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It’s not a secret that Microsoft is working on a successor for its professional model of Surface, we’ve been hearing a lot of rumors lately around the next version of the Microsoft’s popular tablet, most likely to be called Surface Pro 4.

The Surface Pro 4 is scheduled to launch later this year and there are a vast amount of information going around the internet, from when it’ll become available, to pricing, to tech specs, and today we’ll go on more details on the key rumors you need to know.

It’s said that the next Surface Pro could be running either the new Intel’s Skylake or Core M Broadwell processor. There will also be various models of the device with different memory and storage configurations. The company is planning to offer a 4GB, 8GB, and 16GB of RAM model with the same 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB of internal solid state drive like the current generation.

In terms of tech specs, Surface Pro 3 has a variety of configurations from Intel’s Core i3 to the workhorse Core i7. Memory range from 4GB to 8GB, and storage from 64GB to 512GB. On the other hand, Surface Pro 4 could be ditching the 64GB of storage model.

Perhaps the most intriguing unknown piece of information is the processor Microsoft will be using for its new Surface Pro 4. At this time there are two choices: The Intel’s Core M i5/i7 or the new Skylake processors.

However, other reports indicate that the next version of the tablet will be fanless, which could also indicate that the company could be going with Intel’s Broadwell processor, as the Skylake chip will require some ventilation due to the heat that it produces from being a powerful processor.

While the amount of RAM on the Surface Pro 4 is likely to remain the same with 4GB for the lower-end and 8GB for the higher-end model. Microsoft may also make available a 16GB option, but it will be an amount of RAM that won’t be available on all models.

Other rumors suggests that Microsoft will be including a new Surface Pen based on the N-Trig technology, which the company purchased not so long ago. It’s worth to note that many people see the Surface Pen as one of the most important feature of the Surface Pro tablets, and a new pen can only mean a better handwriting experience.

The Surface line has gone from a bulky design to a beautiful thin and relatively light and very capable machine. There had been rumors that the company is working on a 14-inch display version, but seeing that Microsoft wants people to use their current Surface Pro 3 accessories with the next generation, it’s unlikely that the software maker will not unveil a bigger and significantly different version of the tablet. Although, there is room to make the Surface Pro 4 thinner and lighter.

The Surface Pro 4 is likely to be priced at $799 for the based model up to $1799 for the high-end model.

It’s still early to tell when exactly Microsoft plans to release the Surface Pro 4, but a number of reports have confirmed that the company is planning to hold a huge hardware launch event in October, more than likely to occur in New York. However, keep also in mind that often times takes about one or two months from unveiling to actually being able to purchase a new device.

One thing is for sure, the Surface Pro 3 launched back in June 2014, and the current version is over a year old, which indicates that we’re close to a hardware refresh. Intel has recently introduced its new Skylake line of chips, which is a perfect timing for Microsoft to upgrade the processor on its Surface Pro 4.

Source Business Insider

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Microsoft Surface Pro (2024): Everything You Need To Know

The Surface Pro seems nearly identical to the Surface Pro 4, but the differences in CPU, graphics, and features do matter—for better and for worse. Watch our review video to see more.

In PCWorld’s review of the Surface Pro we gave the flagship 2-in-1 3.5 out of 5 stars, chiefly for three reasons: the excessive price of our review unit, the incremental improvements over the Surface Pro 4, and the quality of the competition. The performance improvements offered by the new Kaby Lake CPU and Iris Plus graphics are marvelous, but it’s hard to swallow high prices that do not include a Type Cover or a Surface Pen (both pricey in their own right).

While it’s not available now, Microsoft says it will ship a version of the Surface Pro with integrated LTE later this year. A version with the new Windows 10 S operating system, rather than the usual Windows 10 Pro, is also planned.

Surface Dock: The Surface Dock , a port expander which adds four additional USB ports and two miniDP connections, is $200.

Mouse: Though both Type Covers include a trackpad, an optional Surface Arc Mouse will be available at launch for $80.

Both the Pen and Signature Type Covers ship in three colors: platinum, burgundy, and cobalt blue. The generic Surface Pro Type Cover is available only in black.

Keyboard: We’ll start with the one everyone will want—a Type Cover keyboard. Microsoft offers two: the Surface Pro Signature Type Cover ($159), clad in fancy Alcantara fabric, and the primarily plastic Microsoft Surface Pro Type Cover ($129).

