Instigator / Pro
1581
rating
35
debates
61.43%
won
Topic

On balance, synthetic diamonds are better than natural diamonds

Status
Debating

Waiting for the instigator's third argument.

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Publication date
Last update date
Category
Miscellaneous
Time for argument
Three days
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One month
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
10,000
Required rating
1500
Contender / Con
1628
rating
22
debates
70.45%
won
Description
~ 443 / 5,000

Rules
On balance means BoP is shared. Neither side can win by arguing, for instance, that no diamonds are better than either option, or by positing an alternative gem.

Definitions
Synthetic diamond (or lab grown diamond): a diamond synthesized in a lab rather than formed by regular geological processes. This is distinct from diamond imitations such as cubic zirconia.
Diamond: If you don't know what a diamond is, do not accept this debate.

Round 1
Pro
Premise

For those who are not aware, synthetic diamonds are a fast-growing market alternative to natural diamonds in both fashion and industrial applications such as abrasives and drills. These two fields value different qualities in a finished product, so I will go over them separately. First though, I will note that synthetic diamonds are cheaper to produce than diamond mining operations, and are much more able to meet commercial demand.

Industrial

In industrial applications, the two most important qualities of a diamond are its hardness and thermal conductivity. Not all natural diamonds are suitable, while synthetic diamonds can be made with a much lower margin of error. For this reason, cost, and the high amount of demand for industrial-use diamonds, 90% of diamonds used in industrial applications are synthetic.[1]

Fashion

Diamonds have long been used in jewelry, and are valued by "the four Cs," carat, clarity, color, and cut. A raw, unprocessed diamond from the ground can occur in a variety of shapes. These are not typically used in jewelry, instead they must first be cut and polished to a desired shape to catch light in an aesthetic way. Once again, impurities in natural diamonds can render them unsuitable for use as gemstones, with only 20% making the cut.[2]

Carat
Not to be confused with "karat" which is used to indicate the purity of gold, a carat refers to the mass of a gemstone, equaling 0.2 grams. In terms of sheer size, natural diamonds beat out synthetic diamonds, at least with current technology. The largest synthetic diamond I could find a record of weighed 150.42 carats, whereas the Cullinan Diamond, also known as the Star of Africa, weighed 3,106.75 carats (less than 1.5 lbs)[3][4]. The most common gem-cut diamonds, those seen in wedding and engagement rings, only tend to be 1-1.2 carats.

Cut
Cut is the least variable between the two types of diamond. A gem quality natural diamond can be cut in all the same ways as a synthetic diamond can.

Clarity
Clarity is determined by irregularities/impurities in the diamond structure. High irregularities cause cloudiness, which is highly undesirable. This is the most likely reason for a stone to be considered unsuitable as a gem.

Color
Color is caused by impurities in the elemental makeup of the diamond, or else by alterations of the lattice into a slightly different structure. While a pure carbon diamond will be clear, additions of certain elements can change its hue, for instance boron will give it a blue color. These can also be done in synthetic diamonds, including the incredibly rare red diamonds, though obviously a synthetic one is not valued nearly so highly.

Current synthetic diamonds can consistently match natural diamonds in all but carat, though very few people are going to be looking for such large diamonds, much less be able to afford them. Large diamonds suitable for gemcutting are incredibly rare.

Cost

Synthetic diamonds are significantly cheaper to produce, with more recent figures putting them at 50-70% cheaper than a similar natural diamond.[5]

Availability

The supply of natural diamonds is inherently limited by how much can be mined from the earth or resold from existing gems. By comparison, synthetic diamonds can be grown in a matter of weeks and the industry can be scaled to match demand.

History

The history of diamond mining isn't a pretty one, with people like Cecil Rhodes exploiting and abusing black workers in his mines in South Africa. Even today, 65% of diamonds are mined in Africa. I personally prefer the idea of not owning a diamond that may have been the product of forced labor and racism.

Conclusion

Synthetic diamonds are, on balance, superior to natural diamonds for fulfilling the purposes of diamonds, namely as a fashion accessory and in industrial application.





Con
I will argue that natural diamonds are better than synthetic diamonds at being natural. 

Since ‘better’ is left undefined in the description, there are no standards to measure it by so I’ll leave it to my own interpretation. 

l. Value
The scarcity of natural diamonds makes it a very rare gem indeed. A special kind, a one of a kind, a limited edition. 

