Since the first diamond was discovered thousands of years ago, mankind has been mesmerised by these most spectacular and precious of natural gemstones. Revered for their unmatched ability to scintillate and reflect light, their durability, rarity and earth-borne origin ensuring that they have become the most precious of gemstones to this day.
The physical properties of a natural diamond are not their only desirable feature – their precious nature has ensured that a diamond, above all other stones, has become the one true symbol of love – pure, enduring and timeless, a diamond is the ultimate gift of commitment.
Diamonds by their very origin are the rarest gift of mother nature – formed deep in the ancient earth’s core under enormous heat and pressure and found in only a handful of areas in the world ranging from the frozen depths of the Canadian artic zone to the wilds of the African savannah and the Australian outback.
A real diamond is rare, a real diamond is natural and a real diamond is the truest reflection of luxury and commitment.
What is a Synthetic or Lab Grown Diamond?
For several decades the technology has been availableto manufacture a synthetic version of a diamond, primarily as a cheap source of industrial grade material. Due to issues with the colour and clarity of the stones manufactured these were not of a quality suitable for use in jewellery.
Manufacturers of these man made stones have recently refined the production process of making a synthetic stone of a gem colour and clarity that have now become commercially available.
There are two main methods of manufacturing synthetic diamonds – High Pressure/ High Temperature (HPHT) and CVD or chemical vapour deposition. Each of these methods can now produce a carbon crystal with the chemical and physical properties of a diamond in a mass produced factory environment. The synthetic material is then cut and finished in a process that results in a man-made stone resembling a natural diamond.
So Why Not Choose a Synthetic Diamond?
Unlike a natural diamond which is formed by chance in the earth under ancient layers of stone and rockand brought to the surface by natural forces of volcanoes and erosion, man-made diamonds are mass produced in an industrial environment, made at will and are neither rare nor precious. As the manufacturing methods are made more efficient and the capability to produce large quantities of the man-made material is harnessed, the cost of production will fall rendering these stones of little value in the near future.
Natural diamonds are recovered from their birthplace in the natural environment in a small number of minute areas globally. The number of natural diamonds bought to market depends entirely on the discovery of a natural source that can be efficiently recovered. There is a limit to the supply dictated by nature that has not seen any new deposits identified in the past 50 years. Once a new source of natural diamond is identified it will take approximately 20 years to bring a new deposit online for recovery.
THE ENVIRONMENTAL COST
Inaccurately, synthetic stones have been marketed as a ‘green’ alternative to natural diamonds with false claims regarding the lower environmental impact of synthetic diamond production. It is important to clarify that synthetic diamond production consumes massive amounts of electricity to create the required manufacturing conditions. The by-product of the manufacturing process is non degradable industrial waste that cannot be effectively disposed of. Synthetic diamond production generates 3 times the environmental impact of the process of recovering natural diamonds from their source.
THE RAPIDLY DECLINING VALUE
Synthetic diamonds have been misleadingly promoted as an affordable alternative to natural diamonds that are more accessible. Initially synthetic diamond offerings have been priced at a nominal value of roughly 70% of the natural diamond equivalent. It is important to understand that this price has no true basis and is not indicative of the cost of production. It is a price commanded by the company producing the stone and in no way reflects its actual worth.
Over the past 12 months, market forces including the entry of De Beers into the synthetic diamond market, have seen a significant downward correction of the cost and value in a move to correctly reflect the mass produced nature of synthetic stones. De Beers has sought to set an industry standard price of USD $800 per carat for all synthetic diamonds, reflecting their mass manufactured origin that should not in any way be linked to the value of natural diamonds.
As a result, many synthetic diamonds purchased as little as 2 years ago are now worth significantly less than the price they were bought for. This downward trend is likely to continue as the amount of material produced increases in the marketplace. For this reason, synthetic diamonds should not be purchased as a future store of wealth but rather in the same way as other diamond simulants.
THE ETHICAL POSITION
Traditional recovery of natural diamonds from their source has often beenin remote areas inhabited by indigenous communities. The international diamond industry has sought to ensure that mining activity are strictly governed by responsible, and sensitive best practice minimising the impact on the natural environment and the local communities living in the location. Modern diamond mining mandates a social responsibility to remediate the natural environmental and to invest in the local communities it touches by developing infrastructure such as hospitals, transport and housing. Many communities in areas of diamond mining have been significantly enriched through the investment of the diamond industry.
In contrast, the synthetic diamond industry makes no restitution for the impact of the resource intensive manufacturing process. There is no investment made in social or environmental wellbeing of manufacturing locations. Synthetic diamonds are produced by industry for profit maximisation and commercial benefit alone.
BECAUSE THEY ARE ALMOST BUT NOT QUITE A DIAMOND
Synthetic diamonds may have the same chemical structure as their natural counterpart and to the eye may appear as a natural diamond offering the same physically attractive play of light however it is important to remember that only a diamond of natural origin is real, rare and sought after. Like a reproduction of a rare artwork, replica watch or handbag, the mass produced copy may look the same but will never hold the same value or luxury as the real authentic item.
THE POSITION OF DIAMOND GUILD AUSTRALIA AND ITS MEMBERS
Our association founded on an emphatic belief of the importance of ethical and professional sale of diamonds and representing the top diamond professionals in Australia has chosen not to promote or sell synthetic diamond products.
We believe that this category of diamond alternative product is not sold nor promoted in an ethical manner. As a product category, synthetic diamonds do not represent a viable proposition that can be sold in good faith with the belief that the product will retain its value.
Diamond Guild Australia chooses to promote and sell only natural diamonds, guaranteed as to their origin and ethical source. We value natural diamonds for their beauty, rarity, individuality and how they inspire us. We believe only natural diamonds are worthy of symbolising love and important moments in life. We will only offer our clients natural diamonds because we have confidence in their ability to bring true joy and luxury to the wearer.
The members of Diamond Guild Australia are proud to only offer their clientele the finest quality, ethically sourced natural diamonds, guaranteed for their authenticity and hand selected for their beauty by trained diamond professionals.
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