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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Guest Blog: A Green Girl's Best Friend?

Guest blogger Flaxen Curls takes over for today. I'm still working on the thesis but thought this was an interesting idea...

We've all heard about the human rights issues surrounding conflict diamonds, and we know that their price is inflated by the De Beers company that hoardes them so tightly. Canadian diamonds are being touted as the magic conflict-free solution, but what about their environmental impact? Diamond mining is still a very destructive process - lakes and rivers are drained and destroyed, animal habitats are lost, the mines are fuelled with millions of litres of diesel each year, roads and airstrips and power plants are built, and in the end you're still left with a big empty pit.

Synthetic stones are a great alternative because they bypass the mines altogether. A few companies have managed to create real, compositionally authentic diamonds with energy supplied almost entirely by the force of gravity! Unfortunately, these lab created diamonds will set you back just as much as a mined one, so you're not going to save any money with this option. Cubic Zirconia is another common diamond simulant but it's cheap and not meant to last.

A much more enticing option that I've recently stumbled upon is moissanite. Moissanite is a naturally occurring stone but you won't find it in the Earth's crust - it was first discovered in a meteor in Arizona. Only recently has one company been able to perfect its production in a lab. Don't think of it as a diamond replacement (even though it is almost as strong, with more fire and brilliance, and available in near-colourless varieties) - think of it as a diamond alternative. One that doesn't leave a trail of destruction behind it and costs one tenth the price!
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