"When you humanize the other party, it's hard to get as angry with them as you might otherwise get." Truer words were never spoken, dawg.
Every year, around 100 million carats of rough diamonds are mined to supply the world's multi-billion dollar diamond jewelry industry, leaving both human and environmental damage behind.
The ethical issues at the heart of diamond mining, from violence to human rights abuses to forced labor, are no secret. The destruction of land and water in the mining process is also well known. Though an official chain of practices for creating "conflict-free" diamonds known as the Kimberley Process is supposed to reduce some of these issues, ongoing problems remain.
Science has a solution.
Instead of digging up gemstones that have taken a billion or more years to form in the earth, scientists can now make diamonds in a lab in just six to ten weeks—without the bloodshed and devastation involved in mining traditional diamonds.
Are they the same, though? If anyone were going to be a purist about gems, you'd think the world's largest jewelry brand would. But Pandora, the Danish jeweler that boasts that title, is all in on lab-grown bling.
Pandora has announced that it will not be using mined diamonds in its jewelry anymore and will be launching an entire line of lab-grown diamond pieces. The upsides of lab-created gems are plentiful; not only do they avoid the exploitation of workers, violent conflict, and environmental degradation of diamond mining, but they're also significantly less expensive. According to Business Insider, a lab-created diamond can cost 30 to 40 percent less than a traditional diamond.
And according to Pandora, they do all that without sacrificing quality. Lab diamonds are still graded using the standard 4 Cs—cut, color, clarity and carat—as mined diamonds, and Pandora emphasizes that they have all the same "optical, chemical, thermal and physical characteristics" as well.
"They are as much a symbol of innovation and progress as they are of enduring beauty and stand as a testament to our ongoing and ambitious sustainability agenda," said Pandora CEO Alexander Lacik said in a statement. "Diamonds are not only forever, but for everyone."
Of course, the marketing of diamonds has always been a bit of a ruse. The DeBeers family held a near-monopoly on the diamond trade for more than 100 years, and their control of supply created an illusion of scarcity and value that doesn't reflect reality. A highly successful "Diamonds are forever" marketing campaign to make people associate diamonds with lifelong commitment added emotional value to the stone, which led us to where we are today.
In other words, the thousands of dollars that people will drop on a diamond engagement ring is almost completely due to a purposeful plan to make people feel that they need to do just that. That plan may have been brilliant or diabolical, depending on how you look at it, but there's no question that it worked.
Pandora's shift to lab-grown diamonds won't change the association between diamonds and commitment, but it may at least help people recognize that diamonds themselves are not as precious and rare as we've been led to believe. It's also a bid to younger consumers, who want their purchases to be more affordable and sustainably sourced.
The new lab-grown collection, Pandora Brilliance, launched today in the U.K., with pieces starting at US$350. It has also achieved CarbonNeutral® product certification in accordance with The CarbonNeutral Protocol. And when the collection becomes available globally next year, the diamonds are expected to be made using 100% renewable energy.
It's great to see big companies stepping up their game when it comes to ethical practices and environmental sustainability. The planet needs it, consumers are asking for it, science is making it possible, and smart companies are moving the needle in their respective industries. Well done, Pandora, for being a leader on the jewelry front.
"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN
From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.
To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.
First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.
Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com
Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.
"The packages were personalized to each mother with their names, a hand-written love note from the nursing team and items based on their pregnancy stage (which trimester, pregnant/postpartum) including newborn items (bottles, pacifiers, diapers, wipes, toiletries), toiletries and maternity clothes from the mother, as well as self-care items (journal, uplifting reading books, aromatherapy). My favorite part of the care package was hand-made quilts created by an 80+ [year old] retired doctor."
Courtesy of CeraVe
Continuing with her service, Richards is currently working on starting a non-profit organization, Our Mommas Heal, an expansion of the work that she's already doing in the community. "Our goal is to be the advocates for these at-risk mothers by connecting them to the necessary resources to ensure they have a high-quality, safe, equitable, uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery: education, other organizations like nurse family partnership, vetted health care providers," said Richards.
As a dermatologist-developed brand rooted in the medical community, CeraVe® is committed to supporting and celebrating healthcare professionals like Nurse Richards. Richards' story is the first of four we'll be sharing in the coming weeks.
As part of its commitment to nurses, CeraVe® is also a proud sponsor of the ANA Enterprise and their Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ initiative, a movement designed to transform the health of the nation by improving the health of the nation's 4.2 million registered nurses. Through the initiative, ANA is connecting and engaging with nurses to inspire them to take action in five key areas: activity, sleep, nutrition, quality of life, and safety.
Additionally, over the past year, CeraVe® has donated more than 500,000 products to hospitals to help provide therapeutic skincare relief to healthcare workers and is continuing the product donation efforts. Nurses looking to engage with the brand and learn more about these initiatives can join the Shift Change: Nurse Essentials Facebook group, an online community hosted by CeraVe® where nurses come together for personal and professional empowerment.
To see more stories about nurse heroes, visit www.heroesbehindthemasks.com/.