Diamonds might be a girl’s best friend, but they certainly don’t have the same cheerful relationship with the environment. Diamond mining has been known to lead to the destruction of entire ecosystems, from riverbeds to forests, and the ethics behind mining them can be shaky, at best. We all know about the toll that blood diamonds leave in their wake.
That’s why plenty of brands are placing their bets on cultivated diamonds, which are stones created by artificial processes, rather than geological ones. Barneys New York is the latest to jump on this green (albeit still very sparkly) bandwagon, through a partnership with Diamond Foundry.
Based in San Francisco, the company emulates the high-pressure environment where diamonds are formed. “Earth forms diamonds within hours actually; our process cultivates them over months. Our production is boutique relative to the industrial scale of mining,” reads the Diamond Foundry website. A big red banner on their site also boasts Leonardo DiCaprio as a proud investor in this company of eco-friendly stones.
For their partnership with Barneys, three designers are offering up baubles in their signature style, each of which is set with ethical, socially-conscious stones. This is reportedly the first time a major retailer has agreed to a collaboration with a cultivated diamond company and it’s certainly going to be a tough one to top. Jewelers of the moment, Eva Fehren, CVC Stones and Nak Armstrong are all a part of the partnership.
“Working with Diamond Foundry has allowed us to design a new collection with diamond shapes that are very different from our usual round carat ones. We included larger pear and oval shapes as well thanks to their revolutionary process,” explained Charles de Viel Castel of CVC Stones.
Armstrong, meanwhile, used this opportunity to move away from colored stones and just embrace diamonds, culling inspiration for his baguette-heavy collection from the art deco façade of Barneys’ San Francisco flagship.
For Fehren, working with Diamond Foundry offered her easy access to Portrait Cut and champagne diamonds, making her ecstatic to participate. “They are incredibly rare, and it is almost impossible to source repeatable, geometric shapes,” she pointed out.
Keep in mind that though these diamonds have been cultivated, they are in no way faux. The price tag of these creations echo that, as the collaboration ranges from $675 for Fehren’s Spike Staple Studs to $18,800 for Armstrong’s Open-Grid Winged Earrings.
Should you want to display your forward-thinking diamonds where everyone can see them, either in your home or on your desk, CVC Stones is offering a slew of diamond-studded decorative mini boulders. We’ll take one in each color!