Lab-grown diamonds now an alternative

December 14, 2006 Diamonds may well be the world’s most beautiful gem, though we suspect there are many factors contributing to why they remain a “girl’s best friend.” The association with love may soon be tested as technological advances have finally enabled laboratory-created diamonds which have a distinct advantage over their naturally occurring identical twins - they are 100% conflict-free and have not paid the wages of a child soldier, been exchanged for armaments, financed a brutal civil war or have been smuggled at least part of the way to landing on that engagement ring. The New York Times writes ,“Across vast stretches of Africa, diamonds fuel war. Diamonds are so lucrative for predatory governments and marauding rebels that war has become a useful cover for hugely profitable smuggling enterprises. But for millions of Africans who happen to get in the way, diamonds are agents of terror.” In addition to their humane aspects, lab-diamonds also have virtually no environmental impact and they are physically, chemically and optically identical to mined diamonds yet a fraction of the cost. Of course, there are those not even convinced in the worth of diamonds in the first place. For example, “the diamond engagement ring is a 63-year-old invention of N.W.Ayer advertising agency. The De Beers diamond cartel contracted N.W.Ayer to create a demand for what are, essentially, useless hunks of rock.”

In addition to their humane aspects, lab-diamonds also have virtually no impact on the environment, whereas diamond mines typically remove 275 tons of ore to produce a one-carat gem quality polished diamond. This material is removed through an open cast strip-mining method, which destroys ecosystems and the environment in the process. We suspect that a growing social awareness and the availability of manmade changing the way people think about diamonds.

Bill Pearlman, president of laboratory-diamond manufacturer Adia Diamonds, says "the fact that lab-grown diamonds don't come from a mine is of growing importance to a more environmentally and socially aware segment of the luxury jewellery market."

The focus on conflict-free diamonds will become even sharper with the release of the film "Blood Diamond," starring Leonardo Di Caprio. Set in Sierra Leone, it portrays the use of diamonds by rebel groups to fuel conflict and civil wars. Another documentary film about conflict diamonds is slated for release in 2007, based on hip hop artist Kanye West's recording, "Diamonds from Sierra Leone," which won a 2006 Grammy Award.

Human-rights campaigners welcome Hollywood's focus on these issues and say it will help shed more light on the politics and practices of the diamond mining industry.

Adia Diamonds is the first and only company to bring laboratory-created, non-treated, fancy blue and colorless white diamonds to the luxury jewellery market. Hand-cut in Antwerp, Belgium, to the highest quality standards, all diamonds are then issued certification by EGL USA. The GIA announced they will begin grading laboratory-grown diamonds in 2007.

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