a labatory at a cheaper cost too. Oh how mother nature would be proud!
If you are interested in getting your own cultured diamond jewellery in South Africa, please contact me.