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Questioning the ‘real’ and ‘natural’: A case study on diamonds

Boons, Sofie


Sofie Boons


The aim of the presentation is to explore and question the definitions assigned to materials and their promotion as natural’ and ‘real’. When it comes to identifying materials, how many processes applied to the material can be justified for it to be described as ‘natural’, and who decides? If physically and visually two materials are identical, as is the case with diamonds, where does the value assigned to them in fact come from? Is it always fair a higher value is assigned to materials which had nature as creator for a significant amount of time in comparison to an identical material which has a reduced impact on nature? By unpacking the definitions coined by the industry players
representing mined diamonds, I aim to demonstrate the importance of questioning terms as they are being assigned to materials. In more general terms I demonstrate that identifying laboratory grown diamonds as ‘fake’ and ‘un-natural’ can be re-contextualised, which questions their appropriateness as descriptive terms. Ultimately,
I aim to show that the use of terms and questioning of terms is a necessary exercise for all those who produce, use and purchase materials. The themes covered are part of my overarching doctoral studies.


Boons, S. (2020, December). Questioning the ‘real’ and ‘natural’: A case study on diamonds. Presented at Art of Research 2020, Aalto, Finland

Presentation Conference Type Other
Conference Name Art of Research 2020
Conference Location Aalto, Finland
Start Date Dec 3, 2020
End Date Dec 4, 2020
Deposit Date Dec 7, 2020
Keywords authenticity, terminology, diamond, natural, real
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