Ethical consumption is a challenge faced by many of today’s shoppers. No one wants to feel as if they have contributed to ethical issues they don’t support. As a result, many shoppers choose to do their due diligence to find products and companies that support their ethical beliefs. Unfortunately, that can be challenging to do when you are searching for a diamond.
Not only do mined diamonds present an ethical challenge for consumers, but the lack of information surrounding lab-grown diamonds mean that consumers don’t have the information they need to make an informed decision regarding the purchase of ethical diamonds. Luckily, we have the resources to help.
Here’s everything you need to know about lab-grown diamonds, as an ethical consumer.
Ethical Consumerism and Why It Matters
Ethical consumerism, sometimes referred to as ethical consumption, is a buying strategy that prioritizes the consumption of products that fall under the ethical umbrella.
Ethical consumers are looking for products that generally fall into one or more of the following categories:
- Environmentally and Eco-Friendly
- Free from Animal Testing
Ethical consumerism is a result of consumers realizing their buying power in a way that supports companies and products that align with their personal values.
This cultural shift toward ethical consumption has been most well-documented in the Gen Z population, who exhibit buying practices that are most strongly influenced by ethical concerns.
The overarching effects of ethical consumerism are simple to see, as more and more companies shift their focus toward sustainability, minimizing environmental harm, supporting human rights, and eliminating animal testing.
In this way, ethical consumption can be thought of as consumer activism that has inspired real and measurable change across multiple industries, including the diamond industry.
Sourcing is one of the most fundamental concerns of an ethical consumer. Many customers engage in research before making a final purchasing decision. Their goal is to ensure that the product they are buying has been obtained through or created with sustainable materials and ethical practices. The process of this buying strategy is referred to as ethical sourcing.
Unfortunately, ethical sourcing can be challenging across different industries. Moreover, it can even vary from business to business. While there are several resources a consumer may use, such as the Ethical Consumer platform, it can be challenging to effectively determine whether a product has been ethically sourced.
Within the diamond industry, ethical sourcing can be particularly challenging despite concentrated efforts to cull conflict diamonds’ presence in the international market.
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, founded in 2000, is an international organization dedicated to reducing the prevalence of conflict diamonds on the international market. The group has measured a reduction in the flow of conflict diamonds, however, the overall efficacy of the process has been called into question. Here are a few criticisms of the Kimberley process:
- The definition of a conflict diamond has not been updated to reflect the many human rights violations and exploitative practices that are currently unaddressed in the certification process.
- The Kimberley process isn’t well-enforced, with only a few bodies responsible for its oversight.
- When violators of the Kimberley process are discovered, their punishments are not significant.
In fact, even two decades after its implementation, there have been recent legal cases of individuals exploiting the loop holes within the Kimberley process to circumvent its regulations.
In short, while the Kimberley process has helped to reduce the number of conflict diamonds on the market, there is still a ways to go before a Kimberley certified diamonds can be deemed completely conflict free with absolute certainty.
Why Lab-Grown Diamonds are the Ethical Option
When it comes to purchasing mined diamonds, it can be difficult to find gemstones that are free from the stain of exploitative practices and environmentally friendly. However, lab-grown diamonds are a much different story.
With lab-grown diamonds, the proof is in the pudding (and the name). There are no human rights violations or sourcing conflicts with lab-grown diamonds. There’s no ecological disruption, massive holes in the earth, or anything like that.
Lab-grown diamonds are made in a lab setting with machines that mimic the natural processes that cause diamonds to form in nature. The resulting diamonds are identical to mined diamonds. There are virtually no physical, optical, or chemical differences between a mined diamond and lab-grown diamond.
So, don’t fall prey to the “Real is rare” campaign myth (fun fact: diamonds aren’t all that rare). As lab-grown diamonds are real diamonds, when you choose lab-grown diamonds you don’t lose out on anything.
It also doesn’t hurt that lab-grown diamonds are usually 30%-40% cheaper than their mined counterparts. It’s like a little reward for your wallet. Diamond rings can be quite costly, but they don’t have to break the bank, especially when you use lab-grown diamonds.
Ethical consumption isn’t an easy endeavor. Finding products and supporting companies that make ethical business practices a fundamental part of their mission can take tons of research, time, and effort. Luckily, when it comes to lab-grown diamonds, there are much less resources burned through. The premise of lab-grown diamonds means that consumers are far removed from the ethical consequences of mined diamonds.