Nestled among the many historic buildings and cobbled streets of York is an independent, family-run jewellery business that’s blending tradition with some very contemporary diamonds.
Bradley’s Jewellers on Low Petergate has launched its first ever collection of solitaire, trilogy, and cluster rings with laboratory-grown diamonds, alongside a core collection of earrings and pendants. These diamonds are not mined from the earth but are made by man with the same chemical composition and physical properties.
They are not the same as imitation diamonds, like cubic zirconia, which only mimic the inherent sparkle of diamonds. If you are a jewellery lover, laboratory-grown diamonds allow you to get more fire, life and brilliance for your money, with exceptional clarity and colour.
Kay Bradley, owner of Bradley’s Jewellers, says: “When I set out to design my own laboratory-grown diamond range, it was with a firm view that it would not replace natural diamonds, but rather complement them. As a qualified diamond and coloured stone grader, my passion has always been gemstones and that is reflected in the pieces I create. This new collection is all about giving my customers more choice of fine jewellery that caters to every budget.”
The result of Kay’s hard work is the Eco Rocks Collection: a selection of engagement rings, cocktail rings, pendants and earrings with laboratory-grown diamonds, supplied by Green Rocks – a leading creator of laboratory-grown diamonds to stringent climate-neutral and ethical standards.
“I think what I am most looking forward to is showcasing the collection and having conversations with my customers about laboratory-grown diamonds. We can discuss the environmental benefits of choosing laboratory-grown diamonds, their sustainability credentials, and the processes we are undertaking to source ethical stones from reputable suppliers. I believe laboratory-grown diamonds are the future of jewellery and I want to be at the forefront of this revolution!”
Looking back just a handful of years, Kay was sceptical of the emerging ‘trend’ for laboratory-grown diamonds. In fact, as an experienced diamond jeweller, she admits to being “staunchly against them,” for a time.
Something changed at the start of the first lockdown in March 2020, when Kay and her three-year-old son had an enlightening conversation! “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 that could have a big effect and it inspired me to think about how I could make positive changes in my work life too,” Kay explains.
The next stage was researching laboratory-grown diamond creators and designing her own unique collection of single stone and trilogy rings, daisy-shaped cluster rings and pendants in 18k yellow and rose gold. Some 12 months later the collection was brought to life.
Throughout this inspiring process, Kay has been blown-away by the quality of laboratory-grown diamonds, which are almost always Type IIa. This classification refers to the best quality natural diamonds, roughly one or two percent of all the stones mined!
“After viewing laboratory-grown stones and holding, touching and feeling them in person, they are quite remarkable,” Kay says. “They are space age and an incredible achievement of mankind! When buying a laboratory-grown diamond, you can get approximately 40-60% more diamond show with better colour and clarity than a natural diamond. If a customer wants a larger stone but it’s not in their budget, this is a great choice.”
It is certainly interesting to see such a contemporary collection of jewels nestled in Bradley’s Jewellers’ historic store, which can be traced right back to a 17th century apothecary. As a local herself, Kay understands that complementing our city’s historic past are forward-thinking shoppers who are conscious of their place in the world and the impact their purchases have on people and planet.
She says: “A piece of jewellery is so much more than the origin of the stone, it’s the look, the design, the feel and, crucially, the meaning that makes it important to us. I wanted to create a range that achieves all these things – something that looks beautiful, is personal and has meaning to the person wearing it, while at the same time offering something environmentally-friendly and eco-conscious.”
Visit Bradley’s Jewellers on Low Petergate or book a private appointment to experience the Eco Rocks range for yourself.
This article originally appeared in Yorkshire Living magazine.