Meet The Company Making Diamonds From Carbon In The Sky
Skydiamond is the creation of entrepreneur and environmentalist Dale Vince. In this interview, we speak to Dale about Skydiamond, what the process is and the future of the diamond industry.
What's the Skydiamond mission and what inspired its conception?
We are making diamonds from the sky to protect the earth and hope to see a world that no longer mines the Earth for diamonds. I came up with the idea for Skydiamond while thinking about how to remove CO2 from the atmosphere on a planetary scale, and about how to store it in the most permanent way. A diamond is the ultimate form of carbon, which led to the simple idea to take carbon from the atmosphere and use it to make diamonds.
The diamond industry is known for its social and environmental issues, how is Skydiamond challenging this and creating a new norm?
One carat (0.2gram) of mined diamond, requires 1000 tonnes of rock to be dug, exposes 30 tonnes of toxic metals to the environment, uses just under 400 litres of water and produce 500kg of green house gases. You can read more on all of this here, in Imperial College London Consultants’ “Environmental impacts of diamond mining’ that we commissioned in 2020. Then there are the problems associated with blood diamonds that include Russian diamonds. If you buy a mined diamond - there’s a one in three chance it comes from Russia. Shops won’t help you with this version of Russian Roulette - they often don’t know where the stones they sell come from. There’s only one way to be sure not to be fuelling conflicts with your diamond - buy one mined from the Sky. Free from conflict, pollution and guilt. Each SkyDiamond locks away just a few grams forever in the actual process of making one carat - but that’s instead of 500,000 grams released (not locked away) from earth mining the same stone. Sky mining is not so much a carbon capture opportunity as a carbon avoidance one. We hope that mining the sky will become the new norm.
How do you mine diamonds from the sky?
Everything we need to create a SkyDiamond comes from the sky. There are four ingredients: the carbon it’s made from is taken from the atmosphere, wind and sun provide all our energy, and we use rainwater. We use technology from Switzerland to take CO2 from the atmosphere and that is our starting place, we then have a sequence of gas production to make it suitable to feed into our Diamond Ovens. The only thing we put back into the world is cleaner air than we took out.How is Skydiamond using technology to change the status quo in the industry
It took five years of R&D to create and perfect the process to turn atmospheric carbon into actual diamonds. In creating this method we’ve set a new industrial standard fit for the 21st Century. We are carbon negative through design and not offsetting. We need to see more businesses take the same approach to the climate crisis. Too often the kind of lives we need to live to get to zero carbon are portrayed or understood to be about giving stuff up. Sustainability and restraint are words that often go together. We don’t accept that. Our argument is whether you’re talking burgers, cars, football (and we’ve done all of these) and now diamonds - we don’t have to give up the things we love, we just have to find another way to have them. Skydiamonds are arguably the pinnacle demonstration of that argument a halo product, as luxury goods can be - it an evocative idea and wins hearts and minds, showing there’s nothing we can’t do in a lower carbon way - if we put our minds to it.
What can we expect to see from Skydiamond in the future?
We are about to launch our first range of diamond jewellery including engagement rings that will only be available on skydiamond.com and are working on jewellery collaborations with some very big names in the jewellery industry. Our first one is late this year with British designer Stephen Webster who is leading the way on sustainable luxury jewellery. Watch this space for more in 2023.