Diamonds have always had a place in our jewellery collections, but what about lab-grown diamonds?
The man-made alternatives, in fact, are now being embraced more than ever. The sparkling stones, created in a matter of weeks using chemical processes that mimic what nature takes years to do, hold a special appeal to today’s customers.
For one, they’re entirely traceable — they go from the lab to you. You can’t say the same of natural diamonds, whose mining processes are often tainted with unethical labour and environmental damage. In fact, to date, Tiffany & Co. is the only major mined diamond jeweller to offer transparency on its diamond supply chain.
In terms of quality, lab-grown diamonds don’t even differ from mined diamonds. They are one and the same, but thanks to technology, the former are more consistently produced in terms of cut, colour and clarity. The standards of these newer diamonds can indeed match some of the most prized gems in the world.
Sustainable and ethical production aside, lab-grown diamonds also boast an attractive price point, even if they shine as brilliantly as the gems fetch millions at auctions. De Beers, the old-timer diamond company that made those clear stones desirable in the first place, told us that “diamonds are forever”, but emerging jewellery start-ups are introducing a new idea: diamonds are for everyone.
Today, you have plenty of options to choose from if you’re looking for lab-grown diamond jewellery. And who wouldn’t want to spoil themselves with some guilt-free bling? It helps that the birthstone of April is the diamond, too. If you’re all for embracing modernity and rejecting traditions, consider making a purchase at one of the lab-grown diamond brands we highlight below.
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Header image courtesy of Aether Diamonds.
Looking for something to add to your minimalist jewellery collection? Or perhaps a diamond engagement ring made through a transparent and conflict-free process? Fine jewellery brand Vrai has just what you need. The Californian label uses carbon neutral diamonds from Diamond Foundry, the Leonardo DiCaprio-backed company that is powered by renewable energy. But for couples, Vrai offers something even more special: it lets you design your own engagement diamond ring from scratch, down to the cut of the stone, at a relatively affordable price.
You’d think that De Beers, the world’s largest diamond mining company, would stay staunchly devoted to natural gems and reject all modern alternatives. But it did an about-face in 2018, when it launched Lightbox, its own brand of lab-grown diamonds. The stones, produced in the US, come in white, but Lightbox also offers them in pink and blue, two colours that are pretty rare in the world of natural diamonds. These stunning diamonds can be yours for a decent price if you purchase any one of Lightbox’s everyday jewellery pieces, which range from earring studs to stacking rings.
If there were any questions about lab-grown diamonds’ place on the red carpet, where the likes of traditional jewellery labels like Cartier and Tiffany & Co. reign supreme, Lark & Berry has already proved non-believers wrong. Last year, the London-based fine jewellery brand teamed up with Diamond Foundry to create a stunning diamond necklace for Billy Porter, which wowed the crowd at the 2020 Academy Awards. Meghan Markle is also a fan of the brand’s creations, which encompass everyday pieces and bridal jewellery. If you’re looking for something fun, consider Lark & Berry’s new CCC collection, which feature edgy designs made with the environment in mind.
New York-based Aether Diamonds goes beyond the other labels on this list: it creates ‘carbon-negative’ diamonds using the excess carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere. The brand has a unique system for capturing and filtering polluted air, from which it singles out carbon dioxide and turns it into hydrocarbon — the raw material for its shiny stones. With every carat it creates, Aether Diamonds effectively removes around 20 tonnes of carbon from the sky, which is probably higher than your own annual carbon footprint. The brand only just launched last December, but it already has a waiting list that you can sign up for to get your hands on its diamond rings and contemporary jewellery pieces.
Antwerp-based Kimai specialises in creating statement jewellery crafted entirely of lab-grown diamonds. The company champions a “Recycle, not Resource” mantra and ensures a completely transparent process from the initial sourcing to the final product that are handmade by local artisans. They also use gold which is 100 percent recycled — a piece that looks as good as it is for the planet.