BY JUDY CARMACK BROSS
Diamonds: even the name sparkles when you say it. The surprise of opening a little box, the way light hits a ring on your finger or a tennis bracelet on your wrist, diamonds, and magic are a flawless combination.
Actress Camila Mendes, Veronica Lodge in Riverdale, dazzling in Clean Origin.
We learned from lab grown diamond brand, Clean Origin, that there’s a brilliant new facet which can make diamonds even more a girl’s best friend in 2021 and possibly be jewelry’s new direction. Chemically, physically and optically identical to mined diamonds, today’s lab-created diamonds appeal from both an ecological and an economical standpoint.
With June and weddings soon on the scene, we spoke with Clean Origin’s Haley Anhut about their sparkling diamonds which are not only popular for millennials and Gen Z’s but also on the minds of shoppers of all ages seeking more bling for the buck.
Anhut told us:
“Many couples today are looking for engagement rings and jewelry that reflect their beliefs. As sustainability and being eco-conscious have become top-of-mind for many consumers, these ideals have translated across all industries, including diamonds.
“With lab-grown diamonds, there’s no need to destroy our earth or seabeds with traditional mining practices. This was a huge selling point for our founder. He grew up, worked in, and eventually left the mined diamond industry due to its destructive consequences.”
“Many of the dark secrets of the diamond industry have been hidden behind the sparkle and glamour of these gorgeous gemstones. With an environmentally conscious approach, we can say that 100 percent of our diamonds are 100 percent ethical, giving our customers peace of mind and a diamond with a beautiful, pure beginning.”
Clean Origin’s founders say that their idea is a flawless one.
Clean Origin was founded in 2017 by Alexander Weindling, third-generation diamond merchant and former global managing director for Georg Jensen; Ryan Bonifacino, former chief marketing officer and digital vice president of Alex and Ani; and Terry Berman, who served as CEO for Signet Jewelers, Sterling Jewelers and chairman Zale Corporation, and is now chairman of the board for Abercrombie and Fitch and Tuesday Morning,
“We no longer need to dig pits into the earth so large that some can be seen from space nor suck the seabed floor with giant vacuums to obtain diamonds,” Weindling has said.
Lab-grown diamonds have been around for years, mainly for use in manufacturing, and were generally rough in quality. The gem-quality version of lab-grown diamonds had a patent on it until a few years ago. When the patent ran out, many companies, including Clean Origin, jumped at the opportunity.
A visit to their website not only offers dazzling diamonds, but also blogs with fun topics such as best proposal spots in Denver and Tampa, all about pink diamonds, and ways to get a yes. One of our favorites advised: “Make a movie or slideshow with all of your cherished photos, videos, and memories and show it to your partner at home. Pretend it’s a new show you want to see, and as the video ends you can propose.” And present a beautiful diamond.
Classic Chicago had more questions for Anhut.
CCM: What are the common misconceptions about lab-grown diamonds?
HA: “The number one question we’re asked is: Are lab-grown diamonds real? The answer is 100 percent yes! The singular difference between lab-created diamonds and mined diamonds is their origin. All of the beloved aspects of a diamond–how it looks, its chemical composition, and its physical properties–remain, while all of the bad parts are gone.”
CCM: How would you describe your clientele and what they are looking for?
HA: “Our customers tend to be both eco and budget-conscious. Since lab-grown diamonds can be up to 40 percent less than mined diamonds, our customers are able to get the same diamond for less, or a better–or bigger–diamond for the same price as they would pay for a mined stone.”
CCM: How did you choose the styles of the settings? That must have been a fascinating process to see what styles in history have been popular?
HA: “Every couple is unique, so we wanted to have a wide variety of settings that could satisfy any requested style. We have many of the more traditional settings, such as solitaire and pave. However, we also carry many gorgeous vintage-inspired rings, ranging from art deco to mid-century modern.”
CCM: What types of settings are most popular with your clients? Are certain thought to be more romantic or historical or like certain celebrities?
HA: “Our bestsellers are currently more of the classic solitaire settings, such as our 1.5mm solitaire ring. However, we’ll also always see an increase in styles that are “trending”. For example, a few years ago, a classic round or cushion-cut diamond set in a square halo was all the rage. Today, oval diamonds on a yellow band are in style, so we’re definitely seeing an increase in sales of both.”
CCM: Are there certain favorite engagement rings mentioned by your clients after a celebrity wedding?
HA: “We’ll hear customers mention celebrity rings from time to time, most often to explain what they’re looking for, but even in those cases, we find that they end up going with something completely their own. Although celebrity engagement rings are fun to look at, we encourage our customers to make sure their ring is something they’ll be happy with for years to come!”
CCM: You have done wonderful blogs such as how to propose. Would you share some tips on this? How have these blogs been greeted and have they been fun for your staff to write?
HA: “We try to incorporate content for our clients that will be used anywhere from the ring buying planning to favorite wedding venues. We want our customers to feel like they are part of our extended family. Our customer service team goes above and beyond to make this happen!”
CCM: What do you feel that the future growth of your business will be? Will there be other types of jewelry you will be creating?
HA: “We’re excited to be expanding our jewelry line with timeless pieces that can be go-to accessories in a jewelry box. As for future additions, you’ll have to stick around to see!”
CCM: Have the other colors of diamonds been popular? Are there meanings for their colors?
HA: “Colored diamonds are definitely not as popular as your standard diamond, but they do definitely have an audience. Each colored diamond has a different meaning and some individuals are more drawn to the uniqueness that a colored stone would bring their ring.”
We thanked Anhut for her sparkling answers as well as setting a direction for dazzling diamonds in the future.
For further information visit cleanorigin.com