They’re one of the few jewellery details that appeal to almost everyone. You can have a preference for daintier pieces or super chunky ones, lots of layers or simple singles, yellow gold or white (or even rose), but even the least traditional amongst us – whether we like to admit it or not – go a little weak at the knees for a truly mega diamond.

Asscher cuts, brilliant rounds, emeralds, radiants, cushions, ovals, pears, princess… carat weights, GIA grades, clarity, colour – you’re likely aware that there are seemingly a million different decisions to make when buying a diamond, but did you know that there’s actually a whole other decision that needs to be made before you even get to this level of specificity?

A decision that’s usually made for you without you even knowing it, all thanks to ‘tradition’.

Because there’s more than one kind of ‘diamond’. We’re not talking about all the aforementioned aesthetic details, but rather the way in which the diamond is formed.

Traditional, natural diamonds – which are no doubt the majority of diamonds you’ve seen up until now – were formed over 3 billion years ago deep within the Earth’s crust under conditions of intense heat and pressure.

The majority of natural diamonds are found in Africa, and the extraction process often requires extreme labour. Despite this, millions of African diamond miners earn less than a dollar a day.

But not every natural diamond is extracted under such questionable circumstances, and there are a number of efforts and initiatives underway to improve the ethics of diamond mining. What is rarely discussed, however, is the alternative; lab-grown diamonds.

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• Let’s talk about lab diamonds. We were very dismissive of them until quite recently, and although we are still sceptical of the ‘eco’ marketing behind them (the labs are huge polluters), there is no denying that more and more people are choosing them. The very best lab grown diamonds have the same chemical, physical and visual attributes as natural mined diamonds. They look the same because they are the same. The difference is that one was created billions of years ago within the Earth’s crust under extreme heat and pressure whilst the other was grown from a tiny diamond fragment in a microwave reactor. It’s not for us to say; but we hope this might be one of the finest lab grown diamond rings ever made. We’ll let you decide:) Thank you for choosing us to build this fabulous ring Mr X. ———————————————————— 💍Ring Spec 💍Cushion cut solitaire with hidden halo ring 💎Certified as 2.55ct, F colour, VVS2 clarity with Very Good polish & symmetry 💎Cushion was 8.45mm x 7.13mm 💍Platinum setting 🧪Lab grown diamond ———————————————————— 💷 Get in touch to check the cost to build yours • Get in touch with us • 📲07974 728 911 👈🏻WhatsApp ☎️ 0207 993 4020 (Office) 📧 support@londondiamonds.com ———————————————————— Why choose us💎 • ✅We are not traditional jewellers. London Diamonds was born when our founder realised how much he’d overpaid for his wife’s engagement ring ✅REAL rings. REAL clients. REAL reviews. No display / dummy rings ✅#1 rated jeweller on Google ✅Independent and unbiased, NOT tied to one wholesaler ✅Lifetime guarantee on all rings ✅Every diamond is hand-picked and checked • ❌No hard sell ❌We exposed the retailers selling milky diamonds online ❌No pretend discounts, sales, ‘manager specials’ or Black Friday ‘promotions’ EVER ❌No ‘up-selling’ to try an embarrass you into spending more money ❌No ‘celebrity’ promotions ❌No inflated insurance ‘valuations’ ❌No lifestyle content, just diamonds ❌We NEVER quote only the total carat weight to mislead you ——————————————————— . . #cushioncutdiamond #cushiondiamond #cushioncut #labgrowndiamonds #labdiamonds #labdiamond #bespokejewellery #bespokeengagementring #londonjewellery #londondiamonds #londondiamondsofficial

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A relatively self-explanatory concept, lab-grown diamonds are diamonds that have been manufactured by humans in a controlled environment. They don’t require the back-breaking labour.

They don’t require the same amount of time (3 billion years would be one long waiting list). And they’re almost always far cheaper than natural diamonds – likely due to the historical lack of awareness and subsequent demand.

As the popularity of lab-grown diamonds begins to gather pace, we caught up with the girls behind Kimaï – a luxury ethical jewellery brand specialising in lab-grown diamonds – to discover the truth about the phenomenon, and why their family backgrounds in natural diamonds encouraged them to make the move to lab-grown…

Talk us through your family’s history in natural diamond mining?

Sidney: Jessica and I are childhood friends and grew up together in Antwerp, Belgium. Our families were both in the diamond and jewellery industry; Jessica was born into a family of [natural] diamond traders and both my father and grandfather were well established Belgian jewellers, so from a young age we grew up with knowledge and an understanding of the industry.

What made you decide to branch out into lab-grown diamonds?

Jessica: Thanks to our families’ background, Sidney and I were both granted an unusual insight from a very young age into the diamond and jewellery industry which is famously shrouded in mystery and controversy. As we grew up, we were more and more curious about supply chains and it became important to us to know where the things we were buying originated from.

So that’s why, in 2018, we joined our creative and business heads to co-found Kimaï. We wanted to address this lack of transparency and set out to realign the industry by creating a modern brand which set out to deliver progressive – but luxurious – fine-jewellery, catered to an ethically and environmentally conscious generation of consumers.

Lab-grown diamonds are no doubt more ethical, but is it also a more sustainable method than natural diamond mining?

Sidney: Lab-grown diamonds are created using extreme pressure and heat inside a machine. It is true that they need a significant amount of energy, however the type and quantity of energy used is very different. Mining in remote areas can require the use of Diesel generators, whereas we use labs located in areas where they use solar power and other renewable sources of electricity. 

This helps us to ensure a sustainable and human friendly production process, whereas mined diamonds can have a very large carbon footprint. Mining diamonds also uses double the amount of energy than that required in labs.

What are the physical differences (if any) between lab-grown and natural diamonds? Would an expert be able to tell them apart?

Jessica: Mined and lab-grown diamonds are physically and aesthetically identical. The only difference is how the diamond is formed. To make a lab-grown diamond, we replicate the conditions in which traditional diamonds grow below the earth’s surface.

The result is identical in colour, cut, carat and clarity and retains the sought-after magic of traditional diamonds without the ethical and environmental impact the industry has long been associated with. In 2018, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) re-categorised the definition of a diamond, removing the word ‘natural’.

So, there is now no classified, scientific or molecular difference between mined and lab-grown diamonds, with industry experts unable to tell the difference visually.

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We’re big believers in serendipity, and making this beautiful ring really felt like fate. Kimaï’s engagement ring collection, like so many of 2020’s projects, had been delayed. But working on this bespoke ring reminded us that people don’t stop falling in love because of a virus and we should be there to help celebrate that! So, we will be launching Kimaï engagement pieces within the next few months and we will be using this time now to learn from you guys about what you want. Asking lots of little questions, so when the time comes for a bigger one, we’ll be ready to go! In the meantime, although the webpage isn’t ready, we’re still available for bespoke projects like this one – so just DM us and we’ll get right back to you 💍

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Why are lab-grown diamonds so much more affordable, and do you see them increasing in value soon?

Value for us is knowing where things come from and being confident about the positive impact we have on our planet. That’s what our generation see as better value nowadays. It comes with the story of the piece and the moment in life.