Are renowned jewellery industries purposely blocking the rise of cultured diamonds? How the GRAFF award given for our latest collection was taken away.
Posted on March 08 2019
Cultured diamonds are the new way forward.
You, our fans, know there is no difference in quality or clarity between mined and cultured diamonds. You know that cultured diamonds are lower in price for an equal or superior diamond, less environmentally damaging than mined diamonds, and that with cultured diamonds, there’s never any conflict.
Given all these clear benefits, why are cultured diamonds facing such continued resistance from so many areas of the diamonds market? Is this just the jewellery wheels of change turning slowly again, like when cultured pearls came along to replace “natural” pearls? Today, 99% of the world’s pearls are cultured, including those used by high-end brands we all know. Cultured diamonds are forecast by numerous sources to be making serious gains in market share—they’re eventually predicted to even surpass mined diamonds in sales.
So, with the pearl-switch precedent set, why can’t we usher along a faster industry-wide shift to cultured diamonds? Is it just business?
Could there be a more calculated effort to block cultured diamonds be taking place?
Last week, a jewellery maker who made our new Asymmetrical Bow Collection, made solely from cultured diamonds, priced at £200,000 - designed and commissioned by Lark & Berry, won the prestigious Graff Jewellery Award. It’s an award known in the industry as the “Oscars of Jewellery” and is presented by the renowned Goldsmiths’ Craft and Design Council.
According to the Goldsmiths’ website and social media channels, Graff gives its jewellery award annually to celebrate fine diamond jewellery—to pieces which, in their words, exhibit “originality, meticulous details and distinction…” and where "diamonds need to be the predominant precious gemstone.”
Lark & Berry couldn’t have been prouder of this accomplishment. Naturally, we announced it with a worldwide press release and blog post on our site, which you can still read here.
So far, so great right? Celebrations all round!
Well… so we thought.
After our announcement, we were strictly asked to change any communications on all platforms pertaining to this award win. The Goldsmiths’ Craft and Design Council told us we could not reference Lark & Berry’s role at all in producing the Bow collection (even though we designed the piece). We asked the committee as to why—no answers. Then, they upped the ante, telling us we must remove ALL communications of the win, or else the award would be taken away from our commissioned jewellery-maker.
We saw no issue with our announcement as it was completely true, so we did not comply. Our Asymmetrical Bow Collection had won fair and square. Within a few hours, we received notice that the jewellery maker was going to return the award and give back the prize and certificate to the Goldsmiths’ council.
So, why did they want to take the award away?
Given the prestigious nature of this career-defining achievement, it seems unlikely that our jewellery-maker would give up the Graff Award—not without being pressured. With no explanation from the jewellery-maker or the Goldsmiths’ Council, we’re left to speculate…
Could it be, this awards body has shame admitting TWENTY-ONE of their industry experts failed to recognise cultured diamonds are used exclusively in our Bow collection? Did they then want to rescind the award due to use of cultured diamonds?
IF the answer is yes, then why? Cultured diamonds ARE diamonds, their place of origin is the only differentiator from mined diamonds.
IF this awards body couldn’t tell the difference between cultured diamonds and mined, then it proves cultured diamonds can be used to make exquisite, high-end jewellery, so much so it wins the industry’s much-coveted Graff Award.
The whole situation very much suggests, in our minds, a mined-diamonds-favouring awards body might take away this award for fear of cultured competition.
It suggests fear of losing market share to cultured diamonds.
It suggests fear of change.
Lark & Berry fans know switching to cultured diamonds means getting the same diamond. It means increasingly less damage to Earth with these new diamonds. It means saving money on jewellery without giving up quality, as cultured diamonds not only costs less but are always of equal or even superior quality to mined diamonds.
We seek to spread this cultured knowledge globally. We want people to be aware that they now have a choice for a better diamond that doesn’t cost them an arm and a leg—a better diamond that doesn’t cost Earth the same.
So where does all this leave us?
Beaming with pride! We made history… twice:
- Our Asymmetrical Bow Collection was the first cultured diamonds suite to best mined diamonds in winning such a prestigious award as the Graff.
- The first prestigious award to recognise cultured diamonds was stripped away faster than you can say ‘Cultured diamonds are here to stay, and there’s nothing you can do to stop them.’ (3.5 seconds for those playing at home…)
We’re proud to exclusively use cultured diamonds and when you wear them, we want you to be proud, too.
Lark & Berry fans, you know it, and we know it. Our beautiful Bow collection won the “Oscars of Jewellery” and despite that award being taken away, for us, this confirmation still holds:
There simply is NO visible difference between mined and cultured diamonds.
We will continue to stand with you, progressive diamonds fans and sing the praises of the many wondrous virtues of cultured.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST:
--One more mention for the star of this strange show: our beautiful Asymmetric Bow collection, which features an 11.6 carat cultured diamond necklace, 2.5 carat cultured diamonds earrings and a 2.4 carat engagement ring and wedding band. 2019 is young, but we’re betting this will be the year’s most controversial, newsworthy jewellery suite!