Diamonds are forever, but now, there’s a new technology that makes them more modern than ever.
As consumers have grown more conscious about the social and environmental cost of mining diamonds, there’s been a shift towards finding cleaner alternatives to so-called “blood diamonds.” A breakthrough occurred a few years, allowing material scientists to create gemologically identical diamonds under laboratory settings.
Lab-grown diamonds, as they are called, are visually and geologically the same as their mined counterparts. Slices of carbon are placed inside a chamber that will eventually reach temperatures hotter than the sun. After a few weeks, a rough diamond emerges, which then has to be polished and cut as a mined diamond would.
It’s the cutting edge of technology, and it’s now available to consumers.
This October, Great Heights debuted, offering the world’s largest inventory of lab-grown diamonds. The company currently features engagement and wedding rings, and will be expanding into wedding bands and earrings in early 2020. Fashion jewelry will eventually be added as well.
The majority of consumers begin product searches online, so Great Heights set out to create an ambitious visual representation to showcase their jewels in the best possible way, while also giving their customers a chance to design their own jewelry. “[When] you’re building anything bespoke online, it doesn’t really look like what you’re getting,” Great Heights co-founder Ryan Bonifacino says. “We hired the Emmy Award-winning team behind Game of Thrones to do best-in-class CGI.” As consumers use the tool to customize various settings and rings, they are seeing high-resolution images of actual stones, designed to look like videos.
The company allows consumers to speak to experts, and gives consumers a 100-day free at-home trial, with express shipping both ways. The aim to mix technology with a human touch is built into the brand ethos, Bonifacino notes.
Lab-grown diamonds are less expensive than traditionally mined diamonds as well. Great Heights has in its vaults, some rare large stones that will soon make their way onto red carpets for awards season. “We have this beautiful 9-carat fancy vivid blue princess cut diamond,” Bonifacino says. “It’s the largest blue lab-grown diamond on the planet. We are talking about who we put it on for awards seasons as we speak.”
“That’s a stone that would retail for $185,000,” the Great Heights co-founder says. “What’s really interesting is that the more rare the lab grown diamond, in terms of size and quality, the higher the discount from the mined equivalent. If you were to find a mined version of that 9-carat stone, you’d pay in the millions.”