All of earth’s natural resources, diamonds included, are finite, meaning they will at some time run out. This will be due, where diamonds are concerned to (a) depletion of existing mines and (b) no new large diamond mines anywhere have been found in more than 15 years. Consequently, the supply of natural diamonds by 2030 is estimated to decline by 1-2 percent while the demand will grow at an estimated annual rate of 2-5 percent meaning the demand will exceed the supply resulting in astronomically high prices that are both unprofitable and environmentally unsustainable. An alternative, therefore, to natural diamonds will have to be found. Enter synthetic diamonds.
You may have thought, as I did, that the Cubic Zirconia (CZ) was the first ever lab-created diamond in 1967 but that’s wrong because it was preceded in the late 19th to early 20th centuries by the Moissanite diamond. They differ in terms of composition and colour: the CZ being a mixture of powdered Zirconium and Zirconium Dioxide creating a perfect flawless pure white stone whereas the Moissanite is of silicon and carbon, neither flawless nor pure white but often with slight greenish or yellowish hues. This silicon and carbon mixture occurs naturally in nature and is therefore closer to the real diamond that is carbon based. And when the two stones are set side by side it is impossible to say which is which. Other factors that must also be considered are time (to create or grow the diamond) and cost (of the stone and the environment). In each case, time and cost, the synthetic diamond is the winner because it can be produced/grown in a matter of days versus the real diamond that took millions of years to grow underground that then has to be extracted at a colossal cost to the environment.
Diamond mining takes various forms: open pit, closed pit, marine, and alluvial. All are detrimental to the environment. Lab-grown diamonds, on the other hand, are created through high pressure, high temperature (HPHT) just like the real diamond, or by chemical vapour disposition (CVP) at no cost to the land. If you have ever seen a picture of open-pit mining you know this destruction of the land to be true. And then there is the matter of water used by both actual mining resulting in highly contaminated water and in the lab where it is used only to keep the machines from over heating at considerably less consumption and no contamination. Synthetic diamonds win again.
In determining price we must again look at the economic model of Supply and Demand that states low supply coupled with high demand increases the price and vice versa but the current situation of low supply and increasing demand proves there is no likelihood at all of prices of natural diamonds coming down. Hence the need for an alternative, i.e. the synthetic diamond, which is (a) environment-friendly; (b) sustainably sourced; (c) has an almost identical hardness, 9.25 to the diamond’s 10 on the Mohs Scale; (d) looks exactly the same, with the same fire and brilliance as the natural stone, and (e) costs approximately 30% less than the natural diamond. The cost difference is significant particularly where millennials – today’s major consumers – are concerned because they tend to spend less on jewellery than their parents or grandparents, preferring instead to put their money on experiences – travel – than high-priced or over-priced jewellery.
The only other important factor is personal preference or choice – yours – as in choosing a synthetic diamond over a natural stone and be glad you did because of any or all of the above reasons.