Category: Lifestyle

The Happiness Project: A Detailed Beginner’s Guide

The Happiness Project: A Detailed Beginner’s Guide

The funny thing about happiness is that the more you look for it, the harder it is to find but when you stop looking it, it will find its way to your life.  That’s what the Happiness project is all about. It teaches you how to become happy right now, rather than thinking you must do some specific thing or achieve a goal before you start becoming happy.

True Happiness Is Not a Goal but a Reward

Don’t try chasing after happiness and scare it off. To catch it you should let it come to you. However, what must you do in the literal rather than figurative sense to get happy? All philosophy aside, you shouldn’t delude yourself into thinking, “If I get rich, I will be happy,” or “If I fulfill my dreams, then I can become happy.” There are many rich men who’s unhappy even though they’re literally wiping their tears with their paper bills because they assign “getting something” to happiness.

Happy rich men do exist, but you best believe that they’re happy not because of their riches and they can stay happy without their riches. Money is a means to an end for many people, but it cannot buy happiness. The Happiness project aims to teach this important lesson so that you can start being happy now rather than thinking that true happiness is locked in that special moment of success or achievement.

Stock Traders Working At Computers

Action step: Instead of waiting to get something and thinking that fulfilling that goal will lead you to be happy, change your perspective to an understanding that happiness is a mindset and work to develop a happy mindset. Start by being happy now and having gratitude for what you have and move towards appreciating all that is good in this life.

Learn the Virtue of Optimism

Most people view optimism as naivety. Or even delusion. They say that if you’re realistic and understand how the real world works, you will tend to become pessimistic. They also say that claim that humans define their existence through suffering. Many of our world views are shaped by the religions we subscribe to, for example. However, regardless of your faith or what the pundits have to say, it is fact that happiness is not contained in the world outside, but is rather in your mind. We experience the world through our minds, and in a very real sense our minds our all we have.

Also, we decide how to view the world and comprehend things around us. We can decide whether to focus on the good or on the sensational negative jargon that is fed to us through the media and press. We can develop a positive mind set and train our minds to be happy in spite of being surrounded by otherwise unfortunate circumstances.

Action step: Be optimistic. Rather than hunt for success in order to become happy, you should be happy enough with yourself and learn to train your mind to understand that happiness is not in the object, but rather it is within you. At the best, the objects and achievements act as a catalyst to trigger a happiness reaction in you, but when you realize that they do not inherently contain the happiness, you can stop looking to them for your happiness and rather generate it in your own mind.

Exercise and Health Is the Path to Happiness

Did you know that exercise can make you happy in more ways than one? That’s one of the main recommendations of the Happiness Project. You should stay fit and healthy by exercising. You should also eat right, but it’s actually exercise that has the closer ties to happiness. It’s actually all about the chemistry of your brain. As you can surmise from the happiness project summary, exercise is an activity that produces endorphins in your brain.

Endorphin, in turn, keeps you happy. It’s called the happy hormone for a reason. You can access it not by buying it from a drug dealer, but instead by moving around and doing physical activity that keeps you from living a miserable sedentary lifestyle. Don’t let your excuses hold you back from getting in your daily dose of exercise. If you can’t travel to the gym or don’t have the time, invest in a proven workout machine such as the treadmill or an indoor cycle for the home. So, if you don’t have time to go to the gym due to your hectic lifestyle you can at least cycle indoors in the comfort of your home.

Action step: Simply exercise. Keep yourself healthy. Happiness can also come from your brain chemistry and getting a daily dose of endorphins to get a natural high can do wonders for your well being.

Prevent Burnout and Stress

If you’re unhappy with yourself even in light of realizing that happiness shouldn’t be chased, optimism isn’t delusion, and exercise can help perk you up, then “something” else must be keeping you from being happy. Something like stress or events in your life that necessitate mourning and sadness. These include death of a loved one, the loss of livelihood, or feeling trapped in a dead-end job). The way to become happy despite of these things is addressing the issues and doing something about them.

If you don’t take care of yourself, your unhappiness might be a signal by your brain to stop running yourself ragged with stress and pressure. Break times and vacation times are legally mandated for a reason. If you don’t learn or have forgotten how to stop and smell the flowers in appreciation of a job you’ve done well or the last time you’ve enjoyed being with your family, you will also shrivel up like a dried out husk regardless of whatever motivational insights you’ve gained about happiness. Don’t live life like a marathon with no end in sight and learn to enjoy it. Then happiness will soon follow.

