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All about diamonds!

Hello my lovelies, just thought I would give you guys a little bit of information about the different types of diamonds, to help you when thinking about a bespoke commission.

What are the more ethical alternatives to diamonds?

We all know that diamonds are a girl's best friend, but it's a well-known fact that the diamond mining industry is a pretty dirty one. The environmental effects of diamond mining, with the illegal sale of 'blood diamonds' (or conflict diamonds) to fund insurrections and civil wars in Africa, means that consumers are looking for a more environmentally sustainable alternative.

So, is there such a thing as an ethical diamond? What are the options for those looking to invest in a more ethical alternative? And can anyone really tell the difference between them? If you want these questions answered, then you have come to the right place.

Are lab-grown diamonds real diamonds?

In a word, yes! Lab grown diamonds have exactly the same chemical make-up and appearance as mined diamonds. This is because the environmental conditions that are needed to form a diamond naturally have been successfully replicated in the lab environment. It's basically almost impossible to tell them apart from mined diamonds. Therefore because of this they are becoming a more popular choice for eco-conscious buyers. There is another plus to lab grown diamond is that they are a less expensive alternative to their mined counterparts, so they are great for customers looking to commission a piece with a budget.

Is cubic zirconia a practical alternative to natural diamonds?

Cubic zirconia is a synthetic diamond alternative. They are made from zirconium dioxide, which is what gives them their name. Nevertheless, they do not sparkle the way diamonds do, they can be an excellent choice for smaller stones where the differences between the two stones is not so obvious. Cubic zirconia’s are a very affordable choice especially as they come in a variety of colours that can be used to replicate other natural gemstones such as sapphires, peridot, etc. A cubic zirconia is a great budget friendly alternative to those looking for a bit of sparkle without a huge price tag.

Above: rework of heirloom diamonds

What is Moissanite and is it similar to diamond?

Moissanite is another ecological alternative for diamonds that you may not have heard of before, and it may be my favourite. It is becoming an increasingly popular choice for the more eco-conscious client. Moissanite was first found by Henri Moissan, hence the name, in 1893, however it is so rare in its natural form you only really see man made versions in the market. Even though Moissanite is not chemically the same as a diamond it does have a brilliant sparkle and is equally as hard wearing.

Are heirloom or vintage diamonds good alternatives to mined diamonds?

If you're not a fan of any of the diamond alternatives I've talked about above, or you just still want the real deal, then why not think about repurposing vintage diamonds in a new piece of jewellery? If you have a piece that feels not quite your style, no longer fits properly, or is broken then pop me an email about a bespoke commission. I will be able to create a brand-new design for you that re-uses the stones, but in a modern up to date way. See the photo above to see an example of how vintage diamonds can be repurposed into a new modern ring.

Made by Beth is a British jewellery designer & maker of beautifully simple handmade pieces crafted from sustainable materials in her Newport studio. You can read more about her work and the ethos behind her understated jewellery brand here. If you’d like to enquire about a specific product or discuss a bespoke commission, please e-mail

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