A Brief History of Ethical Mining and Lab-Grown Diamonds
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From Blood Diamonds to Cutting-Edge: A Brief History of Ethical Mining and Lab-Grown Diamonds

Madison Franz



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Diamonds have been coveted for centuries, but their journey from mines to jewelry boxes has been far from sparkling. From blood diamonds that fueled violent conflicts in Africa to the environmentally damaging methods of traditional mining, the diamond industry has had a dark past. However, there is hope on the horizon as technological advancements have given rise to lab-grown diamonds and ethical mining practices. Join us on a fascinating journey through history as we explore how this precious gemstone went from conflict and exploitation to sustainability and innovation.



Introduction to Lab-Grown Diamonds


From the early days of diamond mining in Africa to the contemporary market for lab-grown diamonds, the ethical sourcing of diamonds has been a contentious issue. The term’ blood diamond’ was popularized in the 2000s to refer to diamonds mined in conflict zones and sold to finance rebel groups. In response to public pressure, the Kimberley Process was established in 2003. So what is the Kimberley process? It is an international certification scheme to prevent ‘conflict diamonds’ from entering the mainstream market.


However, even with the introduction of the Kimberley Process, concerns over the ethical sourcing of diamonds continue. With increasing consumers seeking out ethically sourced goods, many jewelry companies are turning to lab-grown diamonds as a more sustainable and ethical alternative to mined diamonds. Lab-grown or synthetic diamonds are created through carbon deposition and have identical physical, chemical, and optical properties to mined diamonds.


Most lab-grown diamonds currently on the market are produced in China and India (4). However, due to their growing popularity, lab-grown diamond production is expected to expand globally in the coming years. Currently, a few different types of lab-grown diamonds are available on the market: HPHT (high-pressure, high-temperature), CVD (chemical vapor deposition), and Iv Droplet growth.



Impact of Ethical Considerations in Mining


Ethical considerations have always been a key issue in the mining industry, from the early days of blood diamonds to the cutting-edge lab-grown diamonds of today. With the growing public awareness of environmental and social issues, consumers increasingly demand that the companies they do business with operate ethically and responsibly. This has led to several initiatives to ensure that mines are operated in a way that minimizes their impact on local communities and the environment.



As public awareness of ethical issues continues to grow, more companies in the mining industry will likely be held to higher ethical standards. This could lead to increased investment in sustainable mining practices, improved working conditions, and greater scrutiny of environmental and social impacts. Although these measures may increase upfront costs for miners, they will ultimately help ensure that mines are operated responsibly, with the long-term interests of the industry and its local communities in mind.



Requirements for an Ethical Source of Diamonds


Today, the Kimberly Process covers more than 99% of the world’s diamonds, but it is not without its critics. Some say the certification system is not strict enough and that it does not do enough to monitor compliance. Others argue that the Kimberly Process does not address other important issues, such as human rights abuses and environmental damage.


In recent years, another option has emerged for those looking for ethically-sourced diamonds: lab-grown diamonds. These diamonds are created in a laboratory using cutting-edge technology and are identical in physical and chemical properties to mined diamonds. Because they are created in a controlled environment, lab-grown diamonds can be guaranteed to be conflict-free and environmentally friendly.


Many experts believe that lab-grown diamonds are the future wave and will eventually replace mined diamonds altogether. Some jewelers have already started offering lab-grown diamond engagement rings. Lab-grown diamonds are worth considering if you’re looking for an ethical source of diamonds.



Clearance Levels for Lab Grown Diamonds


The term “clearance” is used to describe the distance between a lab grown diamond and any impurities that may be present. Most lab-grown diamonds are graded as VS1 or better, meaning they are very clean with only a few surface blemishes visible to the naked eye. However, some lower quality lab-grown diamonds are on the market, so it’s important to know what to look for when shopping for these stones.


Here are the different clearance levels for lab grown diamonds:


Flawless (FL) – No blemishes or inclusions visible under 10x magnification

Internally Flawless (IF) – No inclusions visible under 10x magnification, but may have some surface blemishes

Very Slightly Included (VS) – Inclusions barely visible under 10x magnification

Slightly Included (SI) – Inclusions somewhat visible under 10x magnification

Included (I) – Inclusions visible under 10x magnification



Benefits and Advantages of Lab Grown Diamonds


Regarding ethical mining and diamonds, the two main concerns are the human rights abuses associated with traditional diamond mines and the environmental impact of mining.


Lab-grown diamonds offer a solution to both of these problems. Because they are created in a controlled environment, lab-grown diamonds do not require mining and all the negative aspects that come with them.


In addition to being more environmentally friendly, lab-grown diamonds UK have several other benefits and advantages over traditionally mined diamonds:

They are More Affordable: Lab-grown diamonds typically cost 20-30% less than their mined counterparts.


They are physically and chemically identical: Lab-grown diamonds have the same physical and chemical properties as mined diamonds.


They Have Greater Clarity: Because they are grown in a controlled environment, lab-grown diamonds are higher quality and have fewer impurities than mined diamonds.


