Know Your Diamond's Carbon FootprintJuly 05, 23
Everything we buy has a carbon footprint.
It's a measure of all the greenhouse gases emitted during every stage of its production, expressed as a carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).
A bar of chocolate typically has a CO2e of 100g. A pair of Levi 501 jeans is 33kg. An iPhone 13 is 64kg. A flight from London to New York, per passenger, is 986kg. And a new Ford Focus car is 8,000 kg.
So far there are only a few consumer products that actually display their carbon footprint on the packaging.
But, as of this week, polished diamonds are now among them.
New technology called CarbonVero, jointly developed by the diamond tech firm Sarine, manufacturer Andre Messika Ltd and the Carbon Trust assessment authority provides an exact carbon footprint for each individual diamond over 0.25-cts.
And that information could soon be passed on to buyers as part of a grading certificate.
The typical carbon footprint for a 1.20-cts round brilliant cut diamond is 233kg.
That's equivalent to 33 dishwasher cycles, four iPhones or flying a quarter of the way from London to New York.
But CarbonVero isn't about comparing diamonds to anything else on offer, it's about comparing one diamond with another.
High-end manufacturers have been asking for such a system, says Tzafrir Englehard, VP of business development at Israel-based Sarine.
They want a figure that covers everything from mining to cutting and polishing and which will, in future, also take account of all freight and distribution emissions all the way to the customer's door.
The fact that Sarine has tracked a given stone through its Diamond Journey traceability solution, means it can calculate the precise energy consumption and carbon emission of each diamond. It's not an average, it's not guesswork, it's not an approximate figure.
"Carbon Trust has the ability to measure the energy consumption and emission of each system that is being used during the manufacturing process, for example, a laser sawing system, or a polishing wheel," says Englehard.
"So that's the foundation. But the interesting thing is that as the diamonds go through the Sarine system, we track them and know which systems they go through. And the diamonds are also planned on our software.
"There's a totally different energy consumption for a bigger diamond or a smaller one. But not only that, there are differences if you take a rough diamond and saw it into five pieces, or only into two pieces."
Sarine provides the data, it's up to brands what they then do with it, but he says a carbon footprint could become a standard fixture on a grading certificate, just like the 4Cs, the diamond's origins, and other parameters.
"The ability to measure energy consumption of different systems has been around for quite a long time now.
"But their ability to connect it to the actual data that is being tracked, for each and every diamond is a very big innovation."
He says CarbonVero, launched earlier this week, has already attracted interest in sectors far beyond diamonds and jewelry, form businesses keen to adapt the technology to their own supply chains.
CarbonVero brings another layer of transparency to the diamond world, which has got to be a good thing. If nothing else, it focuses attention on the environmental impact of the diamond industry.
But here's the question: how much do consumers really care? Everybody's required these days to put their green credentials on display, but will a bride-to-be who falls in love with Diamond A opt for a different stone when she realizes it has a higher CO2e than Diamond B? Just asking.