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Basicly Lab Processed Diamonds: Question?


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My boyfriend and I have been discussing engagement rings. I love how pretty and elegant the 1.5 ct diamond solitaire looks; however, after learning about the diamond trade I am not at all happy about wearing a "blood diamond". So I have been researching about cultured, synthetically grown, basically lab produced diamonds. I have read some info online and I am definitely not interested in diamond stimulants.


1) I'd like to know where one finds a gem-quality synthetic diamonds which is almost the same as a natural diamond?

2) Can non-colored diamonds be synthetically processed, or all the ones on the market just "diamond stimulants" posing as real synthetic non-fancy colored diamonds?

3) What are the names of some companies or brokers that carry colorless synthetic processed diamonds?


Thank you very much!

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Currently there are no colorless synthetic diamonds on the market beyond what is sold as a scientific curiosity, and those are considerably smaller than what you're looking for.


Apollo Diamond, Gemesis, and LifeGems are the only currently marketed synthetic diamonds that I know of.


I recommend against blood diamonds as well. Have you considered a 'conflict free' stone? It's not difficult to arrange to buy a stone with known and documented provenance, especially after the release of the DeCaprio movie about the war in Sierra Leone back in the 90's.



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so, are diamonds from the south africa "conflict-free" and "blood-free"? :)



Most of them. Some South African as well as other African producers are very socially responsible and very much need and deserve your business.


Like a lot of the diamond business, these terms are used rather freely to make an emotionally charged statement are not well defined. The boundaries lead to lots of confusion. Unfortunately, the fact that people might be inclined to kill or injure one another in order to steal diamonds is not new, and it’s hardly limited to crimes committed in Africa. Diamonds have been identical to money for at least the last few hundred years and criminals have been interested in money since the day it was invented. Similarly, one of the primary reasons for war throughout history has been to plunder the local resources. It’s happened with gold, fur, oil, timber, slaves and just about everything else you can think of. It’s what motivated the conquistadors in South America and it’s a big piece of what is going on now in Iraq. This too is hardly limited to Africa and is hardly a recent problem. I wish it weren’t so.


As a shopper, I and others would like to buy goods and services that are produced, processed and distributed in environmentally and socially responsible ways. I would like to contribute to the prosperity of everyone in the chain while limiting the environmental degradation at the various steps along the way and I’m willing to pay a premium to accomplish this. Most shoppers would agree with this. As with all things, the devil is in the details. How much of a premium is required to accomplish which objectives, who are the expected beneficiaries and how will they benefit? What are the unintendend consequences of the various actions? What level of support is acceptable vs. my desire to get good stuff cheaply since I'm working with a limited budget? How can I be confident that my wishes are being extended down the supply line and not just hollow words by the retailer or their suppliers to get me to buy? These are all difficult questions and there are no solid answers.


In the case of diamonds, it’s actually easier than it is with most products. In 2002 the Kimberley Process was implemented by the United Nations in response to the very crimes depicted years later in the DeCaprio movie and it was written into the law of the US and most other nations, including South Africa. It involves a chain of warranties that extend from the mine to the of the consumer and become legally enforceable when the stones cross international borders. Every diamond legally imported into the United States since 2002 must be Kimberley compliant so this sets the minimum level of assurance for all US purchases of recently mined diamonds made through legitimate channels. The Kimberley people claim 99.8% of the current world diamond production is part of their system. Their critics say it’s 'only' 98%.


0.2% is non-zero to be sure, and 2% is significant but this is far from the popular impression of the risks associated with buying diamonds. Kimberley Process is the most successful UN initiative of this type EVER and I think it’s a mistake to completely discount it because of this margin. Zero is not a reasonable standard for the same reasons that zero is not the standard for rat hair in food or uranium in the air. By buying diamonds through legitimate channels who participate in Kimberley, there is a 99.8% chance that you are contributing to prosperity of workers and their families in South Africa, Botswana, India, Israel, the United States and many other communities throughout the world. Hundreds of thousands of people owe their livelyhood and that of their families to the diamond industry. Frankly, I wish I could be this confident with all of my purchases.


At the same time, it’s worth noting that it is unreasonable to assume that the criminals responsible for that 0.2% will choose to distribute their ill-gotten gains through African channels. They might, but they are just as likely to get them cut in Asia and smuggle them into channels as diverse as the Ukraine, Canada Israel or India. Criminals can be pretty clever and then that 'legitimate channels' qualifier I gave above is important. Buying from back alley type sellers will significantly increase your changes of getting a stone of dubious origin. Make it clear to your jeweler that price is not your only criteria and that you insist that they do their part to contribute to the solution rather than to the problem if they want to earn your business.


Avoiding Africa won’t help, and boycotting legitimate African products is doing the people of Africa more harm than good because it leaves them with only the criminal channels as a way to feed themselves and their families. Buy a synthetic if you want, but don't pretend that it's helping anyone in Africa because of your purchase.




You can read more about Kimberley at www.kimberleyprocess.org, www.diamondfacts.org and www.globalwitness.org.

Edited by denverappraiser
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