Lab-grown gems are giving mined diamonds a run for their money – by Gayle MacDonald (Globe and Mail – April 6, 2019)

In January, when Dame Helen Mirren sat down to chat with the hosts of Good Morning Britain, she was wearing a diamond necklace and earrings that were the essence of the actress herself – classy with just the right touch of pizzazz.

Her stylist Rachel Fanconi had chosen the diamond set carefully. The look she wanted for her Academy Award-winning client was elegant, not flashy, and for the jewels she turned to a tiny company called Lark & Berry, which has an interesting sales pitch. It only sells diamonds made in state-of-the-art laboratories – anything pulled from a mine in say, Botswana, is strictly taboo.

“I love the point of difference that the brand offers,” says Fanconi, whose clients also include Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts and David Beckham. “Lab grown feels different and fun, and answers a lot of ethical questions.”

Ethics are at the heart of why lab-grown diamonds have steadily increased in popularity over the past year. Millennials love that they are less harmful to the environment and are equally taken with the fact that they cost 30 to 40 per cent less than the mined equivalent. Plus, it’s virtually impossible to tell them apart.

It’s safe to say our grandmothers and mothers would never have dreamed of wearing diamonds that didn’t come from the earth, but this generation doesn’t seem fazed, says Veeral Rathod, chief marketing officer of Spence Diamonds in Vancouver, which sells both lab-grown diamonds (that the company calls Artisan Created Diamonds) and mined ones at its 13 retail stores.

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