Since I was a child I, like most girls, grew up with the claim “diamonds are forever” but recently the charm of this sentence has been devalued by the knowledge of what sometimes is behind the diamond mining industry. So for many engaged couples the search has begun for more ethical diamonds and ethical jewellery.
The bond between women and jewellery is an indubitable combination. No matter whether the jewellery is gold, wood, diamonds or precious stones, or even with shells made by weaving or plants, the female body has always been adorned with jewellery. The grave goods found in the tombs of the ancient world testify to this “need”.
The story of the engagement ring, then, is very old and dates back to ancient Egypt, where the bride and groom exchanged rings, originally from reeds from the Nile, before changing to gold, as a symbol of everlasting love. The circular ring, in fact, represents eternity. The Romans took up the tradition but made it closer to a commercial transaction in which women were passed from father to her husband because of dowry, and the ring sealed the passage.
The spread of engagement rings including stones such as diamond is a more recent trend and in part has to do with a claim like the one above plus a massive marketing and advertising campaign by the big companies.
But while Hollywood has promoted engagement rings, today Hollywood also denounces the chain from diamond mining to facetting in movies like “Blood Diamond” and suggests the use of ethical diamonds.
Leonardo di Caprio, always at the forefront of sustainability with his foundation, funded a specialized ethical diamond company in California, the Diamond Foundry. The company is a technological jewel, combining art and technology and is a collaboration between science at MIT and the entrepreneurial spirit of Leonardo di Caprio.
In nature a diamond is formed under conditions of high temperature and pressure and the traditional artificial diamond industry has used synthetic pressure and temperature conditions. The breakthrough for jewellery grade ethical diamonds has been to use plasma to grow diamonds onto a natural diamond wafer and then to re-use the natural diamond.
It is interesting to note that the promotion of these ethical diamonds has involved many jewellery artists and artisans of jewellery aided by direct international advertising.
Another method to obtain ethical diamonds comes from Switzerland, using a truly unique approach. The company Algordanza, which in the Swiss Romansh language means ‘remembrance’, obtained diamonds from the ashes of the dead (with color that varies depending on the barium in the bones). The result is not as pure as the one in California but these Made in Switzerland jewels, derived from the ashes of our loved ones, are rapidly attracting interest around the world.
Ethical art and technology, in our view, could also be viewed in another way and we want to introduce one of the ethical ‘Living Jewellery‘ necklace that incorporates photosynthesis produced by Energitismo and D’Orica. In this precious jewel the stones are replaced with solar cells that produce energy by emulating the photosynthesis of plants. The result is inspiring; the energy produced feeds a ‘led’ light that lights up in a gold pendant in a rhythm according to the heartbeat and the light is reflected by hundreds of balls of gold faceted like diamonds (ethical).