With the unveiling of the largest Grown-in-the-USA Laboratory Diamond at 6.28 carats, I have received a whirlwind of questions about our lab-grown diamonds.
If you are still on the fence about whether a lab-grown diamond is for you, I understand. To help, I’ve compiled my 10 most frequently asked questions about lab-grown diamonds, from technology to price and everything in between, I’ve been asked it all.
1. Can you please tell me about this scientific breakthrough?We have a true scientific breakthrough at MiaDonna because, after decades of research and development, our scientists can now precisely replicate the earth’s natural process of a diamond. The truth is we can now grow diamonds in a modern-day lab environment that are far more beautiful and affordable than anything we will get out of the earth. At MiaDonna we have just grown the world’s largest Grown-in-The-USA laboratory diamond. It is 6.28 carats - priced at $52,000 compared to an equivalent earth-mined diamond costing $105,000.00. Which is significant.
2. Are they Real Diamonds?Lab-grown diamonds are diamonds.
We are mimicking the natural growing process of a diamond, in a modern-day controlled environment to produce crystallized carbon (aka diamond). The idea is similar to making ice in your freezer versus foraging it from a glacier. This technology is really exciting, this is the evolution of the diamond and my company, MiaDonna, is at the forefront of this greener diamond movement.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, they are chemically, optically and physically identical to earth-mined diamonds. Even a trusted grading company, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), states that lab-grown diamonds are indistinguishable from earth mined diamonds, even under a microscope.
But the best part it, lab-grown diamonds are up to 40% less the price of an earth mined diamond while also being eco-friendly and conflict free, which is so important in today's society and originally why I originally founded MiaDonna and The Greener Diamond Foundation.
3. How do you grow a diamond?In our U.S.-based laboratories, scientists start the process of growing a MiaDonna Diamond by cutting a small piece of carbon, we call this the seed. It is placed in a low-pressure microwave chemical vapor deposition chamber. Hydrogen and methane gasses combine with electrical energy, which ignites a plasma ball. A cloud forms in the chamber and carbon molecules rain down on the seed. Within six to 12 weeks, a sizeable rough diamond is formed. It is then cut, polished and graded the same way an earth-mined diamond is.
4. Tell me about the price of a Lab-Grown Diamonds (LGD)?Lab-grown diamonds are priced up to 40% less than earth-mined diamonds. A great example is MiaDonna’s record-breaking 6.28ct lab-grown diamond is priced at $52,000.00 compared to the earth mined diamond equivalent which can cost up to $105,000.00. The most popular diamond purchase in America is a 1ct round cut diamond, purchasing an earth mined diamond would cost approximately $4,800.00 but purchasing a lab-grown diamond is only $3,600.00.
5. How did you get into the LGD industry and can you tell us about your foundation, The Greener Diamond?I came into this industry not from a place of privilege but as a concerned mother and diamond consumer. I founded MiaDonna in 2005 when found out I had most likely purchased a conflict diamond.
The first thing I did was take that ring off and sponsor a boy in a diamond mining community and it was through our letters that I got a first-hand look into a diamond mining community through the eyes of a 7-year-old boy.
I will never forget the day he wrote to me and said, “I had a great summer because only one of my classmates was killed”. He was only 7 years old! That, right there, changed my life forever.
MiaDonna creates conflict-free lab-grown diamonds and bridal jewelry to be the sustainable funding source for our foundation, ‘The Greener Diamond’. 5% of every sale of a conflict-free and eco-friendly jewelry at MiaDonna funds our foundation. Giving back to diamond mining communities by funding agricultural, mentoring and education programs allowing these children to live a life free of diamond mining.
6. Tell me about the environment and humanitarian issues with earth-mined diamonds?Diamond Mining is extremely invasive on the environment. Diamond mines are drying up so they have to go deeper into the earth and into more remote locations, irreversibly destroying ecosystems and wild habitats. Mining, in general, has the largest carbon footprint form of any kind of human activity but lab-grown diamonds has 7 times less the environmental impact than an earth-mined diamond.
Additionally, the earth mined diamond industry has a long history of worker’s and human rights violations and while there have been reforms, blood diamond trade still exists. This topic is extremely close to my heart and the reason why I founded MiaDonna and TGD over 10 years ago. In many African countries, rebel groups are notorious for killing, raping and torturing women men, and children and enslaving them to work in the diamond mines. Consumers need to know that this is still happening today, in 2017, in many African countries, sadly this is common practice.
7. Most of us are under the impression that the stream of blood diamonds flowing into the market stopped more than a decade ago with U.N. sanctions and global outcry. That’s not the case?Unfortunately, there are no reforms that can guarantee a diamond to be conflict-free.
Most consumers have heard that diamonds can be certified as conflict-free by the Kimberley Process (KPCS). It is so unfortunate that the diamond industry has been hiding behind the Kimberley Process and intentionally misusing what the term "conflict-free’ means to consumers. The Kimberley Process definition of a conflict diamond is a "rough diamond mined in an area controlled by insurgent forces and used to fund war."
This means that the diamonds mined, for example, in Zimbabwe which is notorious for killing, raping and maiming hundreds of artisanal miners are considered “conflict-free” under the KPCS. This is because, despite being mined under horrific conditions, they did not fund war. So even though a child may have been killed to mine a diamond, it is marketed to consumers as a “conflict-free” diamond simply because it didn’t directly fund a war.
This is not ok with me and that is why laboratory-grown diamonds are truly the only eco-conscious, conflict free and affordable option for consumers concerned about the origin of their diamonds.
8. Can you paint a picture for us of the current state of the diamond marketplace?Right now it's the happiest time of the year - it's engagement season! 25% of American couples get engaged between Christmas and Valentine’s Day and they will spend about a quarter of their annual salary on a diamond ring. However, shoppers are going to suffer sticker shock this because rough diamond prices are up 75 percent, since 2009. Which can make buying a diamond untenable for many people.
That is why Millennials are loving lab-grown diamonds. They really appreciate the technology that it takes to create laboratory diamonds and they are proud to wear a lab-grown diamond that neither cost a fortune and, more importantly, at no cost to human life or the environment.