Action step : Fix your schedule and stop burning yourself up while young. This will lengthen your life and allow you to reap your rewards now instead of later on during retirement.

Boredom Can Sap Out Your Energy and Happiness

Boredom isn’t sadness or anger. It’s instead the closest thing to an empty emotion. If it were a color, it’d be ash. If it were a taste, it’d be paste. However, contrary to popular belief, did you know that boredom is a mild form of loathing and disgust? That’s according to Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions. There’s research that exists that shows boredom is more than just apathy or not caring. It’s mild revulsion. It saps out your enjoyment out of life and using whatever talent you may have or skill you’ve developed to your utmost.

Once you’re bored you won’t get any real satisfaction from a job that used to give you joy. The activities you engage in might no longer stimulate you. Your emotions have become paste in short because you live a monotonous lifestyle. You are robbing yourself of happiness. This lack of enthusiasm is just a way for your body and mind to tell you that you’re in a rut and it’s slightly loathing doing the same thing over and over again.

The One Rule to Achieving Work-Life Balance

The One Rule to Achieving Work-Life Balance

Imagine you live your life in one room, and that one room has only one door. Now imagine this door is an “Enter Only” door, “No Exit!” Whoever comes through this door will be in your room and your life — forever! They can never get out.

Luckily, this is a metaphor, but let’s assume for a moment it is true. If so, would you be more selective about the people that you let into your life? Everyone I’ve ever talked to has said, “oh yeah, definitely!”

So the question then is: Why aren’t we more selective? In fact I would argue that the “Room Principle” is more than a metaphor. Think for a moment about someone who was once in your life, but now they are no longer part of it. Think of their name. Remember how they created chaos in your life. Maybe they were angry or toxic or just difficult to be around. Take a moment: Do you have someone in mind?

Well, if they’re still in your head, they’re still in your in your room, because every decision you make in the future will be based in part on past experiences you had with this person. Neuroscientist Dr. Daniel Amen says, “Significant input that is received in your brain triggers neural activity that cannot simply be erased.” In other words, their fingerprints are all over your brain.

This means that if you want to create your best life, you need to learn how to screen entry into your room. For this, I recommend the “Doorman Principle.” The “doorman” guards entry into your room and your life. This is your conscious and subconscious mind. It is a process of thought and feelings to help you determine whether your door should remain closed or be opened to allow someone entry into your life.

The first thing you need to do is train your doorman on your values. This is important, because you want to allow people into your room who have values that are resonant with yours. They don’t have to be the same values, but they can’t be dissonant or incongruent with yours. When I ask people to name their top 5-7 values, you can generally hear crickets. So here’s a great technique to begin the training: I recommend you start with your “deal breakers.” These are people in your room with incongruent behaviors. These are things you refuse to allow into your room and into your life from now on. They may be things like being toxic, exhibiting excess drama or not being truthful or positive. They are things you just can’t stand to be around. When you start understanding these, it’s easier to move towards things you do want around you.

Understanding your values and training your Doorman will help you screen all the future people who try to gain entry into your room, but what do you do with some of the negative or toxic people that are already there?

First is “Benign Neglect.” This is where you gradually reduce contact and interaction with someone. Assuming you don’t want to burn bridges, but you do want to remove yourself from the relationship, a gradual dis-entanglement over a period of time is very effective. This works even when you don’t want it to. Think about someone you really did like but with whom you lost touch over the years. This generally happens through unplanned benign neglect. Now, imagine achieving this with a plan.

The second way to help you address people in your room you wish you hadn’t allowed entry to is through “Homeopathic Doses.” A homeopathic dose is the minimum dose necessary to treat a problem. In this case, it’s about dealing with people in your room by structuring your interaction in very small doses.

Here are two great techniques to use:

The takeaway to consider: People can effect your happiness if you let them.The secret to not letting them, is to curate the room you desire because the quality of your life depends on the people in your life.

#6 Ways To Calm Yourself Before Giving A Big Presentation Or Talk

#6 Ways To Calm Yourself Before Giving A Big Presentation Or Talk

Public speaking is not everyone’s forte and things get complicated when you need to talk in front of people who matter when it comes to your success plan.

Not surprising that it is tough to express your perspective in front of them. After all, not everyone can be Abraham Lincoln delivering Gettysburg Address. However, you can have your own Lincoln moment and create your own Gettysburg affect.

