Most of us are fascinated with diamonds, even if we don’t have any real diamond jewelry. They’re rare, valuable, and beautiful – but are they environmentally friendly?
Unfortunately, this isn’t an easy question to answer. But let’s take a look at all the variables we can.
Problems With Diamond Mining
The act of mining diamonds can be destructive in more than one way.
Diamond mining can cause many forms of environmental damage, such as:
1. Soil erosion
Improper mining procedures can lead to soil erosion, changing the landscape and making it harder for plants to grow naturally.
For some mines, it becomes necessary to reshape the environment before operations can begin. Accordingly, diamond mining is responsible for deforestation in many countries.
3. Loss of habitats
The creation and operation of diamond mines sometimes requires major changes to natural features, such as streams and rivers. In some cases, it’s necessary to divert these water sources or eliminate them so the mine can become operational. Because of this, and because of the other effects of diamond mining, the industry is occasionally responsible for loss of habitats. In extreme cases, it can lead to the entire collapse of an ecosystem.
4. Health risks
The aftermath of diamond mining can pose health risks not only for people involved in the mining directly, but also people living near the mines. For example, a devastated environment with standing water could attract hordes of mosquitoes, which in turn, can be responsible for outbreaks of infectious diseases.
There are other ethical concerns related to diamond mining as well, including the mistreatment of human laborers and the exploitation of developing countries. However, as these are not directly tied to environmental impact, we will be leaving them out of the rest of this discussion.
It’s also important to realize that the environmental impact of diamond mining is somewhat under our control. If done properly, with the right precautions, it’s possible to mine diamonds without destroying the local environment. Some countries have imposed new, powerful laws to influence how diamond mines are operated, and many diamond producers have taken it upon themselves to operate with greater respect for the environment. If you know where to look, you can find diamonds that were mined and distributed ethically.
Alternatives to Diamonds
If you want to remove yourself from the equation entirely, and minimize your environmental impact as much as possible, consider one or more of these diamond alternatives:
There’s a reason why lab grown diamond engagement rings have become so popular. Lab-grown diamonds are functionally and aesthetically identical to natural diamonds, but they’re much more abundant, they’re far cheaper, and they don’t carry the same environmental impact that mined diamonds do. You’ll need to consider the environmental impact of this type of diamond as well, since labs do use significant energy, but for the most part, lab-grown diamonds are more environmentally friendly.
2. Alternative stones
If you still want a stone for an engagement ring or a similarly important piece of jewelry, you should know that diamonds aren’t your only option. Certain gemstones, like rubies, emeralds, and sapphires, are just as beautiful, but they aren’t as expensive or as rare as natural diamonds. Understand that different gemstones have different levels of rarity and accessibility, so it’s hard to make a blanket statement about their general environmental impact. Make sure you do your research on each stone you consider – and keep in mind that many of these stones can be created in a lab like diamonds.
3. Secondhand jewelry
If you have your heart set on a natural diamond, don’t worry; there are some other options available to you. For example, if you want to minimize your impact as much as possible, it might benefit you to purchase secondhand jewelry. These diamonds have already been mined and introduced to the world, so you won’t be supporting an industry focused on introducing new diamonds to the market.
4. Recycled and unique jewelry
There’s no reason you have to go to a mainstream jeweler to get your most important jewelry; you can make just as big of an impact with recycled or unique types of jewelry. For example, have you considered making your own ring?
The ethics of diamond mining are complex. With the proper regulations and proper procedures in place, it’s entirely possible to mine new diamonds without causing a significant environmental impact or resulting in health or wellness issues for the people mining them.
At the same time, many diamond mines throughout the world are operating in an unregulated or unenforced manner, resulting in devastation. Before buying any diamond jewelry, or any jewelry at all, you should be aware of the impact of what you’re buying; it’s on you as an educated consumer to make the best decision you can.
Article Submitted By Community Writer
Dr Prem Community Writer October 4, 2022 at 04:59PM