Though you can use a Surface Pro as a simple tablet, you’ll almost certainly want to buy some of the accessories, all of which cost extra.

Graphics were not specified in the specs, though we’re assuming it’ll be Intel HD Graphics 620, as with the existing Core i5 models.

Microsoft has also said that they plan to ship an LTE variant, which is reported to debut at Microsoft’s Future Decoded event in the U.K. on Halloween. Those prices are official:

Microsoft’s Surface products have never been cheap, and the Surface Pro’s base model is $100 more expensive than the base model for the Surface Pro 4. Keep in mind that the prices below include the Surface Pro tablet only. Microsoft doesn’t bundle it with any accessories at all, not even a keyboard, unless there’s a special promotion.

You can preorder the Surface Pro now. As of June 15, you can now order all but the two most powerful Core i7 models of the Surface Pro—the 16GB RAM/512GB SSD and the the 16GB RAM/1 TB SSD. According to Microsoft, those models were previously scheduled to ship on June 30, but Microsoft has removed the estimated shipping dates. Otherwise, the Surface Pro will launch in 26 markets—including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, India, Taiwan, and more. Our news story from the Surface Pro launch has many more details.

We’ve assembled everything we know about the new Surface Pro: the price and release date, the specs, and our official review. We’ve also answered some of the questions we think you’ll have about Microsoft’s new device.

With the the Surface Pro (2024), Microsoft has rebooted its flagship Surface product, one of the leading 2-in-1s in the category. It’s also shedding the numerical designations of prior products. If you’ve owned a Surface Pro 4, however, you already have a good idea of what Microsoft has in store for you with the new Surface Pro.

Updated Dec. 7: We’ve updated this story with the price of the Surface Pro (2024) with LTE. See “ Price and release date ” below for more details.

When Microsoft announced the Surface Pro on May 23, it was touted as a “laptop” despite its obvious lack of an included keyboard. Wordplay aside, Microsoft’s videos of the product (we’ve compiled selected shots below) show off the sleek design, the inking capabilities, and the ability to use the Surface Dial on the display (though as our review mentions, it takes up a lot of space on the screen).

Microsoft

Performance and battery life

All of the Core i5 and Core i7 chips used in the new Surface Pro are from Intel’s most recent, seventh-generation (Kaby Lake) family of CPUs. Microsoft says the processors offer 20 percent more performance than the Surface Pro 4, 2.5 times more computing performance than the Surface Pro 3, and 1.7 times the compute power of Apple’s iPad Pro. Naturally, those results vary by benchmark; see our Surface Pro (2024) review for details. In some cases, the Surface Pro (2024) performance is even better than expected.

Microsoft also says the Surface Pro will last for 13.5 hours of continuous video looping, up from 9 hours with the Surface Pro 4. Microsoft uses different metrics than we do for its video rundown test, but we’ve found the battery life to be closer to 8 hours.

Frequently asked questions

Microsoft’s reboot of the Surface Pro name follows Hollywood’s trend of “rebooting” movies, from Godzilla to Spider-Man to Ghostbusters. It’s all a bit confusing, so we’ll try to clear up some of the mysteries.

Why isn’t it called the Surface Pro 5?

Our understanding is that Microsoft wanted to refocus itself on the Surface Pro lineup, making a clean break from prior models. It forces us (and you) to use the awkward Surface Pro (2024) terminology, though. 

Microsoft

The Surface Pro’s kickstand can drop to 165 degrees, to what Microsoft calls “Studio mode.”

Two years ago, the Surface Pro would have been the tablet for the masses. Now, perhaps in an attempt to distance the Surface Pro from a struggling Windows tablet market, Microsoft’s calling this a “laptop,” even though the keyboard is an optional accessory. We wish Microsoft would let go of this baffling conceit. In any case, if you’re a mobile professional, the new Surface Pro may be for you.  The tablet is also powerful enough to play some older games at acceptable frame rates, though this shouldn’t be the primary reason to buy it.

Which Surface Pro should you buy?

Obviously, you’ll need to select a version that meets your needs and your budget. In my mind, though, the $1,299 Core i5/8GB RAM/256GB SSD offers a value proposition that’s more in line with the competition. If you opt for one of the Core i7 variants, though, you’ll also receive the Iris Plus graphics core as part of the package, which boosts its GPU capabilities dramatically. 