In order to achieve that there are some vital things that one can take care of to perfectly calm and compose you before that make or break the presentation.

Practice is the ultimate key

Practice makes a man perfect and it is the main mantra when it comes to giving the big presentation. The more you rehearse the better you are at it. While you might have a time constraint, it is important if you want to make a serious impact on potential clients and investors. What you say, makes the most impact. So be sure of your speech. Being spontaneous is great but not when it’s your only chance.

Try practising your speech a couple of times before speaking in front of all these people. Have some great quotes and references.

In fact, before giving one record yourself and check where you are lacking. Evaluate and see if that is the way you would want to proceed. Make cue cards if they help, there is no harm in referring to things from time to time.

Reduce the surprise factor

Preparation is the ultimate key. Don’t leave things for the last moment. When we say to prepare it isn’t just what you will present but also that everything is in place. Take a glance at the electronic equipment, meeting room, the number of people that place can accommodate, refreshments and so on.

One can get nervous anytime, anywhere when something out of place happens, and you don’t want that. Well, surprises are great but not every time. Try to reduce the factor of it.

When Nervous Turns the Forces

Sounds difficult to understand? Believe it or not, a lot of people before entering the boardroom when are nervous either listen to music and tap their feet and some even watch the climax of the movie to calm their nerves. Why do they do that? It instantly helps them to turn the nervous feeling to enthusiasm, something that is the need of the hour.

Studies and research have shown that the enthusiasm factor makes a huge difference in the way you present something. Do whatever suits you but just know the key.

Start the day early

Make sure you are at your own presentation before time. You don’t want to arrive late and get bombarded with things happening around. Give yourself enough time to settle down before you start the talk and take things in your hand.

Walk around the space, try thinking and analyzing. This will give you enough time to get equipped to the place and you will exactly know how and when to proceed.

The Three A’s

Attend, Alert & Absorb. These three words should absolutely be in your head. If you are giving a talk or a presentation at an event or a seminar, make sure you attend some previous presentations as well. It helps to understand the vibe of the whole convention. Listen to your fellow presenters, be alert and hear them out. Absorb how the audiences are behaving; this will let you know what exactly the mood is around.

In fact, there are huge changes that what the other presenter might be saying; you can use it while making a point in your own talk.

Flaunt your smile

Replace your stress and building up anxiety level with a smile. Be confident, make most of your warmth whenever possible. A smile is a sign that you are confident about your work. Just don’t go overboard with it, you don’t want to prove yourself as the clown.

8 Ways To De-stress Yourself At Work In A Minute

8 Ways To De-stress Yourself At Work In A Minute

When you think of your 4*4 workspace, peace and calmness aren’t the first words that strike your mind. Your day is filled with intense meetings, crazy work hours and heated arguments, but who said your day has to be all about stress? Usually, when something at work upsets you, the best way to deal with it is to understand what is causing the negativity in the first place. Not processing your emotions and cause of stress often leads to serious anxiety, blood pressure, and depression issues.

But let’s help you out with some effective ways to de-stress yourself at work at your desk. You won’t believe it but it just takes one good breath to transfer you from a bad mood to something that can calm your nerves. Entrepreneur India understands what all one goes through and brings some simple strategies that have proven to reset and relax one’s system.

Breathe, It Is Important

Slow and deepen your breath. While this might sound the most basic thing to you, it makes a huge impact. When we are stressed, we release adrenaline, which makes us more stressed and leads to panic conditions. Breathing exercise helps to pacify the anxious mind of ours. The formula is simple, focus your mind on something that your body is doing and it gains composure. Just sit on your chair and count every exhale till 10. Repeat it ten times and notice the difference.

Memory Games

When you are tense, turn to Smartphone games, they are the best saviour. Playing these games bring your brain in a better state of thinking. You can’t be emotional while taking decisions, one needs to be rational. Indulging in memory games like Tetris, Puzzle, and Word games make your brainless reactive to stress.

Ask Yourself

Questioning yourself often is the best way to deal with a stress situation. Ask yourself, “Will this issue/ problem matter a few years down the line?” Look at things from a greater context. Because what you do should matter at the long run. Try doing this and what looks like the life-shattering moment for you, will look like a small issue that you can easily deal with.

