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At a time where large manufacturers are being scrutinized for their ethical and socially responsible supply chains, some iconic industries seem to have transcended, so far, this global imperative. Wrapping the product with the magic of scarcity, authenticity and natural beauty of the gems, traditional diamond producers have sold romance alongside stones, to such a point that the romantic cloak concealed the necessary questions consumers ought to ask with respect to sourcing, supply chain and impact.

But today, things could change with alternative production processes: lab-grown diamonds. A California based startup coined the process to make authentic-like gems, selling at one third less price. The stones are created from a tiny cell that goes through a chain of transformation steps to grow into a fine, equally attractive final product. According to the inventors, a jeweler would be unable to distinguish between the naturally produced and the lab-grown gems.

What this means to the industry? Debatable feelings about what the “grown” diamonds mean to their consumers, correct. But most importantly, more clarity about the ethical, social and environmental conditions under which those gems were created. The entirely traceable production process gives now more legitimacy to grown diamonds and will inevitably trigger a serious debate about why we should continue purchasing the unique, scarce, magical…and questionable natural diamonds.

More info >> The Economist

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