Traditionally, a diamond is thought of as being the ultimate choice of gemstone. The kimberly process was set up to combat the sale of "conflict" diamonds, and is something that virtually all uk jewellers now adhere to, but there's no regulations of things like working conditions and child labour.
For mined stones, there's currently no official "fair trade" certification but there are a few companies that make sure they know exactly where each stone they sell comes from and can verify that the miners are paid a fair wage and have good working conditions. For mined diamonds and gemstones, these are the only companies that I will buy from.................but................
In order to get a 1 carat diamond, a very deep hole has to be dug and between 200 - 250 tonnes of earth has to be moved.
There are however, a few alternatives that don't require any holes to be dug at all:
- Moissanite - this is a white stone, made of silicon carbide that's an excellent alternative. It's incredibly sparkly and almost as hard as an actual diamond.
- Lab grown Diamond-Hybrid - This is a real diamond that is grown onto a crystal core. It's a very high quality stone that's comparable in cut, colour and clarity to the best natural diamonds. To the naked eye, jewellers would not be able to tell the difference, making this an excellent ethical and affordable choice.
- Lab created Diamond - these are grown in highly-controlled laboratory conditions that simulate the earth’s natural growing environment, producing stones that are optically, physically and chemically identical to a mined diamond.
Just like mined stones, the cost of lab grown stones can also vary depending on cut and quality but just to give you an idea, here are approximate costs to buy a good quality loose 5mm round (approx 1/2 carat) version of each stone.
- Moissanite - £130
- Diamond-Hybrid - £250
- Lab Created Diamond - £900