The Contour of Luxury Summer 2019 - Page 174

Diamond Foundry’s lab-grown diamonds are created in bespoke plasma apparatuses with unprecedented energy density that reproduce the earth’s natural conditions. The company discovered a fourth state of matter by which atoms can attach to nature’s diamond crystal lattice and grow to gem size. Utilizing a thin foundation of diamond ‘seeds’, atom by atom, the unique crystal structure of diamonds grows atop the lattice to yield pure, jewelry-grade gemstones. This process is chemically identical to mined diamonds without as many steps and procedures as is required for mining. Earth-grown stones change hands on average 12 times before they even leave their country of origin. Also, more than 250 tons of earth are needed to produce a single carat of mined diamond. Above-ground diamond producers keep much of the process in-house, including artisan cutters and polishers. This minimal supply chain excludes miners, transporters, traders and brokers. As a result, lab-grown diamonds typically cost around 30% less than mined diamonds. However, just as it is for natural gemstones, the price of rough stones is contingent upon the cut. Diamond Foundry reports that there is an accelerated demand for lab-grown diamonds. Because of this, lab dia- monds are now worth a significant investment; six carats could cost over $60,000. One of the most staggering examples is the (RED) Diamond Ring, designed by Sir Jony Ive and Marc Newson, at Sotheby’s Miami. This ring is composed entirely from a single lab-grown stone. The ring concept raised $461,250 for Bono’s (RED) charity in support of the fight against AIDS, while the ring itself sold for $256,250. Though it is not the world’s first all-diamond ring, it is the first non-mined diamond auctioned by Sotheby’s.