Developing more ethical means of procuring diamonds remains an increasingly pressing priority as the world becomes more aware of climate change, finite natural resources, and human rights abuses. The scientific breakthrough of lab-grown diamonds has been hailed as the solution to the notoriously exploitive practice of land mining, but even this environmentally-conscious form of production is hindered by the exorbitant cost and energy required for these diamonds’ creation. There is a third option, however, one that manages to be simultaneously ancient and modern: ocean diamonds, which coastal communities have been fishing out of the deepest blue waters for millennia. Now, not only have jewelry companies have fairly recently adopted this method, but ocean diamonds are also finally becoming popular among their consumers.
The fascinating science behind diamonds naturally forming in the ocean is an ongoing process that dates back billions of years and slightly variates from the typical formation of diamonds by pressure and heat in the Earth’s mantle. During such a vast span of time, the seafloor absorbs boron, cools for millions of years, and becomes so dense that it sinks into the mantle below it. By then the boron is cocooned in rock that protects it from heat and pressure during its journey to the lower mantle. The heat and pressure from the lower mantle, however, are intense enough to melt the boron’s rocky shell, and from this disintegration emerge blue diamonds at last. After their materialization, the blue diamonds take several more millions of years to travel through kimberlites to reach the surface.
The Namibian coastline is the most prominent source of ocean diamonds, and thus the extraction of these blue gems has become an asset to the country’s economy. Namibia’s primary system of excavation is an efficient, environmentally-friendly procedure with the potential to bring prosperity to that entire region of Africa. The Namibian government has allied with De Beers Group to form Debmarine Namibia, a marine mining conglomerate that helms an intricate network of diamond recovery. Debmarine Namibia accomplishes the feat of conducting deep explorations of the Atlantic Ocean for its blue treasures while only impacting 1.2% of the underwater ecosystem. Namibia’s advanced ocean diamond retrieval harkens back to the land-mining that was prevalent on the nation’s west coast more than a century prior. The rise of marine diamond mining antiquating the plunder of diamonds on land heralds significant progress for Namibia’s economy and environmental sustainability.
After decades of obtaining and purveying Namibian ocean diamonds, jewelers are finally eager to market them as such by differentiating them from land-mined diamonds. Prominent brands initially feared that distinguishing ocean diamonds from those of the land would perplex customers, but now many of them realize that emphasizing a product’s sustainability appeals to their demographics’ moral character.
Ocean diamonds are the namesake of the jewelry company run by marine miner Robert Goodden. Enamored with how intrinsically these gems embody the natural beauty of the sea, Goodden founded Ocean Diamonds with the intent of sharing this splendor with the general jewelry-buying public. Goodden expands upon the romanticism inherent in items like engagement rings and anniversary rings by embellishing them with diamonds formed from natural oceanic beauty. Furthermore, his brand emphasizes traceability, as he meticulously investigates and records the origins of the diamonds supplied to him by his hired team of Namibian divers. Ocean Diamonds is a brand built on integrity, rejecting the overfishing committed by larger jewelry companies in favor of simply bringing undersea wonders to the surface.
Goodden has been operating Ocean Diamonds with such genuine passion that it has won him a collaboration with Azlee Jewelry. Baylee Zwart, the owner of Azlee, is a surfer and diver who has always been captivated by ocean diamonds and donates a portion of her profits to ocean conservatory causes. Naturally, the Ocean Diamonds brand resonated with her, and now her newest collection with them is available on MatchesFashion.com. The collection’s gold rings, most of which are rings for women, comprise recycled 18K gold and platinum alongside the marine diamonds that adorn them. The Azlee Ocean Diamond & 18K Recycled Gold Necklace’s pendant consists of golden dolphins encircling a single ocean diamond, a work of art reminiscent of a fairytale romance.
Like the production of lab-grown diamonds, the mining of ocean diamonds is a method that is still in its infancy and therefore comes with its own obstacles. Ocean diamonds are the rarest of their kind, and for this reason there is limited scientific data that has been collected on them. Nevertheless, jewelers and scientists alike are optimistic about the advantageousness of ocean diamonds, and combined with the advent of lab-grown diamonds, sustainability will become the future of fashion jewelry.