Is customer education crucial to this new direction for diamonds?
Yes, because what most consumers don't understand – and what most lab-grown diamond companies don't tell you – is that they have to source their carbon from somewhere. And that somewhere is inevitably from fossil fuels and it’s often sourced through methodologies such as fracking and drilling. So when customers are on a lab-grown diamond brand's website and see the claim that it's sustainable, they are not always getting the information they need to make an informed decision. With an Aether diamond, that’s one of the things we’re trying to do: shift the diamond industry towards full education and radical transparency, better informing consumers who are already very well informed and will read up on your brand.
Why is it crucial for companies like Aether to take a whole-system approach? For example, you only work with 100% Fairmined gold to produce your pieces...
Firstly, the aforementioned radical transparency not only adds integrity to the industry but gives the consumer tools and knowledge. Then, while we can create these carbon-negative diamonds, they still have to be set into a ring or piece of jewellery. So we have put that same intention into not just the Fairmined gold that we're using but every other element of creating a piece of jewellery, including logistics, delivery and our packaging. I’m proud of our packaging because every single element is either from a renewable source, is entirely recyclable or biodegradable – and it still looks luxurious. We're really going to be the first and only ‘luxury’ lab-grown diamond brand.
Do you anticipate a future of by-product luxury, where pollution or surplus materials are elevated into desirable goods?
I love this question. What's exciting for us is that you can approach [jewellery] from a by-product or a residual impact standpoint. For us, it's about taking that pollution and repurposing it. We’ve already seen luxury footwear and handbags being developed in sustainable and repurposed ways. So much waste is just sitting in landfill sites right now – gold in particular – that I'm very optimistic that there’s going to be a solution to reclaim the things we’ve been wasteful about in the past.
Could we see Aether produce or market diamonds based on where the carbon has been sequestered; for example, a Mumbai diamond or a New York engagement ring?
That’s something we're working on developing, but as a marketer I see our main consumers as eco-minded, focused on the sourcing integrity of the products that they buy. But at the same time, we are focused on the early adopters. We’re already seeing this on our waiting list – people who are excited simply by the fact that this is a technological marvel. We're taking air and turning it into something solid that’s beautiful, desirable and valued. Ultimately, our customers will overlap in that they will have a vision for the future, whether it's for the planet, for the person they love or just their own understanding of what the future looks like.
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