Write Your Thoughts

You are stressed, once you have gained some control on yourself, put your thought out in a journal. Doing so lets you separate your emotions and gives you a clear vision. Try doing this and you will realise the gravity of the situation is a way to less than what you assumed when you were fuming.

Reboot Your System

The best way to think about things with a clear mindset is to reboot your system. It is exactly like how you turn on and turn off your mobile phone. You sit on your laptop the whole day and it takes a toll on your eyes. Sit straight on your chair, close your eyes and put the heels of your palms on your eyes gently pressing them. This will alleviate the strain and restart your system instantly.

Arms Above Your Head

The sub-title above might simply remind you of a punishment that one used to get in the school. Get up from your chair and stand with your feet apart at a hip distance. Raise your arms above your head, it is one of the best exercises to reduce tension. Next, interlink your finger and turn your palms out and stretch it above your head. Take a deep breath and lift your shoulder till they reach near your ears. Drop them down. Pull your body tight, so your spine is rising tall and your abs are tucked in. Stay in this position for 3-4 breaths. Following this exercise lets, you inhale more oxygen.

Laughing Video

You have just got 60 seconds and laughing is one of the best medicines to reduce your stress. Fill your Youtube/ handset with small hilarious videos and let yourself have a good laughing session.

3 Mindsets That’ll Make it Easier to Say “No” When You Need To

3 Mindsets That’ll Make it Easier to Say “No” When You Need To

In most cases, these invitations don’t align with those three goals. After years of saying yes, I’ve had to start saying no to just about everything that comes my way. Jim Bunch, founder of The Ultimate Game of Life, posed the following question in his interview on the Unmistakable Creative: “What if you said no to everything that’s not aligned with your greater purpose?”

1. Mental Energy Versus Time

The truth is, you might have the time to actually do many of the things that you ultimately say no to. But by saying yes to those things, you take away mental energy from things that are valuable to you. It might take one hour to participate in something, but the opportunity cost of that hour might be an entire day of lost focus on things that matter the most.

2. Essentialist Versus Non-Essentialist

You can be either an essentialist or non-essentialist. And in many ways, it’s often the difference between being a professional and an amateur. Essentialists say no to almost everything. Non-essentialists say yes to a lot of things in the hopes that they might lead to something worthwhile—they usually don’t.

3. “Hell Yes” Versus “No”

Derek Sivers has a policy of “if it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no.” When you’re starting out, this might be hard to do. But as you progress, you’ll realize that this is a great filter for work that you’re proud of. It makes it pretty easy to determine what you want to do versus what you really don’t.

In choosing guests for Unmistakable Creative, I’ve said no quite often. Anytime I’ve not stuck to the “hell yes” policy I find myself in a conversation I regret having agreed to, or interviews that I don’t think we can publish.


The Best Way to Spend Your Raise if You Want to Be Happier

The Best Way to Spend Your Raise if You Want to Be Happier

Your paycheck just got a bit heftier, and you’re thinking about finally biting the bullet and buying yourself that new computer, or taking your significant other out to a super nice restaurant, or splurging on a massage more than once a year. Or, maybe you’re trying to be more fiscally responsible, so you’ve decided to throw all that extra money into a savings account that you’ll one day use for something important.

Turns out, neither of these options is guaranteed to make you as happy in the long term as a third option—buying yourself time. A recent study cited in The Washington Post found that some of the happiest people are those who invest their hard-earned money into outsourcing chores they dislike to do, such as cleaning or grocery shopping.


And, these findings doesn’t discriminate based on household income, marital status, or number of children—meaning no matter who you are and how much you make, this applies to you, too (even if you’d argue having the latest cool products is all the happiness you need).


So, why do so many of us lean toward buying nice things the second our bank accounts grow? Says the article’s author Jenna Gallegos, “…we’re hesitant to trade money, which is concrete and measurable, for time, which is much more uncertain,” while we know exactly what we’re getting our money for when we buy goods.


And yet, time is so valuable in our lives and careers. It means the difference between leaving work early or staying late, getting all our tasks done or only getting halfway through our to-do list, checking our email on vacation or having the luxury to truly unplug. So, if we could afford to get back an extra hour in the morning, or free up our evenings or weekends to work on things that actually matter to us, wouldn’t we be willing to pay for it?


Consider it the next time you get a raise or bonus—maybe you trade an expensive smartwatch for a laundry service that delivers (because sorting whites and colors every Sunday morning drives you crazy).

