By Bailey Hopp
If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.
Loose lab-grown diamonds and gem stones. MiaDonna
Lab-grown diamond engagement rings. MiaDonna<p>"One is that the major five producers of natural diamonds speculated that there will be no natural diamond production after 2050 because they've run out of profitable deposits. Reason two is that for the last 10 years, we've been sought out by people, Millennials, who want to buy something that doesn't come out of the earth, who care about the earth and the damage we've created," he adds.</p><p>When it comes to the effects related to the social and humanitarian issues of mining diamonds, lab-grown diamonds also have the upper hand here. In a recent case announced last month, the <a href="https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/national-media-release/cbp-issues-detention-orders-against-companies-suspected-using-forced" target="_blank">U.S. Customs and Border Protection</a> (CBP) admitted that gold from artisanal mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and rough diamonds mined from Marange Diamond Fields in Zimbabwe are "produced, in whole or in part, using forced labor." </p><p>The CBP stated that they would issue Withhold Release Orders for gold mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and rough diamonds mined from Marange, Zimbabwe, along with 3 other products believed to be produced using forced labor. Additionally, in a 2017 report from the <a href="http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/607311509663221201/pdf/Concept-Project-Information-Document-Integrated-Safeguards-Data-Sheet.pdf" target="_blank">World Bank</a> on extractive industries in Sierra Leone, research found that 'it's estimated that approximately 300,000 Sierra Leoneans are directly employed at artisanal mining operations.' </p><p>Although the diamond industry is expansive and abundant in many countries across Africa, it's rare that these artisanal mines enforce proper labor laws and environmental standards.</p>
Custom MiaDonna lab-grown diamond engagement ring. MiaDonna<p> In a recent <a href="https://earther.gizmodo.com/beyond-the-hype-of-lab-grown-diamonds-1834890351" target="_blank">Gizmodo</a> article, GIA's James Shipley said that advancements in the lab-grown diamond industry has only really taken off in the last five years or so, when the mainstream jewelry sector began taking notice. The <a href="https://www.theigda.org/" target="_blank">International Grown Diamond Association</a> (IGDA), a non-profit organization formed in 2016 by a <a href="https://www.theigda.org/members" target="_blank">dozen</a> lab diamond growers and sellers, now has about 50 members, according to IGDA Secretary General, Dick Garard. When the IGDA first formed, lab-grown diamonds were estimated to represent about <a href="https://www.morganstanley.com/ideas/diamond-market-lab-grown-disruption" target="_blank">1 percent</a> of a $14 billion rough diamond market. </p><p> This year, industry analyst Paul Zimnisky estimates they account for 2-3 percent of the market. He expects that share will only continue to grow as factories in China that already produce millions of carats a year for industrial purposes start to see an opportunity in jewelry. Zimnisky also <a href="https://5b16c634-a-8b9f6598-s-sites.googlegroups.com/a/paulzimnisky.com/paul-zimnisky/Jeweller%20Magazine%20-%20December%202018%2C%20PP%2032-33%2C%20Paul%20Zimnisky.pdf?attachauth=ANoY7crF_76zEujmBNhEZwCdCTFYygwqvs9ZPmRKxc9bn2NTsmLUk9hdFpt5wmTm5-1UjXgqJ8i3wFe0WUr8dKbkN2k7-nnyQL20shVtlHZBJb6Bke-PMyYOzTM2IBlOWxr0P-rkjGFvRPBFRQSmoc4RlzynNiHN8LHdQyEEWGGk83jZZduPu5hPDPC8lHCxvIOAPWCi5Y5ENeZQJEOxK6KoDRQKkoaSiFcGAJz6AiokfTXn2GPjRI5MuCD1z8praQuwxvRyqZKAxHXZ9KlO7qZQG1uQFlUWVPh3w1m3wtljQ1TKtRoB0v8%3D&attredirects=0" target="_blank">estimates</a> that lab-created diamond market shares in the fashion jewelry market are forecasted to grow to almost 7 percent by 2035. </p><p> MiaDonna, specifically, was founded with a single objective in mind: to offer consumers a beautiful, ethical and affordable diamond alternative which in turn, would support <a href="http://thegreenerdiamond.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">The Greener Diamond</a> to help free innocent children oppressed by the active conflict diamond mining industry. With every order placed at MiaDonna, they give back at least 10% of net profits to directly fund projects and initiatives to help local communities have alternative career paths to mining in countries such as Sierra Leone and Liberia. They aren't here to just sell consumers lab-grown diamonds, they're here to rebuild the lives and land damaged by diamond mining and provide better, safer and more sustainable options for those who would otherwise be involved in the conflict diamond industry. </p>
The Greener Diamond Farm Project. MiaDonna<p> In addition, this year MiaDonna became a <a href="https://bcorporation.net/directory/mia-donna-company" target="_blank">Certified B Corporation</a>, which takes into account the company's overall social and environmental performance and evaluates how its operations and business model impact not only their own employees, but also the community, environment and customers. On top of their B Corp efforts, MiaDonna uses only recycled precious metals for all of their engagement ring settings, all of their jewelry is handcrafted in the U.S.A. and they even created an eco-friendly jewelry cleaner using a non-toxic formula that is both environmentally safe and packaged in a fully recyclable, grade 1 container. Learn more about MiaDonna <a href="https://www.miadonna.com/pages/about-us" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">here</a> and shop all lab-grown jewelry, engagement rings and accessories. </p><p> Whatever your personal preference may be when it comes to diamonds, lab-grown diamonds are here, and they're here to stay. By being an active, conscious consumer and doing your research into the products you're purchasing and the companies you're purchasing from, you'll have full control over what best fits your needs and desires. There will always be two sides to every coin, but with the resources available for consumers to make their own educated decisions on choosing their diamond, the power is in the people. </p>