After I first used it at a briefing, I can say it seems to be a beefed-up Surface Pro 4. Slightly more rounded edges and more recessed cameras are barely noteworthy. I like the kickstand, which reclines a full 165 degrees. Microsoft calls this “Studio Mode” because it mimics the Surface Studio, the Surface Pro’s all-in-one cousin. 

Over the course of our review, I really liked the performance Microsoft built into the Surface Pro with the Iris Plus graphics. Otherwise, if you’ve used a Surface Pro 4, this will be familiar territory. If you want a more traditional notebook, consider the Surface Book or Surface Laptop instead.

How does the Surface Pro differ from the Surface Pro 4, the Surface Book, and the Surface Laptop?

Surface Laptop: If you’re looking for something comparable to the Surface Pro in a true notebook form factor, you should check out the Surface Laptop. Note that its operating system is the classroom-focused Windows 10 S, but it’s upgradable to the same Windows 10 Pro that the Surface Pro uses.

Surface Book: Like the Surface Pro, the Surface Book is a two-in-one with a detachable keyboard. The Surface Book offers a lot more oomph, however, especially with the associated Performance Base. It’s the only Microsoft notebook or 2-in-1 with discrete graphics, too.

How much does the Surface Pro cost?

Our first impressions

The Surface Pro (2024) is a Surface Pro, plain and simple: tablet, magnetically-attached Type Cover keyboard, kickstand. If you were to put a Surface Pro next to a Surface Pro 4, about the only way to tell the difference would be to look at the attached Surface Pen, which lacks the clip of its predecessor.

Mark Hachman / IDG

The new Surface Pen (below) features 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, about double that of its predecessor (above).

I was impressed by the greater range of the kickstand. I’m not sure potential buyers will care as much as I do about the fact that you can now use the Surface Dial peripheral onscreen, though it’s a nice touch. For a deeper look, please see our review of the Surface Pro (2024).

Specs and features

While the Surface Book offers a bit more physical space to pack in battery and discrete GPUs, the Surface Pro maintains an emphasis on portability. The key upgrade for the Surface Pro refresh are the Intel Kaby Lake CPUs, which bring several fundamental improvements in speed and battery life. If you want something a bit slower and a lot cheaper, try the Core m model: The performance should be satisfactory for basic office tasks.

1GHz Core m3-7Y30

2.6GHz Core i5-7300U (Kaby Lake)

2.5GHz Core i7-7660U (Kaby Lake)

Memory options will vary, depending on your choice of Surface Pro (2024). Note that there is no 8GB option for the Core i7 at this time.

4GB: Core m3

8 GB: Core m3 or Core i5

Storage

Your SSD size will vary:

128GB (Core m, Core i5)

512 GB (Core i7)

1TB (Core i7)

Our review unit included a Samsung KUS040202M-B000 NVMe drive, providing among the fastest read speeds we’ve tested: 1,702 MBps.

The Surface Pro offers only integrated graphics. Graphics performance will increase along with processor power. But the Surface Pro is one of the only tablets or notebook we’ve seen with the Iris Plus graphics core inside.

Core m: Intel HD Graphics 615

Core i5: Intel HD Graphics 620

Display

Corning Gorilla Glass

12.3-inch (diagonal) PixelSense Display

3:2 aspect ratio

Surface Pen-enabled (sold separately)

10-point multi-touch

The new Surface Pro’s keyboard features 1.3mm of key travel, slightly less than the 1.5mm of travel used by the Surface Laptop. If you buy the Surface Pro Signature Type Cover, you’ll get an Alcantara-clad deck that’s laser-cut to fit snugly around the keyboard keys, in either platinum, burgundy, or cobalt blue. Otherwise, you can buy a standard Type Cover, in black.

Software 

Though the Surface Pro uses Windows 10 Pro, Microsoft says a version of the Surface Pro will ship later on with Windows 10 S installed.

Somewhat surprisingly, Microsoft has chosen to stick with its established Surface Connector for charging, rather than use USB-C. Supposedly, that’s for reasons of backward compatibility with existing Surface chargers, as well as in response to people who complained that the micro-USB-powered Surface 3 took forever to charge. 

USB 3.0 Type A

mini DisplayPort

Surface Connector for charging

Wi-Fi: 802.11ac, IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n compatible

Bluetooth 4.1

(Optional) LTE, with a Cat 9 modem on board that will support up to 20 cellular bands across the globe

Mark Hachman / IDG

The right side of the tablet houses the three main ports: the Surface connector, USB-A, and the microDP port. Like other Surface devices, a microSD slot hides behind the kickstand.

