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understanding the
Environmental Impact
of Natural and
Lab-Grown Diamonds

An informed look at sustainability

Natural Diamonds

The carbon footprint of natural diamonds comes primarily from the extraction process. Mining requires extensive energy, often powered by fossil fuels, to dig deep into the earth. In addition to the mining process, transportation of materials, refining, and other steps all contribute to their carbon footprint. According to a report by the Diamond Producers Association, the average carat of a natural diamond results in roughly 160 kg of CO2 emissions. It's important to note that the environmental impact of diamond mining is not limited to CO2 emissions; it may also include land disruption and potential for water pollution.

Lab-Grown Diamonds

Lab-grown or synthetic or cultured diamonds are produced in a controlled laboratory environment through methods like High-Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) or Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). These processes also require a considerable amount of energy. A recent report from the Diamond Foundry, which produces lab-grown diamonds, suggested that producing one carat of diamond resulted in approximately 0.028 kg of CO2 emissions when using renewable energy sources. However, if the lab is powered by fossil fuels, the carbon emissions can be considerably higher, even potentially surpassing the emissions of mined diamonds in areas where electricity generation is particularly carbon intensive.


If labs use renewable energy, lab-grown diamonds can have a significantly lower carbon footprint compared to natural diamonds. However, if conventional, non-renewable energy sources power the labs, the emissions could be similar to or even higher than those of mined diamonds. In both cases, the carbon footprint also depends on many factors like the efficiency of the mining or manufacturing operation, the specific location (which impacts not only the direct environmental effects but also the carbon intensity of any electricity used), and the practices followed post-extraction or synthesis (like cutting, polishing, and transportation).

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