Why Growing Diamonds is Sustainable and Environmentally Superior to Mined Diamonds

Are lab grown diamonds eco-friendly?

Sustainable (adj) - a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged

The mining of diamonds out of the Earth is by definition not sustainable and is getting less sustainable every year. Over 6 billion carats of diamonds have been extracted from the Earth since antiquity, whereas only 1.2 billion carats of mineable diamonds are estimated to remain in the Earth today according to the public filings of the De Beers and the other large diamond mining companies. In other words, diamonds are forever, but diamond mines are not. 

While mining diamonds requires diesel and dynamite, growing diamonds only requires carbon and electricity.  Because carbon is abundant and electricity can be sourced from renewable sources, laboratory-grown diamonds are truly sustainable.

Carbon

NASA estimates that there are 65 trillion tonnes of carbon on Earth, which is far more carbon than required to fulfill humanity's demand for diamonds for centuries. The carbon required for diamond growth is abundantly available.

Electricity

 Solar Power Plant - Image Credit:  Mansouraboud68  /  CC-BY-SA-4.0

Solar Power Plant - Image Credit: Mansouraboud68 / CC-BY-SA-4.0

It requires approximately 750 kilowatt hours of electricity to grow a 1 carat diamond. That same amount of electricity could power the average US household for 25 days or allow you to drive a Tesla Model S approximately 2,000 miles.

Just as Google, Facebook, and Apple have moved their server farms to locations where they are powered by renewable energy, diamonds can be grown anywhere in the world there is clean energy available because the finished product is quite light, easy to ship, and has a shelf life of … forever.

Thus, areas with abundant solar, hydro, geothermal, or wind energy, such as the Mojave Desert, the Columbia River Valley, Iceland, and Scotland, can create diamond ‘greenhouses’ or ‘gigafactories’ near their renewable energy sources. Many of Ada's suppliers are already using renewable energy to grow diamonds, and more are actively building production facilities, such as a hydropowered diamond production facility under construction in Washington State.

EnvironmentalJason Payne