The world’s largest jewellery maker has sparked a debate about ethical mining and the Northwest Territories’ struggling diamond industry is at the centre.
he diamond industry is defending the ethics of mined diamonds after Danish company Pandora announced last week it would use only lab-grown products. Pandora said a combination of renewables and offsets will make its synthetic diamonds carbon-neutral.
Global jewellery organizations responded to Pandora’s announcement in a joint news release arguing the company had smeared natural diamonds by presenting the “misleading narrative” that lab-grown diamonds are an “ethical” alternative to gems pulled from the ground.
It might seem surprising that a multi-billion-dollar industry felt compelled to respond to one news release from one jewellery maker, but the question of what makes a diamond ethical sits at the core of the mined product. It’s also likely to determine whether synthetic alternatives will impact NWT diamond mines in the future.
Synthetic or lab-grown diamonds have the same physical properties as natural diamonds but are made in a lab by recreating the extreme heat and pressure found deep beneath the earth’s surface. They can be made in a fraction of the time – just weeks compared to billions of years.
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