Of course I’m not saying that you can’t treat yourself to something you’ve worked hard for, but having clean clothes magically appear when you need them and an entire Sunday to yourself sounds pretty awesome, doesn’t it?

4 Reasons to having a Life Outside the Office is So (So!) Important

4 Reasons to having a Life Outside the Office is So (So!) Important

Having a life outside of work suggests a couple of things: You care about finding work-life balance, you know how to turn off or tune out work and focus on yourself, your friends, or your family, and you’re probably fairly interesting. A recent Harvard Business Review article explained that having a life outside of work actually makes people happy. But if that sounds too obvious, then it’s worth trying to understand why this is true.

But before we dive into that, I want to make the following point: Caring about things other than your job doesn’t mean that you don’t like what you do or that you’re not committed to it. It doesn’t mean you don’t want to climb the ladder, or make a lot of money, or be a leader.

1. You Avoid Burnout

If you’re all-work all the time, you’re bound to burn out at some point. And coming back from that isn’t always easy. Taking time to focus on personal interests and activities can actually lead you to be more creative in your day-to-day.

It’s not always possible to leave work in the office—not when we’re connected 24/7, but it is possible to insist on carving out time for yourself (and you can start by reading these tips on how successful entrepreneurs do it).

2. You Expand Your Knowledge Base

Doing more can make you a more multi-dimensional person, capable of adding to the conversation or bringing a lightbulb epiphany to the drawing board.

You truly never know what’ll spark genius—maybe it’s something your colleague says in a meeting, but maybe it’s something you come across when you’re biking on a Saturday afternoon. As Muse writer, Alyse Kalish, outlines in an article on coming up with brilliant ideas, there are eight surprising ways to do it that include drinking, showering, and even napping

3. You Have A Reason To Power Through Hard Days

When we have something to look forward to outside of the job, it can be powerful enough to get through a tough period on the official clock. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to come up with an activity when you’re going through a hard time so you do have something to look forward to at the end of a long week (or day).

4. You’re More Interesting

If you only leave the office to go home, answer more emails, and read a book on how you can be a successful leader, you’re missing out. That’s not a rich, fulfilling life.

It’s one that’s completely focused around your job. Have you ever asked a friend how his day went, only to regret it 30 minutes later when he’s just droning on and on about his latest project? Don’t be that person.


6 Cheap and Easy Ways to Make Your Workspace More Fun to Stare at All Day

6 Cheap and Easy Ways to Make Your Workspace More Fun to Stare at All Day

You sit at your desk all day. OK, that’s a lie. You get up occasionally to get water, or to use the restroom, or to head to a meeting. But for the majority of the day, you occupy one tiny section of the office. So why not decorate it like you would your own home? After all, you’re probably spending more time there anyway. (Yes, you can pause to let that fact sink in.)

Obviously, I don’t mean you should haul in a chaise or hang a chandelier (unless you work in a palace, in which case, congrats!). I’m talking about finding small, creative ways to make your work space feel more personal.

1. Hang A Wire To Display Pictures

Sure, frames do the trick, but they also add to the clutter. Not only is a photo wire fun to stare at, but it’ll help your work neighbors put faces to your stories (“Oh, that’s your mother who won’t stop calling during meetings? Got it.”).

2. Keep Notes In Colourful Holders

Instead of tacking papers to the wall or taping passwords to the side of your computer,use colorful note holders to keep memos close by. Or, make it more fun by using them to display uplifting quotes or messages that’ll keep you going all day long.

3. Bring In Some Greenery

Plants are an easy way to brighten up your desk—and make you feel accomplished every day (“Did I water it today? Yes? Check!”). And bonus: Some types can actually purify the air in your office. If you don’t think your gardening abilities are up to par, try a low-maintenance variety, like succulents .

4. Add Decoration To Your Boards

Instead of keeping your cork or whiteboard all business, add some trim or decorationto give it a touch of personality. It’s easy to give even the plainest schedule a little bit of life using washi tape, Sharpies, or another easy-to-clean-option. Suddenly, you won’t be (quite) so scared to see all the meetings you have coming up.

5. Use Fun Magnets Or Push Pins

These are small ways to give your cubicle wall a little life, even if you’re not planning a full workspace makeover. Opt for fun magnets and push pins for your magnetic or cork board. It’s a simple, cheap way to make a statement. And they’re so small, that you can really get crazy with bright colors.