They Are “Conflict Free”: Because they are not sourced from traditional mines, lab-grown diamonds do not contribute to conflict or human rights abuses.





Lab-grown diamonds provide a great alternative to those seeking conflict and human rights-free diamonds. They offer the same brilliance, clarity, and beauty as mined diamonds but with a fraction of the environmental impact. Their production is on track to become 100% sustainable within two years, giving consumers more choice over where their jewelry comes from. By supporting ethical mining practices and advocating for rampant lab-grown diamond use, we can look forward to a brighter future.

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What lies beneath: meet the real life metal detectorists

Odyssey News



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Tales of rare finds, Instagram stories, and, of course, that hit TV comedy means metal detecting is buzzing. Today’s detectorists reveal what they love about it

Lucie Gray, 31, Lincolnshire

Set up Roman Found on Instagram

We almost started it as a joke in the garden during lockdown. My cousin, Ellie, bought a metal detector for herself and then I got my hands on it – and she never got it back! It was something fun to do when we really couldn’t do a lot. I’d always had this interest in history since I was a young child as I grew up metal-detecting with my dad.

It’s a bit unique how we do it together: I find the targets, then Ellie digs the hole and excavates the find out. We were addicted after the first coin we found: which was a 1947 halfpenny. I think metal detecting is sometimes labeled as geeky or nerdy. But when you try it, you realize those labels don’t actually mean anything if you’re enjoying yourself.

Metal-detecting is now much more in the public eye, with shows like Detectorists. When we saw that there was a community on Instagram, we started our own page, Roman Found, which now has more than 55,000 followers. We’ve got a TikTok page and a YouTube channel, too. I think the popularity of our accounts probably comes down to the curation and the attention to detail: we’re both designers and we try to tell the stories of our finds by filming each one. Metal detecting is really good for my mental health, too. I’m neurodivergent, and being able to focus on one task is something I have struggled with. But metal-detecting is impossible if you’re not focused on the task, so it really makes me feel present at the moment and stops my mind from wandering into places it shouldn’t.

I’ve learned a lot of patience and focus. When I first started metal-detecting I couldn’t do it for more than an hour at a time. Now I’ve built up the stamina to detect all day.

Ellie Bruce, 23, Lincolnshire

Co-founder of Roman Found

Ellie Bruce and Lucy Gray crouching either side of a hole dug in a field, holding and photographing their find

It’s quite funny because I’m the last person people expect to be on TikTok. But we’ve gained so many close friends through social media who we never would have met if it weren’t for metal-detecting.

I research everything we find: I find out what it is, where it came from, and how old it is. It’s addictive. I’ve always had an interest in history and archaeology – and I wanted to be a paleontologist when I was younger.

One of the weirdest things we’ve found were these 1950s empty bottles of cream. We found about 10 of them all in the same place in the middle of this field. Quite early on, we were lucky enough to find a gold Henry VII coin. That was a top moment for us, because you don’t find stuff like that very often.

A muddy hand holding a buckle-shaped metal object
Buried treasure: Lucie and Ellie unearth a metal object. Photograph: Alex Telfer/The Observer

We’d never be interested in selling anything. We’ll go out for eight to 10 hours, and we might only come back with one silver coin. So, for us, that one silver coin means a lot, because of the work that’s gone into finding it.

I think if we did it separately, there’s no way we’d be out all day. I wouldn’t enjoy it as much either, so it wouldn’t be as much fun or as rewarding. It’s very much a thing we do together – we motivate each other. It’s quite a peaceful space out there, when you’re in the fields.

Tom Lucking, 31, Norfolk

Unearthed the Winfarthing Pendant

Tom Lucking in a lumberjack shirt and boots, holding a spade and metal detector

Finding old things is appealing. It’s the wonder of going out and picking up something that no one has touched or even seen for years and thinking: “This could be 1,500 years old!”

When I was about 21, a friend of mine got us permission to go on this farm in Norfolk. We’d got to this one field and we thought: “Well, that looks quite interesting.” Over the next couple of years we went there when we could and built up a collection of bits of brooch, bits of Anglo-Saxon metalwork and buckles.

the Winfarthing pendant
Grave find: the Winfarthing pendant. Photograph: British Museum

Before Christmas 2014, I was there on my own one day, detecting to see what Anglo-Saxon metalwork I could find. I got this big deep signal, dug down 2ft, and eventually found the rim of a big bronze bowl. I left it in place, marked the spot and went and spoke to the Norfolk county council’s historic environment service. They came in the January afterwards and excavated the bowl and the area around the find. It had been a high-status burial, which included a stunning golden garnet pendant and gold necklace, and other grave goods.

It went through a coroner’s inquest and was declared treasure. In the end, myself and the landowners, and the museum that wished to acquire it, Norwich Castle, came to an agreement on value. The pendant itself was £140,000, and just over £5,000 for the rest of the assemblage.

Tom Lucking’s hand holding coins and other metal objects
‘It’s the wonder of going out and picking up something that no one has touched or even seen for years’: Tom Lucking. Photograph: The Observer

I got a quarter of the payout. There was a quarter for me, a quarter for my friend who got us permission, and then half for the landowner. That formed a fair chunk of a deposit on a house after I left university. The find probably gave me some encouragement to go and get into archaeology professionally – I work in commercial archaeology now.

