Why did you decide to create a lab-grown range?
It was a lockdown conversation with my young son that inspired the range. He recently turned three and he was doing some work at pre-school about nature and the environment and looking at ways to reduce waste. We talked about the little changes we could make in our household could have a big effect and it inspired me to think about how I could make positive changes in my work-life balance too.
I’ve always been conscious in sourcing my own gemstones and natural diamonds, using mostly GIA Certified diamonds and even some Fairtrade gold in my bespoke commissions, but I never really considered the environmental impact. It reminded me of a seminar I attended about lab-grown diamonds a few years earlier when they were first emerging as a jewellery trend but very much frowned upon.
What were your first impressions of lab-grown diamonds?
It reminded me at the time I was staunchly against it and thought that it went entirely against the idea of fine jewellery – that we solely attach value to the stones’ rarity. But as I gave it more thought I began to realise that a piece of jewellery is so much more than the origin of the stone – it is the look, the design, the feel and crucially the meaning that make it important to us. So, I thought that if I can create a range that achieves all those things – that looks beautiful, that is personal and has meaning to the person wearing it and at the same time I can create something that reduces the harmful effects the industry can have on the environment, then that is very much something I felt I had to do. I think I have achieved those things with my Eco Rocks range.
There is also demand for lab-grown diamonds and I wanted to be the first, female, independent, family jeweller in York to create a bespoke range entirely devoted to lab-grown. l believe lab grown diamonds are the future of my industry and I want to be at the forefront of this revolution.
How have all your loyal customers responded to lab-grown diamonds?
Being situated in the heart of York, right next to York Minster and surround by all the history of a World Heritage status city, it’s often easy to forget just how forward-thinking our customer base. Even before the I created the range, I had customers asking about lab-grown diamonds as an alternative to natural diamonds. I think that there is definitely a growing number of people who are considering purchases not just from a purely economic perspective, but an environmental one too.
I recently showed a selection of lab-grown to customers and was amazed by the responses. In terms of the differences between the actual look and composition of the stones, I have yet to have a customer that can tell difference. What customers are aware of is the difference in the origin of the stone and this is where perhaps there is a lack of clarity.
When buying a lab grown diamond, you approximately receive 40-60% more diamond show with better colour and clarity than a natural diamond. If you want a larger stone but it’s not in your budget, this is a great choice.