Conscious diamond shopping is the way forward and revolves around the ethical sourcing of diamonds to minimize negative social and long-term ecological impacts. Ensuring the stones you choose are eco-friendly, reclaimed diamonds are the priority, so it is essential to shop from ethical jewelry retailers like Young in the Mountains, who can answer questions about sourcing the diamonds we sell.
When picking out a center stone, you should know the many different options, when it comes to questions of sustainability and ethics. The Responsible Jewelry Council is a globally recognized standard-setting network that provides certification and aims to ensure ethics are adhered to within the jewelry supply chain.
This non-profit body was founded in 2005 and aims to further the responsible sourcing of diamonds, ensuring that environmental practices are optimized, and fundamental human and social rights are not impinged upon.
The Dark Side of Traditional Diamond Mining
When selecting a reclaimed diamond, it means your diamond has not helped fund terrorism or wars and that human rights abuses were not committed in the mining and producing your jewelry. Your diamond was mined long ago, and we have given it new life in our designs.
Using what is already unearthed, cut and ready is in our opinion the most ethical way to source a diamond. Lab diamonds are a popular option, but they require new energy to produce in a lab.
The creation of these stones is very energy demanding, so to be completely neutral in energy consumption, a reclaimed diamond is best.
Most consumers have yet to learn that for every carat mined, copious amounts of fresh water are contaminated, fossil fuels are consumed, and gas emissions pollute the atmosphere. Around 250 tons of earth are excavated.
Mining results include deforestation, soil erosion, flooding, and drought. These effects often result in the displacement of locals, who may already have been marginalized.
Understanding Ethical Diamond Shopping
The internet has made ethical diamond shopping a great deal more accessible. Because of articles like this one, consumers realize they have the option of buying diamonds that are untainted by controversial conflicts such as those that have occurred in Angola, Russia, Côte d'Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Zimbabwe.
Consumers also realize the need to consider environmental and social concerns and ask questions about the origins of the stones they wish to buy.
Necessary certifications and information about the sourcing and supply chain are listed on on our website. Every diamond we purchase is certified, “conflict free” by the Kimberly Accoed. However, this certification is not necessarily definitive proof that the gems do not originate in conflict zones. The parameters are limited and for example, as of Summer 2023 Russia which is the top supplier of diamond rough, is still not considered a conflict state.
Established in 2003, The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme is a multilateral trade requirement to restrict conflict movement or "blood diamonds." Since certification is established in terms of the last country of export, the KCPS does not guarantee that diamonds have not been smuggled into KCPS-certified areas or that workers have not been exploited or tortured in producing such. Miners are often paid unfair wages and are subjected to inadequate health and safety provisions.
The Rise and Acceptance of Lab-Grown Diamonds
Lab-grown white diamonds are increasingly gaining acceptance, and savvy consumers are leaning towards buying them as their appearance is identical to that of mined diamonds. They are just as hard-wearing as natural diamonds. With less impact on the environment, lab-grown diamonds are ticking the boxes for eco-conscious individuals and those who are mindful of the social effects and cost, but are they worth their (lower) price tag?
Benefits of Lab-Grown Over Mined Diamonds
Lab-grown diamonds came about in the nineties. As opposed to the mined commodity, lab-created and -grown diamonds are not formed by natural processes underground over millions of years. Instead, the heat and pressure that form natural diamonds are applied to carbon atoms in a laboratory setting.
- This process bonds the carbon atoms into a crystalline structure identical to their mined counterparts within three to six weeks.
- It is important to note that they are not considered simulant diamonds like cubic zirconias because they share the same chemical and physical attributes as mined diamonds.
- The ethics of diamond extraction has come under the spotlight in recent years, with the illegality of "blood diamonds" highlighting forced and child labor. Violent conflicts fomented by rebel movements have also come under scrutiny. Since lab-grown stones can be tracked, they present a more wholesome alternative to mined diamonds, whose history may be questionable. As a result, they are gaining popularity.
- Aside from this, the negative ecological impacts of mining at a time when global warming is top-of-mind for many make lab-grown conflict-free diamonds a more ethical and less costly alternative since they can be manufactured relatively quickly. A flawless diamond produced in a lab is often way more cost-effective than a similar natural diamond.
The Shine of an Ethical Purchase is Unmatched
In the past 20 years, the jewelry industry has made strides away from detrimental exploitative practices.
As a socially and environmentally conscious business, Young in the Mountains has evolved and improved our methods following industry advances, taking ownership of our impact on the planet and adopting the least harmful approach to jewelry design.
All diamonds sourced by our company are 100% conflict-free regarding the Kimberly regime, but in 2021, we went a step further. We started using reclaimed white diamonds melee. Although the original conditions under which these repurposed diamonds were mined are not clear, the sustainability of recycling diamonds is obvious, and the human and environmental impacts are avoided.
If you're on the hunt for a beautiful, ethically-crafted piece of jewelry—you're in the right place! We offer ethical diamonds that you can feel good about wearing every day. We offer many options for you depending on your values.
Feel confident that 100% of our diamonds are certified by the Kimberly Process, and if you desire, take more initiative to select a known origin newly mined diamond, a reclaimed or vintage diamond or a lab grown stone. We are here for you however you wish to celebrate your love and values.
Add some sparkle to your life and book an appointment today.