The popularity and accessibility to synthetic diamonds makes it easier to appreciate less. Therefore, it cannot be as valuable of a treasure as a natural diamond. So they are in high demand, but short supply. 

ll. Authenticity
One thing you can be sure with natural diamonds is they are 100% organically grown. Therefore, they are a product of Mother Nature’s own creation. 

lll. Originality
Kind of goes without saying. Natural diamonds came first. No cheap knock-off, no matter how good can ever live up to the standards of the original. 

lV. Sentimentality
You can produce all the synthetically grown diamonds you want. They can possess all the quality in the world, but it shall never compare to the emotional appeal you get from witnessing the imagined divinity and power wielded by a natural gem. 

V. Purity
Synthetic diamonds are an abomination. With natural diamonds, you can be certain they were never tainted or altered by the touch of greedy businessman wanting to make a quick buck. 

It is this fact alone that a natural diamond is far better than a synthetic diamond. 


Vl. Aesthetic
Natural diamonds have a timeless look to them that is a effortless masterpiece. Synthetic diamonds can’t match this beauty. 


Rebuttals:

Synthetic diamonds are, on balance, superior to natural diamonds for fulfilling the purposes of diamonds, namely as a fashion accessory and in industrial application.
Purpose - The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.

The formation of natural diamonds was not done with an ulterior motive in mind, so there cannot be a purpose.

A purpose implies intention, which means man-made. So to say man-made diamonds are better than natural diamonds at fulfilling man-made applications like fashion/accessories is valid, but it’s only one interpretation. 

But I don’t see a rule in the description implying I have to abide by this standard when ‘better’ is left ambiguous.

So I have provided with sound logic and reason, the superiority of natural diamonds. 
Round 2
Pro
I will argue that natural diamonds are better than synthetic diamonds at being natural. 

Since ‘better’ is left undefined in the description, there are no standards to measure it by so I’ll leave it to my own interpretation. 

As this debate is "On balance," although natural diamonds may be better than synthetic diamonds by certain metrics, it will be up to the voters to weigh the different arguments for each side and make a final decision.

Rebuttals

l. Value
The scarcity of natural diamonds makes it a very rare gem indeed. A special kind, a one of a kind, a limited edition. 
Synthetic diamonds are just as 'one of a kind' as any natural diamond. No two are the same, even if they were made at the same time or cut from the same original piece, as many natural diamonds also are. Con also characterizes natural diamonds as "limited edition," even though limited edition usually refers to a series of identical models of a product made only once.

The popularity and accessibility to synthetic diamonds makes it easier to appreciate less. Therefore, it cannot be as valuable of a treasure as a natural diamond. So they are in high demand, but short supply. 
Con seems to believe that price is equivalent to value. The market price for a natural diamond is higher than that of a synthetic gem, but once you have purchased a ring or other piece set with that gem, even a regular gemologist's tools and skills are insufficient to tell them apart, requiring a specialized lab to distinguish them. [1]

ll. Authenticity
One thing you can be sure with natural diamonds is they are 100% organically grown. Therefore, they are a product of Mother Nature’s own creation. 
Organic (adj): of, relating to, or derived from living organisms

Natural diamonds completely fail to meet this definition. One could even argue that synthetic diamonds meet this definition where natural ones fail, since humans are responsible for the creation of synthetic diamonds, and are themselves living organisms. Perhaps Con meant a different definition.

of, relating to, or containing carbon compounds

Now we're getting somewhere, but synthetic diamonds are chemically identical to natural diamonds, being composed almost entirely of carbon, so now both meet the definition. I am forced to conclude that Con is simply wrong.

lll. Originality
Kind of goes without saying. Natural diamonds came first. No cheap knock-off, no matter how good can ever live up to the standards of the original. 
No argument with the first statement, but the second is false. No one would argue that the Model T Ford is the best mass-produced automobile, with all successors being only pale imitations. As with automobiles, the process of creating synthetic diamonds has improved over time, while natural diamonds have stayed the same.

lV. Sentimentality
You can produce all the synthetically grown diamonds you want. They can possess all the quality in the world, but it shall never compare to the emotional appeal you get from witnessing the imagined divinity and power wielded by a natural gem. 
Ah yes, the emotional appeal of systemic racism and forced labor, how compelling.

