‘Ocean Diamonds’ offer buyers the opportunity to leave a sparkling environment

A ring with a third diamond, right, is seen in Chuo Ward, Tokyo. The Japan News / Asia News Network

TOKYO — The so-called third diamonds, which divers harvest from the ocean floor, are set to make landfall in Japan.

These diamonds are extracted from diamond mines by erosion due to rain or wind before being released into the ocean. They are expected to attract attention as “ocean diamonds” due to their low impact on the environment, unlike mined or synthetic diamonds.

On Tuesday, Queue Inc.’s Brilliance+, a jewelry brand that operates outlets in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya, among other places, began offering engagement and wedding rings that use third diamonds. Engagement rings start at around ¥430,000.

To harvest the third diamonds, divers contracted with a British company to pump gravel from the waters around South Africa at a depth of 10 to 15 metres. Workers then manually sift the gravel to find rough diamonds.

The quality, color and clarity of the diamonds are no different from regularly mined diamonds. However, since finding diamonds takes time, they cost two to three times the price of mined diamonds.

Harvesting diamonds in mines has a major impact on the environment, as the process involves the use of heavy machinery. Some have also accused the industry of using child labor. Relatively inexpensive synthesized diamonds, on the other hand, require large amounts of electricity to produce.

Working conditions are said to have received particular attention during the harvest of the third diamonds, with local professional divers being employed and the vessels only operating on days when the sea is calm.

Shopping in a way that supports environmental protection or the resolution of human rights or other social issues is called “ethical consumption” and is gaining popularity in Europe and the United States.

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Sarah C. Figueiredo