It’s a fun hobby, but one that requires a lot of patience. There are a lot of hours that you’re not finding anything. But if you put the hours in, I’ve found, you’ll eventually get the results.

Ruth Harding, 68, Lancashire

Took up metal-detecting in retirement

Ruth Harding in a coat, boots and bright green gloves, holding a metal detector and spade, leaning against a fence
‘It’s great to have a group for women. More than a handful has joined because they’ve been in other groups and had someone mansplain to them’: Ruth Harding. Photograph: Alex Telfer/The Observer

During lockdown, I was sitting around like everybody else. I must have seen something somewhere because I just remember that one day I thought: “Metal-detecting, I’ve always wanted to do it!” I’m retired, I came back to England three or four years ago. I’d been living in Canada for 40 years, and it’s just not a thing there.

I went to my first dig – and I was hooked. In some ways, I think humans are like dogs. Because I always think dogs need a job, even if it’s picking up a stick that’s been thrown.

Researching the detectors was actually a nightmare because there are so many, but I bought one: a Minelab Vanquish 540. I’ve now got a Deus machine, which is one of the lightest metal detectors. For most of us, as we get older, we can’t swing the detector all day. I’ve got one knee replacement and arthritis in the other – kneepads, boots, and gloves need to be upgraded all the time.

In the UK, you need the landowner’s permission to detect on their land – and also that of the tenant, like the farmer if the land is being leased. Because I don’t have permission to detect on anybody’s fields, I go on group digs, where the organizers have secured permission for us to detect on the land in advance. When I first started, I went out practically every week. Now, I tend to do one dig a month, because it can be expensive – many digs are now £20.

I’m in a Facebook group, the Sassy Searchers Ladies Metal-detecting Tribe. It’s great to have a group for women. There are more than a handful who have joined the Sassies because they’ve been in other groups and felt that when they’ve asked questions, they’ve had someone mansplain. We’re very supportive. It’s like a little family.

Recently, I found a hammered Elizabeth I coin – hammered refers to the process used to make them. I keep everything I dig up, even rusty machine parts and bits of lead, and weigh it all in at the scrap yard at the end of the year.

I get out, even if it’s pissing it down with rain. I feel like I’ve been reintroduced to England. I left when I was 25, I spent more than 40 years abroad. I’m going to some areas where I’ve last been 40-odd years ago, and parts of England I’ve never seen before. I wish I’d started detecting years ago. It’s all history, isn’t it? We’re walking over this ground and we have no idea what’s beneath it.

Dave Crisp, 76, Wiltshire

Finder of the Frome Hoard

Dave Crisp standing next to a river in the countryside, in a coat, sunglasses and boots and holding a metal detector and a spade
I’ve been metal-detecting for 35 years, and I’ve never looked back. I’m as passionate now as that first time I went out and started to find what I thought was treasure, but really was just rubbish: the few odd coins and bits and pieces. As soon as I walk across that field, all my troubles disappear.

One week in April 2010, the sun was shining. I was working as a chef in a local hospital and I had two days off. So, I asked the missus: “Is it all right if I go out?” She said: “Yes, go!” Off I went down into Somerset. I had three farms all next to one another where I had permission to detect.

I got a good signal, so I cut a little bit of turf, flapped it back – and there was a silver Roman coin, a siliqua! They don’t come up very often, certainly not for me. I put it into my pouch, not realizing that I would spend the next three hours going round in circles on that field, literally picking up silver coins.

I had to work the next week, but I really wanted to try this field again. So on the way home, I thought: “I’ll pop in for a couple of hours.” I got a signal and, at first, all I could find was this one coin and a bit of black pottery. So, I dug a bit more. I ended up pulling out a big chunk of yellow clay and, studded like little sultanas in a pudding, were bronze coins.

I literally shouted: “I’ve got two hoards!” There was the scattered hoard of siliquas and what is called the Frome Hoard: 52,503 coins in a pot that weighed 160kg in total.

The Treasure Valuation Committee valued the Frome Hoard at about £360,000, which is a payment in recognition that you did the right thing and reported the treasure. Now, it’s in the Museum of Somerset. They have made a fantastic display of it.

I split the money that I was given with the landowner of the field, so we got about £180,000 each. I always say if I’m talking about it: “Well, 180 grand, that’s not bad for three days’ work.” I bought my council house, which I’m still in. My family did well out of it, too. When I pop my clogs, they’ll do better out of it again. It changed my life.

The excitement is still there whenever I go out, even if I have a bad day and I only find rubbish. I just think: “Hey, it’s a bad day, but I’ve been out in the fresh air. I’ve been out in the sunshine. I’ve done a bit of walking, so I’m keeping a bit fitter.” It doesn’t even matter if I don’t find anything.

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Where Are The Women Surgeons?

Odyssey News



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I’m talking about you, Meredith Grey.

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9 Things I Have On My Summer Bucket List That You Don’t Want To Miss

Odyssey News



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Let’s make it a summer to remember.

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