The rarest diamond on earth isn’t mined from the ground, no. Instead it is plucked from the sky. Yes you heard that right.
The ambition to create a diamond out of completely renewable and natural resources, not to mention a stone that is conflict free, starts somewhere appropriately wholesome. In the heart of the Cotswolds, around 45 minutes away from trendy Chipping Norton and the adjacent Soho Farmhouse, is where you’ll find the SkyDiamonds atelier.
Here SkyDiamonds uses renewable elements to craft their precious stones. The carbon for the gems is extracted from the atmosphere, the water is where they withdraw the oxygen and hydrogen. The attention to detail and to protecting the environment is so entrenched in the SkyDiamonds ethos, that the brand opts to harvest fallen rainwater (again fittingly from the sky) to increase the eco-friendliness of the operation.
The entire concept is the work of around seven years of research and development from a crack team of scientists, and some of the best minds in the industry. All are laser focused on the task of creating a completely safe and stunning diamond. SkyDiamonds are optically, physically and chemically identical to Earth-mined diamonds, and the company use the best diamond cutters in the world to ensure premium quality.
You may have heard of similar claims from lab grown alternatives out there, and although these are rid of the human costs associated with mining… SkyDiamonds still claim to have an edge over their competitors. Most manufactured diamonds you have come across are massmade, and there’s something that feels not ‘quite so romantic’ about the idea of a lab churning out the stones we intend to adorn our left hand with. Not to mention most of the lab grown diamonds out there use ‘brown energy’ and gasses that are bi-products of the fossil fuel industry. By comparison the entire SkyDiamond philosophy is much more bespoke, producing less but caring that bit more. “Our production is limited, making our stones the rarest diamonds on the planet,” the company explained in a statement.
Dale Vince the founder of Sky Diamonds, is a committed environmentalist and has a worthy background in changing the world for the better, having previously founded Britain’s greenest energy supplier Ecotricity. He’s been on a mission to make the world a better place ever since, and came up with the idea when he realised that a diamond was the most permanent form of carbon. The diamond would be a symbol to the world of how far we could come if we put research into creating a desirable product out of pollution, in this case the carbon in the atmosphere. SkyDiamonds can replace not only mined diamonds, but also the mass manufactured ones and change the world at the same time according to Dale.
“We commissioned a study by Imperial College into the environmental impact of diamonds because there wasn’t one that existed in the world,” explains Dale, “We found that for a single carat diamond the industry digs 1100 tonnes of rock, uses 5000 liters of water, releases one half a tonne of greenhouse gas and exposes 30 tonnes of toxic metal to the environment.” Reader, that’s just for every single little one carat stone, and there are around 150 million of those mined every year. By comparison every single component that makes up a SkyDiamond is extracted directly from the air, with no environmental cost and no social or human cost. The air that is put back into the atmosphere is actually cleaner than what was taken out, which is an industry first.
After spending an afternoon at the home of SkyDiamonds tucked in England’s rolling hills it’s clear, that the clean and totally renewable process (you won’t even so much as smell a chemical during your time there) brings a smile to the face of every person who works there, and they take immense pride in what they are doing. There’s no smoke and mirrors… Not one corner of the lab was closed off to The Wedding Edition’s visit. But how do we know that a SkyDiamond is worth the investment when it comes to an engagement ring or wedding jewellery? Especially when we only want the best for our big day?
Although tightlipped about their future collaborations they are soon partnering with some of the key players in luxury fashion (the big names that make you think of your dream handbag and next season’s shoe purchases), proving that if it’s good enough for the high-end brands, it’s certainly good enough for us. Soon they will be working on an exclusive range of jewellery with the iconic Stephen Webster, a name I am allowed to mention as the collaboration is dropping in October. If that’s not enough the face of the brand is none other than Lily Cole. A suitable model for the noble cause, she met Dale at an environmental film screening in London a couple of years ago. The supermodel is now a passionate advocate of the brand’s mission.
So even with the big brands and jewellers on board, why are some consumers still resistant to splurge on a diamond which isn’t mined from the earth? (When put in those simple layman’s terms, it is really surprising that we wouldn’t.) Dale challenges our perceptions, “You’re willing to pay more for that environmental damage, nevermind the social damage; blood diamonds, child labour, all that kind of stuff. You would rather pay more for that than this?” SkyDiamonds’ very existence and elaborate undertaking proves that if anything we ought to pay a premium for the environmentally friendly alternative. At the moment Sky Diamonds retails for a comparable price point to a mined diamond, although as consumer tastes change – that could increase – so it’s wise to start betting on the ‘right horse’ now. “What we’d like is to be the go to stone for the jewellery industry” says Dale, “and if you’re going to have a diamond you should have a SkyDiamond.” We couldn’t agree more.
See more from Sky Diamonds here skydiamond.com