Can Lab-Grown Diamonds Disrupt the Billion Dollar Diamond Industry?

Can man-made diamonds grown in a laboratory shake up the long-established industry for traditional mined diamonds? Bespoke fine jewelers, Ada Diamonds, are determined to try.

Disrupting the billion dollars global diamond industry is no mean feat. However, Ada Diamonds, a bespoke fine jeweler of exclusively laboratory-grown diamonds, is determined to try.

Ada Diamonds is a Silicon Valley start-up founded by husband and wife team, Lindsay Reinsmith and Jason Payne, who got married in 2011 and were determined not to purchase a diamond from DeBeers or any other company using mined diamonds that were most likely to have been sourced from a conflict zone.

Instead, the couple decided to design and create a custom engagement ring using man-made diamonds grown in a laboratory. Unfortunately, their initial attempts to source such synthetic precious gems were difficult and confusing.

photo credit: ADA Diamonds

Seeing an opportunity to simplify the process and make lab-grown diamonds more easily-accessible for everyone, the couple founded Ada Diamonds.

Ada Diamonds launched in 2015 with two grandiose visions: the cessation of the unnecessary evils of diamond mining and the acceleration of the Diamond Age of Humanity.

Synthetic diamonds are diamonds. They’re not fakes. They have all the same physical & chemical properties of a mined diamond

Stephen ­Morisseau, Director, Gemological Institute of America (GIA)

However, the company’s primary goal is creating unique, bespoke jewelry pieces using only laboratory-grown diamonds. The company refuses to sell inferior materials such as cubic zirconia or moissanite. Instead, they focus exclusively on cultured diamonds and creating exquisitely custom jewelry pieces using only ethically sourced precious metals.

Why The Diamond’s Source Matters

The majority of diamond retailers have no idea where their mined diamonds were originally sourced. Unfortunately, many of the regions renowned for diamond mining are also areas immured in conflict, located within war zones, or rife with warlord activities. In some cases, the money raised from mining diamonds in those regions is used to fund insurgency or oppression, fund military action, or fuel civil wars.

The United Nations defines the term ‘blood diamonds’ to describe diamonds that come from areas controlled by forces opposed to legitimate or recognized governments.

By comparison, the origin of lab-grown diamonds is guaranteed to be of known origin, as they are grown by companies using safe, clean working conditions and where employees are treated fairly. Cultured diamonds are also guaranteed to be conflict-free and have no connections with the blood diamond trade.

Are Lab-Grown Diamonds As Good as Mined Diamonds?

Diamonds grown in a laboratory are not a new concept. In fact, the first lab-grown diamonds were created around 60 years ago to fill a shortfall in diamond grit during World War II.

Since that time, the lab-grown diamond market remained limited to high-tech industries and applications, such as laser lenses, surgical knives, semi-conductors or water purification systems.

However, it wasn’t until 2012 that laboratories were able to create gemstone quality diamonds above 1 carat successfully.  The diamonds are made using pure carbon and are not a hybrid of different elements, nor are they carbon simulants.

Lab diamonds are grown in recreated conditions of nature, so they’re not all perfect. In fact, not all of them are colorless or flawless, but they do have the same variances in color, clarity and size as mined diamonds. They also have fewer impurities and defects as compared to mined diamonds.

The overall effect is that Ada Diamonds are whiter, brighter and stronger than the rough diamonds cut from massive holes in the ground.  Diamonds can also be customized in a range of colors, including white, pink, gray and black.

The founders of Ada Diamonds use only the finest quality lab-grown diamonds to create custom-made fine jewelry that is made-to-order, so each completed piece is as unique as each client.

Ada Diamonds’ lab-grown diamonds are physically, chemically and optically identical to mined diamonds, have a transparent conflict-free origin and a sustainable creation source. From start to finish, growing a diamond from ‘seed’ and then cutting and polishing the finished stone can take around eight weeks.

Man-made diamonds are also about 30-40% more affordable than traditional diamonds, so clients can get more bang for their buck, especially when considering the size and clarity of the diamonds available.  

What’s Next for Ada Diamonds?

Co-founder Jason Payne says sales are expected to triple this year, attesting to the popularity of sustainable and customizable diamonds.

At the time of publishing, we haven’t heard back from the company. If new information is provided, we will update the article accordingly.

Full disclosure: Please note that we have received a small donation to objectively review this news item. All thoughts and opinion are our own.

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