Lab Grown Diamonds: When the Jewellery Industry Switches to More Ethical Options

Jewellery refers to personal ornaments such as necklaces, rings, or bracelets that are made from precious materials such as diamonds. These industry sales peaked at £3.2bn in 2017 according to Euro monitor International, a market research provider in the UK. However, the negative effects of natural diamond trade are forcing jewelers in the UK to explore more ethical options for fine jewellery such as standard lab grown diamonds and the rising trend of memorial diamonds.

Lab Grown Diamonds, Memorial Diamonds… The New Trends on the Rise in the Jewellery Industry in the UK

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A Memorial Diamond in a ring setting

Both fashion jewellery and fine jewellery are exceptionally common and popular among the UK population, but current trends are indeed working in favor of fine jewellery options. Crafted from platinum, sterling silver, or solid gold, the precious metals used in fine jewellery offer durability and unmatched beauty, not to mention the factor of elegance and luxury associated with these artistic pieces of precious metal and stone – just one of the many reasons why UK consumers are opting for lab grown diamonds and fine jewellery.

While some people may still prefer to opt for fine jewellery pieces that are made from natural diamonds, natural diamond sources are becoming more limited. As natural reserves run out, there continues to be a demand for diamonds among the population which can now be fitted with lab grown diamonds.

Lab grown diamonds are now becoming a popular trend in the UK, since they are relatively easy to make and are a more environmentally-friendly option. Lab grown diamonds for use in jewellery now exceed 1.5 million carats of polished diamonds annually.

There are also several changes in the patterns of jewelry purchase. More women are buying jewelry for themselves in recognition of their achievements as opposed to waiting to be gifted. People are also starting to invest in jewelry that can help them commemorate a deceased loved one – such as memorial diamonds, an example of lab grown diamonds made from ashes.

There is an increasing trend towards the use of digital technologies that are more efficient in helping jewelers to design and polish lab grown diamonds. Society within UK is also having a larger impact on purchasing decisions than ever before, especially with millennials who base their purchasing decisions on the opinion of social influencers, social media recommendations, and product reviews

How Natural Diamonds and Lab Grown Diamonds Differ from One and Another

Upon inspection, even during the gradation process of a diamond, there are more similarities between natural and lab grown diamonds than differences. Lab grown diamonds and natural diamonds primarily differ from one another in the process of formation.

The formation process of a natural diamond occurs within the Earth’s mantle. Natural diamonds are formed in the Earth’s mantle under conditions of extreme heat and pressure and delivered to the surface by deep-source volcanic eruptions. Once mined, the diamond is usually cut into a particular shape and then either sold loose or fitted into a piece of jewelry. Lab-grown diamonds on the other hand, are grown in the laboratory using advanced technology that duplicates the process of natural diamond formation.

There are two different processes that can be used in a laboratory to develop lab grown diamonds; high pressure, high-temperature formation also known as HPHT and chemical vapor deposition also known as CVD. Most lab-grown diamonds are delivered with a grading report that certifies them as authentic and exactly similar to naturally occurring diamonds, with the only exception being that they are created in a laboratory.

Memorial diamonds are an example of the increasing popularity of lab-grown diamonds in the UK jewellery industry. Memorial diamonds are also created in the laboratory, using the carbon content extracted from the cremated ashes of a departed loved one. LONITE, a renowned memorial diamond company which has an existing branch office in London, UK uses HPHT technology in their state of the art Swiss laboratory to create memorial diamonds from the ashes of a deceased.

About 200g of ashes or 10g of hair are required in order to form a memorial diamond from ashes. These ashes are placed in a specialized crucible which is heated to over 5000F to make every element except carbon oxidize.  Then, temperature is raised further so that carbon can become graphite. The graphite with a metal catalyst and a diamond seed crystal are placed into the core which goes into a specialized diamond press capable of creating extreme tension which then starts working thus bringing the pressure to about 800,000 pounds/square inches. During the last stretch when the press is working, the temperature in the room stays about 2500F so that the ashes turned memorial diamonds become solid.

These memorial diamonds from ashes also have a certificate of authentication from external and well recognized institutes such as the GIA and IGI. This report contains a full scientific and unbiased assessment of the characteristics of your memorial diamonds from ashes plus proof that the gem was created from the ashes of your departed loved one.

Memorial diamonds from ashes are also available to make for pets such as: horses, cats, dogs, birds, rabbits and more as long as you can provide 200gr of the pets’ ashes or 10gr of the pets’ fur. People usually choose memorial diamonds from pets’ ashes in remembrance of their furry friends’ companionship, loyalty, love and simply because pets are often considered as part of the family in many parts of the world.

Memorial diamond price in the UK may range between 1,400 GBP up to 15, 600 GBP, depending on the size, the cut, the color and the shape of the memorial diamond from ashes selected. It is also possible to order jewellery settings such as rings, necklaces and earrings to carry your memorial diamond with you at all time. Additionally, the memorial diamond cost may also depend on that factor.

Why more and more People in the UK are Opting for Lab Grown Diamonds Whether We Are Talking Fine Jewellery or Memorial Diamonds from Ashes

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Lab-grown diamonds more and more popular in the UK

A large number of people within the UK and even other areas of the world are increasingly turning toward lab grown diamonds including memorial diamonds for many reasons such as;

Lab grown diamonds have a significantly lower impact on the environment. To mine natural diamonds, an estimated 1,750 tons of the Earth needs to be removed – a process which yields about a single carat diamond which is not the case for lab grown diamonds. There’s also contamination resulting from leakage of the chemicals used in mining.

Renowned global diamond deposits continue to deplete thus the lab-grown diamond industry is bound to fill the pending supply gap of natural diamonds in the long run.

Technology advancements allow regular lab-grown diamond and memorial diamonds manufacturers to create bigger diamonds which are otherwise extremely rare and expensive in natural diamond trade.

Lab grown diamonds are more affordable compared to natural diamonds. Most lab-grown diamond jewellery will fall into the 191 GBP – 767 GBP price range.

Lab-grown diamonds do not have any links to wars and blood diamond trade. Some of the natural diamonds, also known as blood diamonds were mined in war torn areas and sold to finance insurgency, a trade that most people in the UK are trying to distance themselves from by opting for the lab grown diamonds instead.

The popularity of memorial diamonds in the UK, is a manifestation of changing industry trends and demands. As a result, lab grown diamonds and memorial diamonds manufacturers have over the years learnt to adopt new technology and explore more ethical alternatives to natural diamond trade in order to stay relevant on the diamonds market in the UK and the rest of the world.

Charu decided to unite her Honors Degree in New Media and lifetime of geekiness to pursue a career in tech and gaming journalism. You can usually find her writing about a variety of topics and drooling over new gadgets and games.