Kolkata, India: It is a testimony to the fact: the right technology and intention have the capability to compensate for the harm humanity has caused to the planet.
Luxury beauty brand Aether is literally spawning diamonds out of thin air. Yes. You’ve heard that correctly!
Not only are they spawning diamonds literally out of thin (polluted) air, but in the process they’re sweeping the air clean, ousting over 20 tonnes of pollution-induced CO2 from the atmosphere to make one carat or diamond. It starts to sound magical at this point.
After all, diamonds are carbons in their rarest form that so-far only mother Earth has been making by herself, deep down into her womb, with tremendous pressure and heat.
Carbons trapped inside the earth’s surface solidifies under extreme pressure that forces the carbons to form into crystals, which are polished to make diamonds.
What Aether is doing with their diamonds is that they’re not relying on Earth to make the carbon crystals, rather they’re simply capturing the same from the pollution we make, which is in plenty as we know, and turning that excess, unwanted carbon into the world’s most precious stones.
But as a matter of fact, Aether is not the first company on Earth to make synthetic diamonds that have not been dug from deep down the earth.
Where this jewelry-maker has an edge amongst lab-made diamond-makers is the source of its raw material, which ultimately becomes the sparkling stone.
Natural diamonds are mined, which traces a painful and often unethical trial of activities including involving women and children in poverty, enacting environmental pollutions.
For every mined diamond, 250 tons of earth — and in effect, entire ecosystems — are removed, as per the United States Geological Survey.
“There are processes in place to ensure conflict diamonds don’t enter the market, but they don’t work,” Rayan Shearman, one of the brains behind Aether explains.
“To an insane degree, conflict diamonds make it onto the market every day. You can’t catch them all, and the organizations don’t define conflict diamonds appropriately. Human rights abuses just fly under the radar,” Shearman told Vogue.
And then there are makers who would claim that their stone has a lower carbon footprint which traditional diamond-makers argue is more bane than beneficial. Labs argue this claim is skewed, nonetheless, both are in some way other polluting.
In the last decades, like many things lab-grown, diamonds too have started to become a product of the test tubes, or incubators, or so on.
Several lab-grown diamond ventures have sprouted up to address the growing ethical and environmental conflicts surrounded the sensational stone.
However, despite being made in labs, the source material that is carbon is still being derived from the use of fossil fuels like oil drilling and fracking. But that is not the case with Aether.
The company sources the carbon from pollution in the environment that comes from human activities like the burning of fossil fuels, intensive farming, and so on, which is then alchemized to make chemically and physically identical diamonds.
Jewelry veterans Ryan Shearman and Dan Wojno with Aether are ‘flipping’ the argument of mainstream lab-grown diamonds harm the planet less ‘on its head’ because theirs aren’t harming the planet at all!
“Every single diamond we sell,” they say, is actually “making the world that much better.”
How’s it done?
As per the company, atmospheric collectors extract carbon dioxide pollutants from the atmosphere. The CO2 is then trapped in a specific filter as the air is taken in. This kicks off, what the company calls their ‘one-of-a-kind diamond alcoholization process.’
In the next process, the CO2 is subsequently converted into a hydrocarbon raw material that will be used to create diamonds. Aether does not early on carbons from the earthly sources but derives the same from air.
The gathered hydrocarbon raw materials are then fed into large reactors that generate the ideal conditions for diamond growth. Aether says in their labs, the diamonds are formed ‘one ambitious atom at a time as the carbon aligns exactly into crystalline shape.
IMAGE COURTESY OF AETHER
They also source the energy needed to run the process from clean, renewable sources.
For 3-4 weeks, the process of growth continues till it reaches peak excellence. The rough diamonds are then hand-cut, polished, and set into jewelry by professional craftspeople.
The final product is Aether lab-grown diamonds that are held to the same standards and are just as “genuine” as mined diamonds, according to the International Gemological Institute.
Rarest of the rare; diamonds that are amongst the world’s 2%
Some extremely high standards are enforced for every Awther piece people can buy.
Made in the United States, these diamond comes with an IGI grading report that includes a unique number that describes the distinctive qualities of your diamond.
Diamonds are evaluated and valued based on The 4 C’s: Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat since the beginning of the industry. Confident of their product, Aether has introduced another ‘C’ in the grade that stands for ‘Carbon.’
IMAGE COURTESY OF AETHER
“We believe the industry standard could need an update as science and technology to pave the way for new breakthroughs that allow us to manufacture diamonds without damaging ecosystems,” the company says on its website.
Carbon, Aether’s 5th ‘C,’ is absolutely essential to the production of a diamond, but it’s been left out of the equation until now. Their diamonds are unique and maybe the rarest you can buy because of the manner we acquire our carbon.
Aether’s diamonds just recently bagged a vegan certification, meaning apart from being the world’s only positive-impact diamonds, they’re vegan too. It implies, no cruelty to animals was involved in the entire process of creating these stones.
Vegan Action (vegan.org), one of the most well-known vegan certification organizations in the world, awarded the certification in April — is also the most reputable and well-known vegan logo in North America, with over 20 years of experience.
COVER IMAGE COURTESY OF AETHER