Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+ Join today and save 20%!.
The environmental and social baggage associated with mined diamonds has dulled the stone’s sparkle for many in recent years – but one brand thinks it may have a solution. Aether, a leader in lab-grown gems, has now become the first certified vegan diamond maker in the world.
While the common assumption that diamonds begin as organic matter, similar to the process that creates fossil fuels, is not entirely correct, there’s no question that even under the best conditions mining for diamonds can have devastating consequences on the environments where they are found – including disrupting wildlife habitats near mine sites. And, as we know, most diamond mining is not done under the best conditions.
For shoppers who want a more responsible way to get their bling, lab-grown diamonds have become a popular alternative. Far from the cubic zirconia earrings you bought at Claire’s in seventh grade, these high-end jewels are “real” diamonds in every scientific way, and are often even more perfect and visually stunning than stones ripped from the Earth.
Aether, a new luxury jewelry line that purports to make diamonds from captured carbon dioxide pollution from the air using proprietary technology, launched in December, 2020.
“Amid global climate change and all of the other challenges 2020 brought with it, we believe there is currently great opportunity for high-minded doers to step in and help shape the future,” says CEO Ryan Shearman. “Aether is proud to be a part of that change for good as the creator of the world’s first gem-quality diamonds from air.”
And now the brand has picked up another distinction: Aether is the first diamond to ever be certified as vegan by Vegan Action. They earned the label by demonstrating efforts to reduce impact on wildlife habitats and, in particular, by not requiring any fossil fuels to be used in the production of their diamonds.
“We entered the fine jewelry market with an ambitious vision,” says a company statement about the certification. “Aether aims to cut through the typical greenwashing in the marketplace and lead the diamond industry into a better future where both customers and the planet can benefit.”