Audio/visual

(Unchanged since the Surface Pro 4)

8MP (rear)

Stereo microphones

Stereo speakers

Microsoft rates the Surface Pro’s battery life at  13.5 hours, just an hour shorter than the 14.5 hours claimed for the Surface Laptop. Microsoft bases its claims on video rundown tests, the same metric PCWorld uses. We found the battery life of the Surface Pro (2024) clocked in at just over eight hours, however, probably due to the brightness settings we used while testing.

Exterior dimensions

11.50 x 7.9 x 0.33 inches

2.37 pounds to 2.41 pounds, with Type Cover. The exact weight will vary by model. The Core m model is the lightest.

Chassis

Aluminum

The Surface Pro ships in just one color. Accessories, including the Type Cover and Surface Pen, can be purchased in these colors to personalize the tablet:

Burgundy

Platinum

Black

Warranty

One-year limited hardware warranty

Surface Pro

Power supply

Quick Start Guide

What You Need To Know About Smart Tvs

Since the early 2010s, smart TVs have become a significant presence in the modern home entertainment marketplace. A hybrid of television and computing technologies, they serve as a central hub for entertainment and news from a wide range of sources: over-the-air broadcasts, cable, streamed video from the Internet, as well as game consoles, Blu-ray players and other devices. Though gadget-lovers appreciate the variety possible with smart TVs, old-school TV fans may prefer the simplicity of a basic television set.

Appearance

Smart TVs look like almost any modern traditional television set: a familiar rectangular screen on a stand, a forest of connector sockets on the backside, and a remote control. The real difference is in what you don’t see – the microprocessors, software, and other tech on the inside.

Technology

Operating System

When you turn a smart TV on, it “boots” like a computer into an custom operating system tailored to managing its various functions. The OS software coordinates the video sources, runs the apps, and provides on-screen menus you navigate with the remote.

Apps

Traditional TV programming from cable, satellite or antenna is but one of many functions offered on a smart TV. They come with a host of apps, each tailored to a specific purpose. In addition to factory-installed apps, you can typically add hundreds of others. Streaming apps, such as YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu, provide content from these sources. There are also apps for games which run on the TV itself. Other apps deliver specialty content such as for sports leagues and a range of Interests. Utility apps let you “mirror” video and images from your smartphone, laptop or tablet device, or display a slideshow of pictures from a USB stick.

High Definition

Smart TV features are typically found on higher-end models, so they come with High-Definition and 4/8K screens. Note that not all ultra high definition TVs have what it takes to be a smart TV. Some offer a super-sharp picture without the processor, apps or WiFi.

Advantages

The features found on smart TVs command a premium price compared to simpler models, so be prepared to spend money. Their flexibility and sophistication also means they’re complicated, with many features to learn and menus to navigate. Because of the remote’s limited ability to enter text, web browsing and other functions are more awkward than doing the same task on a tablet. Also, some smart TVs spy on their owner’s viewing habits to gather marketing data.

Conclusion

Smart TVs are a significant evolution in home entertainment, offering many media options from a single convenient package. For those who are into the latest high-tech gadgets and who might already own set-top boxes, game consoles and other devices, a smart TV will help further expand their digital universe. On the other hand, others who want nothing more than to flip on a favorite channel would probably be happier with a simple television set.

Image credit: Remote control on a table with a TV on the background by DepositPhotos

John Parsons

John Parsons is a freelance writer with many years in software development. He has a Physics degree and lives in Chicago with his wife and a zooful of animals.

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What You Need To Know About Usb Fingerprint Readers

Do you hate typing passwords each time you log in to a computer? If this describes you, it will be faster for you to use biometric login. And if your computer doesn’t come with one, you can use a USB fingerprint reader. This USB device is tiny, lightweight, and easy to carry. Being biometric, it offers an extra layer of security that ordinary passwords simply can’t.

To substantiate that, I can’t help but think of an interesting episode from Cobra Kai, the recent successor to The Karate Kid franchise. (The 30-year old rivalry between the two lead characters is exciting to watch.) In this scene, Robby, the truant son of Johnny Lawrence, steals a customer’s laptop. All he has to do is pose as a smug tech executive and ask for the password. After quietly walking away with the device, Robby’s gang quickly sells it on eBay while the gullible customer is relaxing at a Starbucks.

