Often, we are told that diamonds are the rarest gemstone on earth. But that is a myth created and finessed by the diamond cartel (which includes De Beers) to keep diamond prices artificially high.
There is no shortage of diamonds in the world, and they are more widely mined than ever before. In fact, scientists estimate that there is an estimated quadrillion tons of rough diamonds below the surface of the earth.
In order to extract one 1-carat diamond, it requires an average of 1,750 tons of earth to be moved and extracted from deep underground mines. This translates to a significant environmental impact, as well as a disproportionate burden on mine laborers.
As a result, the industry relies heavily on exploitation and violence to keep diamonds in circulation, contributing to poverty and environmental degradation. Thankfully, there are many ethical alternatives to the diamond industry that protect workers and the environment alike.
The Dirty Truth about Diamonds: Why Mined Diamonds Aren’t as Rare as You Think
The real, dirty, unvarnished truth is that the gems we see in stores aren’t actually that rare at all. As a matter of fact, they are one of the most popular and widely available diamonds in the world, making them incredibly easy to come by for those who want to buy a beautiful piece of jewelry.
This is largely due to the fact that for much of the twentieth century, the diamond cartel controlled most of the supply and inflated prices. By restricting the release of rough diamonds and squelching competition, they kept diamonds at a premium price and fueled an illusion that they were scarce.
A few decades ago, the world was introduced to the idea of “blood diamonds,” which were illegally sold on black markets to fund armed groups. This led to the establishment of a diamond certification scheme, known as the Kimberley Process. While the process was successful in stamping out the unethical trade, it did not stop a certain amount of it from happening.
Blood diamonds also fueled the Sierra Leone civil war by providing funding for terrorist militias that were trying to overthrow the government. In addition to the violence, these diamonds were used for human trafficking and sex work.
Thankfully, the diamond industry has since implemented stricter laws that prohibit these practices. However, the reality of these issues is still very real and the problems that plague the diamond trade continue to affect our planet as a whole.
In recent years, the technology behind lab diamonds has become more advanced, allowing for diamonds to be engineered in a laboratory in less time than it takes for a natural diamond to form. The resulting stone looks chemically and physically identical to a mined diamond, making them an attractive alternative for those looking to purchase a gorgeous piece of jewellery that is both environmentally friendly and ethically produced.
The emergence of lab grown diamonds is a great example of how consumer demand has shifted to demand that their goods are produced with as little harm as possible. From coffee to clothing, consumers have been pushed by environmental concerns to seek out products that are manufactured with as minimal an impact as possible.