6. Hold Files With Decorative Bookends

If you’re reading “bookends” and thinking of an old, dusty study, shake that image from your mind. There are plenty of fresh, fashionable, and even quirky options out there that you’ll love. I promise that your books (and by books, I mean your files, manuals, and folders stuffed with endless amounts of paperwork) will look so much better sitting between something pretty.

7. Switch Out Your Mug

You know you’ll have a half-filled cup of coffee on your desk at all times anyway, so instead of using a company cup or a boring one, hold your caffeine in something that better fits your style


The Trick to Having the Life You Want Is to Start Purposefully Designing Your Days

The Trick to Having the Life You Want Is to Start Purposefully Designing Your Days

When people think of the words “lifestyle design,” images of working from a laptop, location independence, the “four hour workweek,” and digital nomads probably pop into their head. What they don’t think about is the actual work that goes into those accomplishments, all of which are a byproduct of days and environments that have been deliberately designed.

Start With One Small Thing

One of the many reasons I write 1,000 words every day is that it gives me a sense of control, progress, and accomplishment. I’m not dependent on anybody else for it to happen. It’s a part of the day that’s deliberate and also gives me one focused hour a day of uninterrupted creation time.

Start with any one of the environments that make up your life:

  • Clean your car
  • Organize your office
  • Optimize your life for deep work by making your smartphone into a dumb phone
  • Update your social profiles to reflect who you want to become, not who you were in your past
  • Take a picture every day

Starting with one small, seemingly inconsequential thing is one of the easiest ways to start a new chapter of your life. The ability to make a commitment and keep it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that creates a ripple effect into other areas of your life.

Design Your Schedule

Between publishing my first book, doing interviews every week, and overseeing other creative projects, my schedule was starting to get a bit chaotic. I found myself in back-to-back interviews and appointments scheduled at times I wished they weren’t.

A while back my business partner Brian said, “I’d love to get this to the point where we can have one month on and one month off. The business would still run, but we could take month long surf or snowboard trips.” We’re not currently at that point, but it made me think about what’s possible right now.

Most of my appointments are booked using Calendly, which allows people to pick from a set of time slots. But I’m the one who determines what those time slots are. Since I’m starting to work on a second book, doing more speaking, and continuing to run Unmistakable Creative, I needed to figure out how to create more time for myself. That’s when I realized that Calendly had a feature called “blackout dates.” So I made every other week unavailable for meetings with anyone. It’s just one of many simple ways you can design your schedule and take advantage of how effective calendars can be.

Again, you can start with one small thing:

  • Design 30 minutes of reading time into your day
  • Design 45 minutes at the gym into your day

It doesn’t really matter what it is. The point is to take deliberate control over some part of your life that is set to default and consistently follow through on a commitment.

Understand The Importance Of Consistency

Without consistency, your inner critic will write off your attempt to make change as nothing more than a moment of inspiration and hokey new-age crap. If you’re going to experience significant and lasting change, consistency is an essential ingredient. When you’re consistent about something, your habits become part of your identity.

Start Today

Who you want to become tomorrow starts with who you are today.

  • Most people’s lives are set to default.
  • Most people never change the ring on their iPhone.
  • Most people never question things that can be changed just by their willingness to explore and ask.

Pick something, no matter how small it is, and start today. The easiest way to start designing your life is to start by designing your day.

SYNTHETIC OR NATURAL DIAMONDS?

SYNTHETIC OR NATURAL DIAMONDS?

Research by the DPA says that for significant moments people still are very clear that they want natural diamonds to symbolise and tell their stories, but we are finding that we’re being asked about synthetic diamonds more than ever before, so we thought it would be interesting to put some information together to answer any queries.

What are they?

The word ‘diamond’ actually means a naturally formed gemstone and so some are saying that these synthetic stones shouldn’t be called diamond at all.  We have always been very careful about how we describe our gemstones and are aware of how misleading language can be. Some are calling them ‘lab created diamond’ but we have been advised to call them ‘synthetic diamonds’ for the moment because that is how we normally refer to other man made versions (e.g. synthetic sapphires).

Unlike diamond simulants like cubic zircon or synthetic moissanite which look similar to white diamonds but are chemically different, synthetic diamonds are real diamonds but they have been produced in a laboratory in the space of weeks or months rather than deep underground over the course of millions of years.  They have good clarity because there are no impurities present while the crystal is forming and they can be treated to change into different colours.

People are asking about them for three different reasons

1. They are concerned about the environmental and ethical consequences of mining for new stones

We’re always really pleased to have conversations about the ethics of our jewellery and are more than happy to work with both synthetic diamonds and natural mined stones. Both are interesting ethical options and we feel that it’s important to be able to offer both, depending on a customer’s own sense of what is right for them.

Many people are aware that mining is a dirty business and that huge amounts of rock need to be mined to get a small number of diamonds. We remind customers that creating crystals in a lab is more energy intensive than they expect – we can liken it to using FSC approved paper because it manages and protects woodlands, rather than using recycled paper which uses more energy in processing but requires no new trees to be cut down.  In fact, according to the DPA, the carbon footprint of a 1 carat synthetic diamond is equivalent to or sometimes greater than mining new stones.

Whilst synthetic stones are traceable and we know they are created in more wealthy countries where health and safety standards and employment laws are strict, we are very aware that this only tackles a small part of the ethical dilemma.  Mining supports millions of people all over the world who often have no other access to employment. As a company we believe in trying to support those at the bottom of the diamond supply chain who have no option other than to make a living by mining. We feel that if we were to only buy synthetic diamonds these people would have no other work and wouldn’t be able to support their families so we are currently working on a project to try to source traceable diamonds mined by artisans… This is going to be quite a journey.

2. They think they’re going to be significantly cheaper

Growing synthetic diamonds takes a huge amount of sustained energy over a course of weeks or months; the smallest fluctuation in heat or pressure could be disastrous for the growth of the crystal.  As such, larger stones in particular are sometimes more expensive than anticipated. The technology behind the creation of synthetic gemstones is improving rapidly, which means that (in contrast with natural diamonds whose value will increase) prices for synthetic stones are coming down. This is great for customers who don’t like the idea of new mining as it is making things more accessible; however it does mean their jewellery is likely to devalue. We actually have some synthetic diamonds that we bought last year that we have had to reduce in price as their value has gone down already. For those who would like to buy a fun piece of dress jewellery for themselves, this may be beneficial. Recently however the prices of synthetic diamonds have risen, yet this is the result of marketing hype so we predict that they will fall again.

3. The person has a science background and likes the idea of crystal growth in a lab

Of course if somebody has a background in science then it’s lovely to know that we can help them to tell their story by sourcing a really special synthetic gemstone for them.

Identification

There are two main ways of growing diamonds in a laboratory:

  • HPHT – High Pressure, High Temperature. A starter ‘seed’ is put under high pressures and temperatures in a similar way to what would have happened in the earth.  Because this happens so much more quickly than in nature, if you look closely enough under a microscope you can see that crystal structure and growth patterns within a synthetic stone are very different to those in a natural one. Colourless HPHT synthetics have been difficult to create as it requires longer growing times and more stable, nitrogen-free growing conditions.
  • CVD – Chemical Vapour Deposition.  This process effectively microwaves a gas that contains carbon (like methane) and the resulting carbon atoms are attracted downwards to create flat plates of diamond. As with HPHT, the process takes place over a number of weeks. Colourless crystals can be grown, but they either take longer to grow, or the CVD has to be combined with HPHT to remove the colour.

We can easily pick out diamond stimulants from real diamonds, either just through experience of looking at these stones or checking them more closely under magnification and / or with a thermal tester, but even experts can’t tell the difference between diamonds that occur naturally and those grown in a lab without some quite sophisticated testing equipment. For this reason, there is concern that synthetic diamonds are getting mixed in with naturally occurring stones by unscrupulous dealers.   Harriet and Steffi were really excited to see some of the new technology being developed to combat this during a recent trip to Antwerp. Steffi says:

“The M-Screen+ is a highly advanced screening machine that detects synthetic diamonds that are now becoming more commonly mixed into parcels of natural diamonds.  Melee (tiny, facetted diamonds) is poured in to the top of the machine and scanned incredibly quickly – a minimum of 3-4 diamonds are scanned every second which means up to 15,000 per hour at top speed!  It can identify round brilliant melee from 0.005ct up to 0.20ct in a D-J colour range.

Harriet is looking to invest in a similar machine from the GIA.  We are confident that the melee we use has already been scanned but we want to be able to demonstrate that we are conscious of this challenge to the diamond industry.  It will mean that we can check diamonds that have been brought to us by a customer from an old piece of jewellery and will ultimately give our customers peace of mind knowing that we are putting these practices in to place.”