Diamonds Are the World’s Best Friend
If you like the planet, then you should put a lab-grown ring on it
It’s not easy to give up a flawless 6.28-carat diamond the size of a small olive—especially when you’ve grown it yourself in a lab from a speck of carbon. Ten months after MiaDonna, an “eco diamond” company based in Portland, Oregon, unveiled the record-breaking rock, it still sparkles on CEO Anna-Mieke Anderson’s desktop. “It’s hard to part with,” she admits. “We’ll most likely gift it to a celebrity or sell it this holiday season, but I’d like to create an even larger one first.”
Anderson founded MiaDonna to produce jewelry with conflict-free gems. According to the company, a portion of its profits are used to help “repair the land and lives damaged by the conflict-mining industry.” In U.S. labs, MiaDonna grows the gems by mimicking nature—creating a cloud of carbon molecules that rain down on a carbon “seed” in a high-pressure, high-temperature chamber. Within 6 to 12 weeks, a rough diamond is formed, which is cut, polished, and graded the same way as a mined stone. “It’s like getting ice from a freezer or from a glacier,” Anderson explains.
The CEO goes on to point out that there has been a significant shift in the jewelry market as millennials embrace the technological advances and ethical considerations behind lab-made stones. And the price factor doesn’t hurt: Lab-grown diamonds typically cost 30 percent less than mined ones. “This generation has different values than their parents, and people want to express themselves differently,” Anderson says. One current trend is engagement rings with colored stones such as sapphires or emeralds, which MiaDonna also uses in its jewelry.
But if only the biggest of diamonds will do—and if you’ve got more than $50,000 on hand—you can always call Anderson and make an offer for the cushion-cut, J-Color, VS2-clarity stone she’s currently using as a paperweight.