Earth Day Special: The Most Wonderful Catch of '22

For all of us here at Michael Gabriels, the health of our planet is important. For some of us, that feeling is on a rather extreme level (I’m looking at you, mirror self…). 

So would you really expect us to pass up on Earth Day 2022!!! 

In honor of this past Earth Day we are celebrating some future technology that is going to make our planet sparkle with wonderful brilliance. 

Lab-grown diamond technology has undergone rapid development in the last decade. Not only have the growing units become more efficient in terms of the number of carats and quality of diamonds that they produce, lab-grown diamond producers no longer rely on massive amounts of energy and space to produce their wares. According to the 2021 report by Bain & Company, lab-grown diamonds represented a major and increasing sector of the diamond industry, partially but substantially credited with the brilliant recovery of that industry after the global economic slump.  

According to 2021 reports by Bain & Company, Frost & Sullivan, and Environmental Magazine, carat per carat, lab-produced diamonds, which are real diamonds, are far more environmentally friendly than mined diamonds. 

First up, water. Water is becoming more and more of an issue around the globe, as extremes of scarcity in some places and torrent in others pushes economics, politics and society to their own extremes. Mined diamonds use about 126 gallons of water per carat. Much of that becomes wastewater, no longer fit for consumption or agriculture without laborious and expensive long-term treatment which is rarely provided while operating, or after mines are shut down. 

On the other hand, lab-grown diamonds now use approximately 18 gallons of water per product. Used mostly to cool machines, much of this water is easily recyclable. 

Land waste is another crucial factor. Mined diamonds disrupt over 100 square feet of land and produce 5,798 lbs of mineral waste per carat. Lab-grown diamonds however produce about 1 lb of waste and disrupt %0.07 of land compared to mined diamonds. And sulfur oxide, a harmful and dangerous pollutant, of which mined diamonds produce almost 30 lbs per carat, is non-existent in lab-grown diamond production. 

In terms of industrial power usage, mined diamonds now use 538.5 million jules per carat. That figure may also rise in the future as extraction becomes more difficult. 

Lab-produced diamonds however use only 250 million jules per carat, a figure that is steadily dropping, as it was around 700 million jules a decade ago. Moreover, many producers are switching to now more reliable renewable energy, making many of these diamonds carbon neutral. 

Not only that, mined diamonds are almost exclusively found in

places far away from cutting and selling centers, sometimes by many thousands of miles. The cost of transporting the raw goods for mined diamonds is much higher than for lab-grown diamonds, which are sometimes cut in the same general facility they were produced in. More than that, because of the ability to control some of the shape of the formation of a lab-grown diamonds, there is often much less excess diamond material lost in cutting and polishing compared to mined diamonds. All of that lost material represents wasted energy. Findings by Princeton University give lab-grown diamonds about %18-22 of the carbon footprint of mined diamonds. 

Last but not least, and speaking of renewable energy, there are diamonds now being produced using renewable energy for the production process, and carbon extracted from the atmosphere for the base material. Diamonds produced this way use about 20 metric tons of carbon extracted from the atmosphere per carat. That's a bit more than the carbon footprint of an average American, making these the first carbon-negative diamonds. 

In ‘22 the catch is: we are literally using starlight to make the air as clear as a diamond, by making diamonds, which shine clearly with starlight!!! 

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