Eco-Friendly Diamonds?

Since lab-created diamonds came on the scene a few years ago much has been made about how environmentally friendly they are.  And if lab-created diamonds are environmentally friendly then natural diamonds must not be since they must be mined right?  Let’s dive into this.

Natural diamonds are extracted from the Earth from two sources – kimberlite rock and alluvial.  To mine diamonds from kimberlite a hole is dug in the Earth.  Alluvial diamonds have originated from a kimberlite rock deposit but have eroded from that deposit to another location.  The photo at the top of this post is of a kimberlite rock open-pit mine in Canada.

Digging a hole in the Earth is clearly damaging to the environment.  However, diamond mines can be filled in and the trees replanted without long-term consequences.  Contrast this with gold mining which damages the environment in ways that are not reversible.  Additionally, the amount of other natural resources required to mine diamond – fuel, electricity, water etc. is relatively small.

Lab-created diamonds on the other hand require loads of electricity to produce.  Most lab-created diamond companies use about 750 kwh to produce a 1 ct. diamond.  Currently, most lab created diamonds are still made in China and India.  As of 2017 China still used coal to produce 60% of their electricity.  And India uses coal to produce 66% of their electricity.  The lab-created diamond folks would have you believe they are eco-friendly but I’m not so sure. Coal burning power plants produce loads of pollution. Here is one article listing all the bad stuff coal fired power plants cause.

This is an issue that you need to do your homework on.  It isn’t as cut and dried as either side would have you believe.