At a time when the world is focused on climate change, consumption and just being better to the planet, holiday gift-giving can leave many torn. These factors may be doubly confusing for couples looking to tie the knot. Is it possible to follow beloved traditions like getting engaged with a diamond ring, much less bestowing diamond stud earrings on a birthday, whilst being good to Mother Earth and humankind? Clean Origin, the world’s largest purely lab-grown diamond (LGD) retailer, has made this its mission.
As a third-generation member of a prominent family in the diamond business, Alexander Weindling found himself questioning many aspects of his profession, like, “The history of environmental destruction, the crimes to humanity and the funding of vicious warlords and tyrants that can be endemic to the industry,” he says. Looking towards the future, he felt a responsibility to make a difference. “As I prepared to pass on a wounded and pillaged planet to my children, I knew things needed to stop. Now.”
There’s a saying, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Those words helped drive Weindling to leave his family’s industry after nearly a century. They also inspired him to take the wisdom he’d gained to find a way to build a more environmentally conscious and ethical diamond jewelry industry. “As soon as I saw a better way, I decided to lead the charge,” he says. “This is my chance to close out my career on the right side of history.”
When launching Clean Origin in 2017, Weindling and co-founder Ryan Bonifacino vowed not to touch any mined diamonds or gemstones. Instead, the company is guided by environmental principles, such as chemical vapor deposition (CVD), in producing lab-grown diamonds, as well as using recycled metals whenever possible.
Through the CVD process, a micro-thin, laser-sliced seed diamond that’s either mined or lab-grown is placed in a sealed chamber and exposed to high temperatures and a carbon-rich gas mixture. This process is akin to that of natural diamonds, which emerge over billions of years beneath the Earth’s surface. Weindling says, “We’re just accelerating the natural process and moving it above ground.”
Both forms of diamonds are identical chemically, optically, and geologically. Both may be graded — based on the 4 Cs—cut, color, clarity, and carat — or certified by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or other world-leading gem laboratories. And, like natural diamonds, Weindling says, “Each lab-grown diamond is completely unique with each seed growing according to its own unique destiny.”
Unlike some mining methods of natural diamonds, lab-grown diamonds have a negligible impact on the planet. “The best environmental aspect of LGD is that we don’t dig holes in the Earth so huge they are visible from the upper atmosphere,” Weindling says. Another difference is price. Because of their shorter supply chain, Clean Origin diamonds are 20- to 30% less expensive than their counterparts.
Clean Origin sells diamond rings, bracelets, earrings, and necklaces on its website. Clients can peruse cuts and settings there, virtually consult with a diamond expert and see an image of their diamond via their computer screen. For those who prefer to see the diamond in person before purchasing, Clean Origin recently opened its first brick-and-mortar store in Dallas, Texas with plans for more on the horizon. Another Clean Origin commitment – its 100-day, no-questions-asked return policy.
Through its approach, Clean Origin is keeping the romance of diamonds alive, as well as ensuring the health of the planet—two gifts in one.