A Deep Dive Into DiamondsWords by Izzy Rosales
Photos courtesy of Ultimate Diamond
"A Diamond is Forever," this cleverly crafted ad campaign coined by industry titans, De Beers, in the 1930s sought to make diamonds the exclusive stone for marriages. Since then, the diamond industry has exploded, ever-increasing the demand for these rare earth-forged stones.
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However, mined diamonds have created a complex history of conflict in Africa, where 65% of the world’s diamonds can be found. Further solidifying a shift away from mined diamonds is the environmental impact. A 2020 report by the Imperial College of London states that the exploitation of mineral resources like diamonds causes irreversible damage to the natural environment. While diamond institutions have created and followed standards like The Kimberley Process to ensure that their mined diamonds are conflict-free– meaning that they do not fund warfare– couples have begun considering a more sustainable alternative in lab-grown diamonds.
Lab-grown diamonds have been in the making since the 19th century but were “perfected” in the 1980s. Created through chemical vapor processes or high pressure/high-temperature processes, lab-grown diamonds use a tiny diamond “seed” to grow a full-blown stone in as little as seven days. The end result is a diamond with the same chemical makeup, clarity, and hardness as one from the earth.
In 2021, Bain & Co. reported around six to seven million carats of diamonds were produced globally. Due to the ability to produce high-quality synthetic diamonds quickly and without the rumors of ethical violations, it seems that the lab-grown option fits most of the criteria of what Millennial and Generation Z consumers want –fair working conditions, conflict-free products, environmentally conscious practices, and an overall reduction of carbon footprint.
We spoke with an expert source and the Diamond District’s most respected dealer — third-generation, Asian-American owner of Ultimate Diamond NYC, Bill Kung.
“It’s sustainable and green,” says Kung. “And nobody is dying to get that diamond to the consumer.”
Ultimate is one of many jewelers that are offering their customers the lab-grown option. Joining fellow industry leaders like Pandora and Lightbox (De Beers’ lab-grown line) Ultimate Diamond observed the shift towards sustainable rings and began offering a wide variety of lab-grown cuts. However, what sets Ultimate Diamond apart from the rest is in the way they save you from third-party markup prices.
“The price structure is so different,” says the CEO. “You buy a nice little diamond with the same size and given quality at $10,000. You can buy the same quality of lab diamond for $3,000.”
Perhaps you’ve done the research and would like to take the traditional route with a real diamond, consider looking into the transparency of your company’s production line, or looking into recycled diamond options. For those who want to be bougie on a budget, be assured that lab-grown diamonds will shine just as bright as you will on your big day.
Learn more about Ultimate Diamond below or visit their website and schedule a virtual consultation!
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