V. Purity
Synthetic diamonds are an abomination. With natural diamonds, you can be certain they were never tainted or altered by the touch of greedy businessman wanting to make a quick buck. 
Did you do ANY research for this topic? The natural diamond industry is literally built on the back of greed and lies. The De Beers Diamond Consortium (the same people to come up with the slogan "Diamonds are forever") has been the largest diamond supplier for well over a century and is infamous for artificially limiting the supply of diamonds in the market in order to keep prices high.

Vl. Aesthetic
Natural diamonds have a timeless look to them that is a effortless masterpiece. Synthetic diamonds can’t match this beauty. 
Once again, even expert gemologists need highly specialized equipment to differentiate natural diamonds from synthetic ones. There is no discernible difference to the naked eye.

Defense

Purpose - The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.

The formation of natural diamonds was not done with an ulterior motive in mind, so there cannot be a purpose.
Purposes was an ill-fitting word, I will admit. I should have said "uses."
Synthetic diamonds are, on balance, superior to natural diamonds for fulfilling the uses of diamonds, namely as a fashion accessory and in industrial application.


I don’t see a rule in the description implying I have to abide by this standard when ‘better’ is left ambiguous.
You may argue by whatever interpretation of 'better' you see fit. As it is an On Balance debate, however, proving any single metric does not automatically win you the debate.


Arguments

Seeing as all but one line of my arguments went totally unaddressed, I extend all arguments as they stand with the revision of the word "uses" rather than "purposes" in the line as previously addressed.
Con
Synthetic diamonds are just as 'one of a kind' as any natural diamond. No two are the same, even if they were made at the same time or cut from the same original piece, as many natural diamonds also are. Con also characterizes natural diamonds as "limited edition," even though limited edition usually refers to a series of identical models of a product made only once.
Natural diamonds, as a one of a kind, are superior to synthetic diamonds.

Con seems to believe that price is equivalent to value. The market price for a natural diamond is higher than that of a synthetic gem, but once you have purchased a ring or other piece set with that gem, even a regular gemologist's tools and skills are insufficient to tell them apart, requiring a specialized lab to distinguish them. [1]
I don't recall saying anything about price.

Organic (adj): of, relating to, or derived from living organisms

Natural diamonds completely fail to meet this definition. One could even argue that synthetic diamonds meet this definition where natural ones fail, since humans are responsible for the creation of synthetic diamonds, and are themselves living organisms. Perhaps Con meant a different definition.

of, relating to, or containing carbon compounds

Now we're getting somewhere, but synthetic diamonds are chemically identical to natural diamonds, being composed almost entirely of carbon, so now both meet the definition. I am forced to conclude that Con is simply wrong.
Since none of Pro's definitions match the word in the way that it was used, I suggest we use the correct one. 

Organic - Characterized by continuous or natural development.

Now we're getting somewhere. Despite synthetic diamonds being made of the same particles, they were not developed the same way as a natural diamond and therefore do not fit the definition.

No argument with the first statement, but the second is false. No one would argue that the Model T Ford is the best mass-produced automobile, with all successors being only pale imitations. As with automobiles, the process of creating synthetic diamonds has improved over time, while natural diamonds have stayed the same.
As stated before, natural diamonds are better at being natural. The fact that the creation of synthetic diamonds has improved with time only proves my point of them being less original than natural diamonds. 

Ah yes, the emotional appeal of systemic racism and forced labor, how compelling.
Those are the faults of mankind and the mining industry, not the shortcomings of natural diamonds.
Natural diamonds are not sentient beings. So, they lack the capacity to be racist or to force people into labor.

Did you do ANY research for this topic? The natural diamond industry is literally built on the back of greed and lies. The De Beers Diamond Consortium (the same people to come up with the slogan "Diamonds are forever") has been the largest diamond supplier for well over a century and is infamous for artificially limiting the supply of diamonds in the market in order to keep prices high.
Once a natural diamond had been mined and is used as a store product, it loses its purity and ceases to be a natural diamond. 
Therefore, synthetic diamonds are the true abomination. 

Once again, even expert gemologists need highly specialized equipment to differentiate natural diamonds from synthetic ones. There is no discernible difference to the naked eye.
So, Pro implies there ARE differences in the way that they look, but they're just subtle.
I don't know what Pro is talking about. If you google pictures of both, natural diamonds look better. 

Conclusion:
So I have maintained all of my arguments proving the superiority of natural diamonds at being natural and demonstrated that synthetic diamonds are a product of corruption and pure evil. 
Extend all arguments.
Vote CON.
Round 3
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