Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but they’re not on the best of terms with the environment. In just the past few months, in response to growing concerns about diamond mining’s impact on the earth and on the miners themselves, high-end jewelers and celebrity diamond enthusiasts have begun introducing synthetic jewels to their collections, with Camila Mendes the latest to try out the eco-friendly trend—in pretty spectacular fashion. On Sunday, while attending the People’s Choice Awards in Los Angeles, the Riverdale star wore a ring on her right hand that featured the world’s largest lab-grown pink diamond, courtesy of the sustainable jewelry company Clean Origin.
According to a press release, the gorgeous stone has a square radiant cut, weighs in at 5.01 carats, and is known as the “American Beauty,” after the pink rose variety of the same name. The diamond was set on a 14-karat rose gold band, also by Clean Origin, and has been given a grade of “intense pinkish orange” by the Gemological Institute of America, with “intense” being the highest level of coloration denoted by the GIA. Per the release, the GIA also applauded the “outstanding gemological features” of the jewel, which was created using a process called chemical vapor deposition (CVD), and noted that “the combination of size, color and clarity make this the most remarkable CVD diamond the GIA has tested so far.” Following its red-carpet debut, the one-of-a-kind stone is now available for purchase, for $175,000, on the jeweler’s website.
And Mendes isn’t the only one hopping on the lab-grown diamond-filled bandwagon in recent months. Just last week, Elsa Hosk strutted down the runway at the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in New York City wearing this year’s illustrious fantasy bra, which, for the first time, was made completely out of synthetic diamonds. The Atelier Swarovski bra and coordinating body chain were valued at a whopping $1 million, and incorporated more than 2,100 lab-grown Swarovski diamonds; altogether, the stones weighed in at 71.05 carats, including a pear-shaped center stone that clocked in at 2.03 carats on its own.
In a statement ahead of the fantasy bra’s debut, the Swarovski executive board member Nadja Swarovski lauded the introduction of man-made stones to the glitzy annual tradition. “We hope it provides a bold new vision of luxury—mixing glamour and innovative materials—when it hits the runway at this legendary show,” Swarovski said.
The groundbreaking fashionista Lady Gaga, too, has dabbled in synthetic stones: At the London premiere of A Star Is Born, in late September, Gaga accessorized her Victorian-inspired Alexander McQueen jacquard gown—complete with ruffled Shakespearean collar and bejeweled corseted bodice—with a pair of sustainable pearl and diamond earrings by Anabela Chan. The “Constellation Pearl Earrings,” which retail for about $1,015 each, feature three freshwater pearls and nine round brilliant-cut, lab-grown white diamonds (totaling 1 carat altogether) hand-set in 18-karat white gold and rhodium vermeil.
Perhaps the A-lister most prominent among those making the charge toward more eco- and labor-friendly diamonds, however, is Penélope Cruz. Beyond simply wearing lab-grown stones, the Oscar winner also teamed up with Swarovski earlier this year to create an entire collection of sustainable jewelry. Cruz first showed off pieces from the Atelier Swarovski by Penélope Cruz line, priced between $5,000 and $53,000, at the haute couture fashion shows in Paris in July, followed by a red-carpet debut at the opening night of this year’s Cannes Film Festival. “I am lucky to be in a position where I can help shine a light on conscious luxury and create products that have a positive impact,” she said in a statement to Bloomberg upon the collection’s introduction. “Today when we buy something, we want to know what it is, where it comes from, how it was made, what it involves.”
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