Lab-grown diamonds are not a new concept scientists developed the technology to create diamonds about 60 years ago to fill a shortfall in diamond grit during World War II. These lab-grown diamonds have until recently been used mostly in industrial applications because they are so hard, they are widely used for cutting, drilling, grinding, and polishing. However, in 2012 technology improved which enabled producers to create gemstone quality diamonds above one carat.
Millennials, in particular, are forging the demand for ethically sourced diamonds because they want to know the origin of the diamonds they wear. Regions renowned for diamond mining are often areas of conflict, governed by unscrupulous warlords and often the cash raised from diamond mining is used to fund insurgency, oppression, military action or civil wars. According to reports about 75% of diamond mines in Africa are still plagued with extreme human rights and environmental abuses. As the majority of retailers cannot always verify the origin of their diamonds, lab-created stones are preferred as buyers can be assured that the diamond has been created using safe, clean working conditions and where employees are treated fairly.