One has to wonder had this customer enabled fingerprint access on his laptop and knew how to remote wipe it, could it have at least protected him from data theft? Fortunately, it was just a television show, but tech repair scams like this are surprisingly common in the real world.

What Do USB Fingerprint Readers Do?

USB fingerprint readers work with any USB port or docking station to unlock a computer. They are expected to work as plug-and-play devices, which are readily compatible with Windows 7/8/10 systems. Kensington VeriMark and Benss Fingerprint Reader are two highly-rated USB fingerprint readers that do not require external drivers.

A few other desirable features of these devices include:

360-degree detection: you should be able to log in from any finger angle

Support for ten fingerprint IDs: if you are working with Windows Hello or other similar systems, you should be able to register all ten fingers.

Compatible with Google, Facebook, Dropbox and Microsoft ID: with a good USB fingerprint device such as Kensington VeriMark, you can not only access your computer but also several online services. In fact, these devices can serve as “tokens” to help you get rid of phone verification on Google.

To set up a USB fingerprint reader on Windows 7/8/10, you need to set up Windows Hello.

Who Does Not Need USB Fingerprint Reader?

If your computer came with a built-in fingerprint scanner, you do not need this gadget. You can check your device’s compatibility online for all known Windows 10 brands. You can simply set up the built-in scanner with Windows Hello.

Device Failing to Register?

One of the rare problems with USB fingerprint devices is that sometimes they may fail to read the user properly. This is definitely true for me, as I think some people experience this problem more often than others do. With wet or greasy fingers, you are likely to fail authentication more often.

However, the well-known brands mentioned here are very responsive to finger touch. Windows Hello also allows you to authenticate all ten fingers just in case one of them fails.

In Summary

Image Credit: Cobra Kai Season 1 episode 4

Sayak Boral

Sayak Boral is a technology writer with over eleven years of experience working in different industries including semiconductors, IoT, enterprise IT, telecommunications OSS/BSS, and network security. He has been writing for MakeTechEasier on a wide range of technical topics including Windows, Android, Internet, Hardware Guides, Browsers, Software Tools, and Product Reviews.

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Google Chrome Incognito Mode: Here’s What You Need To Know

Google Chrome Incognito Mode: Here’s What You Need To Know

Such private browsing mode is designed to prevent data breaches by removing history and cookies associated with an individual browsing session.

What is Google Chrome Incognito Mode?

To be more specific, Incognito Mode is Google Chrome’s private mode where your browsing history, cookies, and browsing data is not saved by Google Chrome. It allows you to browse the web privately keeping your security intact and hides you from data-hungry publishers who steal browsing cookies and history to show you relevant notifications. Incognito mode means an assumed or false identity!

Tip: Chrome won’t save your browsing history, cookies and site data or information entered in forms.

Also Read: Best google chrome security extensions

How Does Incognito Mode Work?

When you normally browse, your browser collects your browsing information like history, saved cookies, search strings, downloaded data information, and cache to speed up page load time.

Google Incognito Mode helps you to browse without going public. Your search history and cookies are not saved by your browser. Using Incognito mode means your identity is not going private and the browser is not capturing your search behavior.

Tip: Your activity might still be visible to websites you visit, your employer or school or your internet service provider.

How to Turn ON Incognito Mode?

Step 1. Open your web browser (Google Chrome).

A new Google Incognito window will open with the Google Incognito mode. It will have an Incognito icon on the top-right corner.

You can also use a keyboard shortcut to turn on Incognito mode. On your Windows, Linux or Chrome OS, you just need to open the Google Chrome browser and press (Ctrl + Shift + N) to open an Incognito Window.

If you are using a Mac, you can press (Command ⌘ + Shift + N) key combination.

How to Turn Off Incognito Mode?

To turn off Incognito mode, there is nothing you need to do. You just need to close the Incognito tab that you have opened for the Incognito search. Closing the tab will clear all the history, cookies and browsing data that you used in the Incognito Window.

Tip: You can switch between Incognito Window to a Regular Window as many times as you want. But a regular window will always save your data until you go Incognito.

How to Turn ON Incognito Mode on Android?

To turn on Incognito mode on an Android device, you will need to follow these steps.

Step 1. Tap on the Google Chrome browser icon on the device.

Step 2. On the right-hand side of the address bar, tap on the three dots to explore menu options.

