When I am not writing for CleanTechnica, I am diving into my magical world of gems and minerals and sometimes both worlds collide. This is one of those times. One of my friends on Twitter shared the post below with me and I immediately fell in love.
— Seeker (@Seeker) February 4, 2021
Skydiamond, a company based in the UK, aims to revolutionize the traditional diamond mining industry by using carbon capture technology. The new “zero impact diamond” is made from a process that pulls carbon dioxide from the air. Diamonds trap modest amounts of carbon with one carat containing just 200 milligrams. But by using carbon from the atmosphere to create diamonds, Skydiamond’s technology turns a negative into a positive.
Skydiamond was created by Dale Vince, an entrepreneur, and environmentalist whose work focuses on three big sectors that are fueling the climate crisis. These are energy, transportation, and food. Dale was inspired to create Skydiamond while trying to solve the issue of CO2 in the atmosphere. He wanted to find a way to remove it on a planetary scale and in a more permanent way.
Diamonds are the ultimate form of carbon, and this led to the idea of taking carbon from the atmosphere and making diamonds with it. Imagine an ICE vehicle emitting diamonds instead of toxic fumes. Although the diamond would be made from the toxic fumes, that visual image popped into my head.
The Diamond Making Process
These diamonds are made from the sun, rain, wind, and CO2. One important aspect of its process is the avoidance of mining the earth. There is no mining, therefore Skydiamond is able to avoid the carbon footprint than those in the gem and mineral industry leave behind. This includes the poisoning of the land and water as well as the air.
“Everything used to make a Skydiamond comes from the sky — including something we have too much of, CO2.” — Skydiamond
It took five years of research and development for Skydiamond to perfect its process of turning atmospheric carbon into actual diamonds. I’m sure this wasn’t what Rihanna had in mind with her song Diamonds in the Sky, but all the same, I think this is pretty awesome. Right now, the website didn’t have a way for someone to buy or even invest in the company. I would love to have Dale on my gem and mineral podcast, Getting Stoned, where we could talk more about the process of creating the gemstone and the price.
For those in the gem trade, Skydiamonds are made in various sizes. One carat or larger sized gems come with an IGI certification.
The Impacts of Diamond Mining
Skydiamond noted that diamond mining displaces around 143 billion tonnes of the earth every year. It burns fossil fuels and pumps CO2 into the atmosphere while polluting water sources in the process. Honestly, I hate this part about the gem and mineral and jewelry industry.
Another thing the diamond mining industry is notorious for is child labor, conflict diamonds, exploitation of workers, displacement of indigenous people, and dangerous conditions. Tavin McLeavitte wrote the report, Diamond Mining: Harmful to the Environment, and in that report, McLeavitt noted that the diamond mining industry directly affects an estimated 10 million people globally. There is a total of eleven nations that are considered major producers and the industry has a long history of abusing human rights and exploiting workers.
During the mining process — and this applies to all mines, not just diamonds — the soil, water, and the air surrounding the mine become contaminated with pollution. The process of removing the soil along the coast will forever change the shorelines, for example, but soil removing is a must for mining. It also affects the water supply and quality. Water, which is a scarce resource in Africa where many of the world’s diamond mines are, is used to extract diamonds.
Africa is actually a source of many different minerals — many popular gems come from Africa. I once met someone whose relatives owned several mines in Botswana and he specialized in tourmalines, chrysoberyls, morganite, and several others. I actually got to look at a morganite that was worth well over $10,000 in carat weight.
The mining industry is really harsh on our planet, however gems and minerals have been in high demand for millennia and I don’t see that demand slowing down anytime soon. However, there is another type of demand, a demand for sustainability in this industry, and I think Skydiamond will do well along with inspiring other brands and companies to either create sustainably synthetic gems or at least implement innovative technology in the mining process, making it where we don’t pollute the land, air, and water in order to extract gems and minerals.
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