Are lab-grown diamonds all the rage or a lasting entry for newcomers? –WWD

The lab-grown diamond has been widely accepted by the general public in recent years – due to the geopolitical issues of the mined diamond supply chain – and everyone wants to be part of it.

But while many other brands educate consumers that lab-grown diamonds have the same chemical composition and appearance, federal agencies like the Federal Trade Commission prohibit referring to “lab-grown diamonds” as simply diamonds without the modifier. (Greenwashing also has its place among the priorities of the FTC, which aims in particular to update its “Green Guides” this year).

Still, new brands and existing jewelers are betting on the rapidly growing market, but the sustainability factor is still ongoing.

In June, New York-based clothing and accessories brand Montserrat launched its first line of sustainable sunglasses – using organic castor oil and 3D printing technology – but co-founders Carolina Cordón-Bouzán and Gayle Yelon maintain that lab-grown diamonds are their future.

Developed under the namesake LGD by Mark Ingram, a sort of joint venture under parent company Palimpsest New York, Montserrat offers everyday lab-grown diamonds alongside their apparel and sunglasses for between $120 for a nail in mushroom shape and $1,330 for his “Granada Set” (complete with earrings, necklace and bracelet). Mark Ingram’s LGD focuses more on festive gift giving moments for occasions like weddings or birthdays.

Many lab-grown diamonds are made by grafting a small piece of diamond and growing it in a high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) machine that mimics the pressures found in nature. While a 2021 study between lab-grown diamonds and mined diamonds published in the Basel-based journal MDPI found that some medium-sized lab-grown diamonds produced by HPHT are better for environmental wear, considerations such as the Energy, diamond size, machine used, and conditions present affect the validity of catch-all eco-claims.

As for the carbon footprint of Mark Ingram’s Montserrat and LGD lab-grown diamonds, the brands said they rely on offsets for all manufacturing and transportation (they’re grown in India and made in Manhattan ). Terrapass is the offsetter of choice to finance their renewable energy and methane capture projects. Additionally, LGD by Mark Ingram does not claim to be an entirely sustainable brand today, instead offering the assurance of using sustainable materials.

Lately, jeweler Bario Neal is also focusing on lab-grown products. The small jewelry brand designs in Brooklyn and has workshops in Philadelphia and a strictly enforced supplier code of conduct.

Anna Bario, Chief Designer and Founder, moved past the millennial sustainability hype and said, chiefly, the Russian war has exacerbated diamond supply chain issues with natural stone prices rising by around 30% year over year. “It’s really, I think, an accelerated evolution to the lab” despite the potential environmental bias that mined diamonds signify a closer kinship with the earth.

“Where we love to work is where we can create social and environmental benefits,” she told WWD. According to Bario Neal’s latest sustainability report, 77% of its cut diamond suppliers have participated in its lengthy Code of Conduct process which consists of an hour-long interview with each supplier as well as paperwork to ensure compliance with the fight against money laundering in the United States, among other calls. .

Unstudied marine mining, mercury issues, lack of transparency in gemstones, and other factors ultimately made it easier for her brand to go to the lab.

In a webinar on July 12, senior executives from the lab-grown diamond space shared their views on the rapidly growing sector, including everything from talent and production capacity to color trends. . Resoundingly, leaders cared less about why the movement was integrating and more about scale, standardization and the ability to come.

Amish Shah, President of Altr Created Diamonds, emphasized that “for the consumer, it’s about the size and the beauty of the diamond.” He said retailers now find themselves in a “perfect storm” to expand their options as lab-grown diamonds increase their profit margin from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s.

Altr Created Diamonds was founded in 2016 (produced exclusively by wholesaler Riam Group) two years before De Beers introduced its lab edition called “Lightbox Jewelry”.

To that, Lightbox chief commercial officer Nick Smart hammered home the point. “You tell people what you’re doing – growing diamonds in a lab. No matter where they are from or what they do, people are immediately interested in them.

Sarah C. Figueiredo