Step 3. Tap on the ‘New Incognito Tab’ option and you will see the Incognito window.

Step 4. When you are down browsing, you can close the Incognito search window.

Tip: You can’t take a screenshot of your phone if you are using an Incognito window.

Private Browsing in Other Web Browsers

Similar to Google Incognito mode, other web browsers also offer private browsing.

Hidden Facts Behind Google Incognito Mode

After reading this article on Google Chrome Incognito mode, you may wish to use it while banking or performing an Incognito search though few researchers claim that Google Incognito mode is still not safe.

And they are TRUE to some extent. Google can still identify you even though you are using Google Incognito Mode. Google can still link your browsing history, cookies and identity to the websites that you browsed being undercover in Google Private Browsing.

Google warns you that your activity may still be visible to your visited websites, your internet service providers, and the school or employer that holds control to the network.

There is a Way Out to This Situation!

Now that you know how to turn on Incognito mode and what does Incognito mode do, you can use a trick to hide while using Chrome private mode.

The best way to keep yourself safe is to log out of the browser, close all the browser tabs and then initiate Google Incognito mode. Logging off will delink your identity from the browser until your next login. All the browsing cookies, cache, history will not be associated with your Google Account as it is logged off. Next time when you use Google Incognito, ensure to Browse safe, stay safe and use Google private browsing like a professional.

Tip: The above solution is a silver bullet to your identity security while browsing.

Wrapping Up

In this round-up, we have covered what is Incognito mode and how does Incognito mode work. You have also explored how to turn ON Incognito mode on different web browsers and how to smartly exit out of the Incognito search.

Next Read: Gboard Brings Incognito Mode For Supporting Apps

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Raj Soni

From Labs To Lookalikes: What You Need To Know About ‘Sustainable’ Diamonds

When you think of luxury, you may think of something rare and beautiful—and for some the epitome of luxury would be a glittering diamond. While the custom of wedding and engagement rings has been around for centuries, the diamond as the peak of premarital luxury can pretty much be tied back to a De Beers ad in 1947 featuring the phrase “A Diamond is Forever.”

And since then, diamonds have stuck. Back in the early 2000s, 1,8 million engagement rings every year were sold across the United States with 96 percent of them featuring diamonds. In more recent years, after the worst of the COVID-19 lockdowns have passed, the demand for diamonds (and other marriage-associated luxuries) have shot up, and prices lovebirds are willing to pay have also risen. 

But, as lovely as a diamond ring can look, there’s sometimes a dark story behind it if it has been mined. Environmentally and ethically, diamond mining has faced a myriad of concerns from ecological destruction to human rights violations, which has led consumers to question whether a lab-grown diamond is a better option, or even if a diamond is right for them. 

Some diamond companies have held strong in their stance that mined are superior to lab-grown, but as more consumer options arise, deciding what’s “best”–for you and the planet–may be confusing.

The environmental and ethical implications of diamond mining

[Related: A buyer’s guide to ethically sourced diamonds.]

The issues with diamond mining don’t end with environmental impacts. For centuries, the diamond industry has been synonymous with labor abuse, including The De Beers controversy over “blood diamonds,” or diamonds that are mined in war zones and can fund violent conflicts, of the late 1990’s as well as Petra Diamond’s recent abuse of workers in Tanzania. Around two decades ago, governments ended trading in blood or “conflict” diamonds which had led to several disputes across the continent of Africa, by implementing the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. But, according to Human Rights Watch, there are still some serious issues with abuse, forced labor, and underpayment in diamond-heavy regions. These concerns have even led to bans of imports on gems and gold from certain countries associated with forced labor, and there is now even a movement to get Russian diamonds banned or labeled as “conflict” diamonds due to the war in Ukraine. 

With the cloud of imperialism, environmental destruction, and conflict hanging over them, it can be hard to view a diamond as a symbol of love. But when local communities are considered, mining industries can potentially have a positive impact on the local economy, says Kyle Simon, GIA diamonds graduate and Co-Founder of jewelry company Clear Cut. Botswana is one of these unique cases, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The once impoverished African nation now owns 15 percent of the De Beers diamond company and 50 percent of the actual mining operations company. Part of the funding from the diamond industry goes back to education, healthcare, and infrastructure. Still, it can be tricky knowing exactly where your exact diamond originated. 

