Just this week, yet another industry expert added her voice to the mix, again in the form of a letter, explaining why the demonised natural diamond industry could in fact be a powerful tool for ethical change in the wider world.
Here, Professional Jeweller gives the floor to Green Rocks – one of the largest producers of laboratory-grown diamonds and a pilot grower in SCS Global’s new sustainability certification for the diamond sector – to give its perhaps surprising thoughts on the continuing debate of the ethical and environmental impacts of natural versus laboratory-grown diamonds.
“This discord between natural and laboratory-grown diamonds is a damaging one and it’s disappointing to still see many groups perpetuating a misleading narrative,” commented Leon Peres, CEO of Green Rocks. “The larger issue is being missed here and this in-fighting helps neither side sell diamonds.”
Firstly, Peres noted how it is impossible and irrelevant to compare the production process of a 1ct laboratory-grown diamond with that of a 1ct natural diamond. “The end result is the same: two beautiful diamonds that are chemically, optically and structurally identical to one another and graded in the same way by IGI & GIA,” he said. “But the production is worlds apart.
“How can you compare, for example, the data on land displacement between a laboratory-grown and natural diamond when only one has a measurable metric for that data and the other has none?
“Of course, in that scenario the laboratory-grown diamond will come out looking the ‘greener’ of the two, but the data can be skewed the other way to be more favourable for mined diamonds depending on who is publishing the report.”
IT’S DISAPPOINTING TO STILL SEE MANY GROUPS PERPETUATING A MISLEADING NARRATIVE.”
Continuing, Peres added: “It’s a fruitless argument. We should be looking at what individuals are doing to practice responsible, sustainable methods and this is why I am especially proud to say that Green Rocks has worked closely with SCS Global on their Certified Sustainability Rated Diamond (SCS 007).
“It is the industry’s first fully independent standard for Diamond Sustainability Claims, and we are proud that we were one of the growers in the pilot audit for this certification.”
Meanwhile, Stanley Mathuram, executive vice president at SCS Global Services, added his voice to this, saying: “Certified Sustainability Rated Diamond is a new, third-party certification designed to provide a fair and balanced assessment of all gemstone-quality diamonds, including both natural and laboratory-grown stones.
“SCS-007 has been developed under a multi-stakeholder consensus process and applies the industry’s most stringent, independently verified origin traceability assurance protocols from source to market, as well as comprehensive criteria addressing ethical stewardship, climate neutrality, sustainable production practices and sustainability investments that extend well beyond other standards in the market and providing individual diamond certificates.”
Mathuram added: “SCS 007 establishes a clear roadmap for producers committed to a sustainability journey and assures the transparency and performance that consumers are demanding.”
Mathuram continued to make the point that this certification is not a direct comparison between natural and laboratory-grown diamonds.
He explained that issues related to social and environmental impacts are quite different for laboratory-grown and natural diamonds and must be handled with respect to each category.
“Comparing a composite of mines to all growers is inappropriate and misleading,” Mathuram said. “Different mines and labs have very different environmental performance profiles and hence should be assessed to meet the requirements for that category under the SCS 007 standard.
“Making quantitative comparisons based on inadequate, selective, incomplete processes, differing technology and generic data (mines and lab-grown) is completely misleading.”
THE LARGER ISSUE IS BEING MISSED HERE AND THIS IN-FIGHTING HELPS NEITHER SIDE SELL DIAMONDS.”
Leon Peres added: “Going through this audit has been years of work for us at Green Rocks, but we are committed to doing the right thing and moving in the right direction. We aim to represent the best in our industry and there is no doubt in my mind that working closely with SCS on this certification is the way to do this.”
“I’m thrilled to say that Stanley will be joining us on a webinar on Thursday, 10 June at 4pm GMT to discuss in further detail what the SCS 007 standard is, what pillars producers need to reach to achieve the certification and time for a Q&A session at the end for jewellers.
“Our last webinar had excellent feedback from our retailers and by popular demand they wanted to delve deeper into the sustainability angle of laboratory-grown diamonds.”
To register for the next webinar on Thursday, 10 June, click the link below. Pre-registration is required to be sent your unique invite code prior to the session.
For more information on the SCS-007 certification or to contact the team visit: