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- Clean Origin
- During the summer of 2018, the Federal Trade Commission changed a specification that diamonds must be “natural” in origin, allowing lab-grown diamonds to be certified the same as mined stones.
- Clean Origin diamonds cost an average of 30% less than comparable, naturally occurring diamonds mined from the earth.
- Lab-created diamonds are significantly more environmentally friendly than mined diamonds and are guaranteed to be conflict-free.
Whether you’re proposing to your partner, looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for your spouse, or treating yourself to a seriously special, well, treat, at some point in your life, you’re probably going to buy a diamond. And as a diamond is one of the physically smallest, yet highest-priced items you can buy, the purchase isn’t to be made carelessly.
High-quality diamonds are stunning and will be cherished for a lifetime, whether set into an engagement ring, as earrings, in a bracelet, and so forth, but these lovely stones come can come with some uglier facets.
First, there’s the challenge of finding a high-quality stone in the first place, one with excellent clarity, minimal inclusions, a perfect cut, and so on. Then, of course, there’s the price of that fine diamond you finally found. Next come the ethical concerns; diamond mining is far from an environmentally friendly process, with the mines ravaging land and consuming vast amounts of water. And unfortunately, many diamonds are mined by people working in abjectly wretched conditions, in the worst case working in conflict zones with bloodletting funded by the stones produced.
Still, all those factors considered, many consumers insist on getting their fiancé-to-be or cherished partner a “real” diamond, one certified as genuine by a recognized organization and inspected for quality.
Last summer, the Federal Trade Commission did diamond buyers a major favor by fundamentally changing their definition of what a diamond is.
The FTC removed one word from this sentence: “A natural mineral consisting essentially of pure carbon crystallized in the isometric system.” The word removed was “natural.” Overnight, lab-grown diamonds were being recognized as of the same quality – as having the same physical and chemical qualities – as a diamond pulled from the earth.
Not only was that good news for buyers, it was great news for the company Clean Origin. All at once, the superior-quality jewels they had already been creating in their laboratory could be officially recognized as what they are: nearly flawless diamonds.
Frankly, it was good news for me, too, because I wanted to get my wife a lovely gift last Christmas.
The shopping process with Clean Origin is remarkably simple and straightforward; they make buying diamonds online about as easy as ordering a replacement filter for your fridge or a pair of shoes for your kid. (I know, because I also ordered both of those recently.) On their site, you’ll find ready-to-ship items like diamond earrings (choose the stone size, the setting style and metal color, and head to check out) as well as fully customizable options. (Heads-up: they have 245 different options for engagement rings, so set aside some time for browsing.)
If you want help with the process, call them up or start a live chat right then and there. If making such a major purchase online makes you uneasy, don’t worry so much: Your order comes complete with the exact same official certifications you would get when buying such goods in any reputable jewelry store – and when buying mined diamonds, no less.
But are lab-grown diamonds really the equal of mined stones? Yes, they really are. I’ve held the proof in my hands.
When it comes to the cutting and polishing a lab-grown diamond, the processes are identical as with a natural diamond. The inspection and rating processes are the same with both types of stones, too, which are indistinguishable from one another once in their finished state, and that’s both on an aesthetic and molecular level. It’s the process leading up to the cutting, polishing, inspecting, and ultimate sale of an engineered diamond that makes all the difference in environmental impact, ethics of production, and price.
- Clean Origin
Clean Origin sells diamonds produced using two separate techniques. One is called Chemical Vapor Deposition and involves heating and then ionizing a carbon rich gas (methane, e.g.) so intensely that it breaks apart into its elements, with the released carbon then crystallizing around a minute “diamond seed” placed in the heart of a sealed chamber. The other approach, High Pressure High Temperature production, uses pure carbon heated to more than 2,730ºF and subjected to more than 1.5 million pounds of pressure per square inch, thereby recreating the immense natural forces that create a diamond underground.
Both the CVD and HPHT production processes result in stunning stones. Those stones now come with a complete Grading Summary certificate from the International Gemological Institute just as natural diamonds have for years. They are subjected to the same scrutiny during inspection and rated using all the same metrics and terms as their natural counterparts, they simply cost less because the great expense of operating a diamond mine, the costs of transport, the broker fees, and all the rest of it are taken out of the equation.
I’d say giving a gift that comes with peace of mind thanks to zero ethical issues is worth a little extra. But in this case, it will actually cost you about 30% less than a natural diamond.