Diamond alternatives that have taken off

The first thing that might pop up on a quick search for ethical or sustainable diamonds are lab grown. Yep, diamonds no longer take billions of years under the earth to create. They can be made pretty efficiently in a lab anywhere, requiring no mining at all. And they are technically still “real” diamonds—at least chemically, physically, and visually. The technology has been around to create these diamonds since the 1950’s, according to lab-grown diamond company Clean Origin, but has just recently taken off as an alternative to mined diamonds. The price point for a lab grown diamond usually falls around 30 percent below a mined diamond. 

Synthetic diamonds are created in one of two ways—high pressure high temperature (HPHT) or chemical vapor deposition (CVD). HPHT is the original way that lab diamonds were made, and the process consists of putting a tiny diamond in carbon and heating the “seed” up to over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and pressure of around 1.5 million pounds per square inch, according to jewelry company Ritani. The carbon around the itty bitty diamond then melts into a diamond, giving a glittery, bigger diamond. 

CVD, on the other hand, puts the “seed” in a vacuum chamber full of carbon-filled gasses and heat of around 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. The carbon in the gas turns into plasma and layers onto the diamond seed, creating what are called Type IIA diamonds—or super chemically pure diamonds that are extremely rare to find out in the wild. 

[Related: Diamonds contain remnants of Earth’s ancient atmosphere.]

“Since lab-grown diamonds are created in the same way, under high heat with pure carbon, and are chemically, visually, and physically identical to mined diamonds, we evaluate that there is no reason to continue these dangerous mining practices in engagement rings and fine diamond jewelry,” says Janie Marshall, Head of Brand at Clean Origin.

Concerns about energy use of diamond-making labs, as well as the efficiency and cleanliness of the two methods (some argue CVD is the more environmentally friendly option, while 50-60 percent of lab-grown diamonds are still made using HPHT), keep lab made diamonds from being environmentally clear. “The laboratory requires a tremendous amount of energy,” says Simon. “So like in a laboratory, you’re mimicking a process that took billions of years to occur.”

Not to mention, current regulation of the lab-grown diamond industry is “the Wild West right now,” independent diamond analyst Paul Zimnisky told Vogue Business in 2023. “Regulatory agencies don’t necessarily know how to deal with them yet,” he added, “and there is a lot of misinformation, with some companies marketing them as an environmentally superior product.”

Additionally, there is the issue of reselling your lab-grown diamond—there simply isn’t the same market for used lab-grown gems that there is for mined diamonds. 

“A lot of people are really looking for vintage diamonds … and those will be recycled through the market over and over and over,” Simon says. “With lab-grown, there’s really no resale market because of the lack of value. It kind of incentivizes people to just continue to manufacture and produce more.”

Of course, there are other options out there that aren’t diamonds at all—moissanite, white sapphires, and cubic zirconia. Moissanite is also lab-made and nearly as hard as a diamond (a 9.25 on the Mohs hardness scale—a diamond is a 10) and these gems are considerably more affordable. A moissanite is about one-tenth as expensive as their diamond counterparts, Don O’Connell, president and CEO of moissanite maker Charles & Colvard, told Brides Magazine. But, they are also created in a lab, which carries some of the same dilemmas as lab-grown diamonds. 

Similarly, other brilliant white gems like a white sapphire are also more affordable, less-sought-after, and less controversial—but don’t shimmer in the same way that a natural or lab-made diamond would. White sapphires are a bit cheaper than moissanite, so a good chunk cheaper than diamonds. Sapphires can be made in a lab or mined just like diamonds. Cubic zirconia is by far the most affordable option (a one carat stone goes for around $20) but it does have a tendency to wear out or scratch and would need to be regularly replaced. 

Final verdict

The most sustainable option of pretty much any product is to use what you already have or buy it second-hand. So, if you’re looking for a gemstone or jewelry of any kind, lab made or natural, be sure to check out some options that have already been loved for a few years. You can even take an older gem and put it on a fresh band for a little bit of an update. Second-hand retailers often have a wide variety of pre-loved engagement rings, bands and loose gems. If you’re looking for something vintage, antique jewelry shops or Etsy can be a good place to look. 

But, if a new diamond is an absolute need, taking a long hard look at where it comes from is an absolute necessity—be it mined or chúng tôi sustainability and ethical problems of diamond mining throughout history are too big to push to the side, but a lot of lab-grown diamonds are still shrouded in mystery.

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