WHY CULTURED DIAMONDS?
The diamond mining industry’s reputation has been less than ideal as it is very difficult to control a supply chain with diamonds that exchange so many hands. Mined diamonds originating from unethical sources get mixed into batches of allegedly conflict-free diamonds all the time. With the introduction of cultured diamonds into the market, these have also been mixed into batches of mined diamonds for years now, but instead of explaining their advantage to the customer in terms of sustainability and pricing, they have been sold as mined to make a higher margin at the customer's expense, a totally fraudulent practice.
At Lark & Berry we think long term, so from day one we decided to exclusively use cultured diamonds, grown above ground, no diamond mining needed, and be 100% open and clear about this. We want our customers to know exactly what they are buying and to be proud of their choice.
HOW CAN DIAMONDS BE GROWN? ARE THEY REAL DIAMONDS?
Yes, cultured diamonds are 100% diamonds. Cultured diamonds are created in a process which exactly replicates how diamonds form naturally in a mine: by application of severe heat and pressure to carbon.
Once you have your rough diamond, you then have to cut and polish it like you would a mined diamond. That’s the basics, anyway! Chemically, optically, physically—no matter which metric you want to use to measure, these cultured diamonds are absolutely no different than mined diamonds. Their hardness, refractive index and gravity is also the same. In some cases, cultured diamonds rate as even more pure than mined diamonds! Jewelers and gemologists cannot distinguish them from their mined counterparts. It’s truly amazing!
OK, I GET YOU SO FAR… BUT ONE THING, YOU SAID SOMETIMES CULTURED IS BETTER THAN MINED?
Yes! That’s the best part! The process of growing a diamond in a controlled setting is not only cleaner, it also forms the purest category of diamond, that of “Type IIa.” This category of diamond is so rare in nature that only 2% of mined diamonds found are of this superior quality.
BUT SURELY, EXPERTS COULD TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CULTURED AND MINED…
Nope! To the naked eye or even with the strongest loupe, it’s impossible to tell the difference, because both diamonds are literally of the same optic and chemical structure.
WHAT IS SO ENVIRONMENTALLY BENEFICIAL WITH THE CULTURING PROCESS?
There are so many ecological benefits to culturing versus mining! With diamond-mining, you get erosion, sinkholes, general destruction of planet and animal life all around the site, contamination of soil, surface and ground water, leaking chemicals—the list goes on. Not to mention human rights abuses and unfair wages of people native to the areas where many diamonds are mined.
Guess how many of these you get with culturing diamonds in controlled settings? NONE.
WHY THE LACK OF AWARENESS ABOUT CULTURED DIAMONDS? THIS SOUNDS LIKE IT SHOULD BE A BIG DEAL!
Believe me, we know! We’re certainly working to change that!
We’ve personally met senior jewelers with a wealth of experience in this industry who weren’t aware of the culturing process. When they find out this is an option, they get excited too and share the news with associates and customers. Our breakout success with the launch of the Lark & Berry online market (before our store even opened!) signals that people are choosing this alternative and that they’re hungry for a classy, beautiful, sustainable change. People want a safer, cleaner planet and products that reflect that care. We’ve had so many customers thank us for doing things differently!
WHAT ABOUT PRICES. DID I HEAR YOU SAY CULTURED IS MORE AFFORDABLE THAN MINED, AND YET BETTER? HOW DOES THAT MAKE SENSE!
With cultured diamonds, there’s no monopoly on the market as there is with mined diamonds. The mined-diamond companies of old set all those crazy-high diamond prices to which you’ve been accustomed. Let them have their high prices for the exact same products! We want Lark & Berry diamonds to be hip, cool, luxurious yet priced fairly for everyone who wants high-end jewelry. This is our number one credo!
I LIKE SUSTAINABILITY… I WANT MORE INFO ON ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF CULTURED DIAMOND CREATION. WHERE ARE THEY PRODUCED? YOU SAY THEY’RE SIGNIFICANTLY MORE ECO-FRIENDLY THAN MINED DIAMONDS… HOW IS THIS QUANTIFIED? I WANT NUMBERS!
First, let’s talk emissions! Let’s put the CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions of culturing vs. mining into perspective:
The process required of mining just a single 1 carat diamond produces the same amount of CO2 as a Mini Cooper Countryman car driving from London to Prague: approximately 57,000 grams of CO2.
Culturing a diamond of the same carat weight produces a mere 0.028 GRAMS of CO2. Forget about road trips, our Mini powered by culturing isn’t even leaving the driveway. Matter of fact, leave the Mini and hop in a Tesla—that’s the better car metaphor for culturing! By the way, a human personally expels more CO2 in a day than is produced by a culturing single carat diamond.*
Now to some numbers and stats! Culturing diamonds is both environmentally and human kind:
- 99% less carbon emissions produced
- 99% less minerals wasted
- 85% less water used
- 53% less energy consumed
- 100% conflict-free
- No Bonded Labor
- No Child Labor
[*Figures quoted per carat weight. Sources: “Environmental Impact Analysis - Production of Rough Diamond Environmental Impact Assessment” Frost & Sullivan; Brian Farley, Molecular and Cell Biology Postdoc, UC Berkeley, Contributor to Forbes & HuffPost; NextGreenCar.com]
OK, OK… FAIR POINTS. BUT WHAT’S YOUR RESPONSE TO THE ARGUMENT THAT, WHILE CHEMICALLY IDENTICAL, CULTURED DIAMONDS DON'T CARRY THE SAME HISTORICAL, EMOTIONAL AND SYMBOLIC SIGNIFICANCE OF NATURAL STONES?
It is well known that one group has controlled the diamond supply chain for most of the last century, as well as the marketing blurb around it. We’ve been led emotionally to think of diamonds as the ultimate engagement piece… but this is a lot of hot air. It was merely a man who told us this. Actually, two men have been working the diamond-buying public’s emotions: De Beers company president Harry Oppenheimer and N. W. Ayer & Son advertising agency’s main man, Gerold Lauck. Their mined diamond marketing ploys were hatched in 1938 due to the falling price of their product.
When’s the last time you were wearing a diamond or saw one on someone else and asked where it was mined AND how long it had grown? We’re gonna assume never! These are ancient, out of fashion values and facts are facts: Cultured diamonds are just as beautiful if not more than mined. And less expensive! And the cherry on top: they are SO MUCH safer on the environment!
Quite simply, the historical, emotional and symbolic significance we put on mined stones is man-made. These are old, outdated, and hardly sustainable ways to be thinking. It’s time to start fresh with new upstarts on the cutting edge of cool like Lark & Berry, who support all eco-friendly advancements in all industries.
WHO BUYS JEWELRY WITH CULTURED DIAMONDS?
- People who love high-quality, luxurious jewelry that can be worn for everyday or for an elegant night out.
- People who have just learned or are open to the disruption of the mined diamond industry and want to support products that help the Earth and that are conflict free and sustainable.
- People who are independent; who want to buy themselves beautiful gold and diamond jewelry without having to mortgage a house for them, or who don’t want to wait for a once-in-a-lifetime event—which through advertising, the diamond companies of old have gotten us to believe is the only time we deserve diamonds. Cultured diamonds are for everyone and are priced accordingly!