The industry is going to great lengths to reveal all
Naseem Lahri is the woman who discovered a diamond as big as the Ritz. The first female managing director of a Botswana diamond mine unearthed the massive 1,758ct Sewel diamond, which was bought by Louis Vuitton and unveiled in the house’s Paris flagship in January. The rough stone is to be cut and polished into diamonds that will be mounted in Louis Vuitton high jewellery, a process likely to replica louis vuitton bags from china be documented for all to follow. History shows there’s been only one larger stone discovered the Cullinan diamond, parts of which glow in the Crown Jewels.
Lahri is one of a growing group of women in the traditionally male dominated mining industry who are changing the narrative of precious stones on the African continent. There is a new style of clarity in the gems’ supply chains, which have hitherto operated in the shadows. Transparency is the industry’s buzzword as the visible pipeline of the Sewel is mirrored in our own smaller stone purchases. Is this traceability flawless? Not yet. But it’s fulfilling a 21st century replica louis vuitton bags , environmentally conscious desire to track and trace our precious stones.
While documenting the history of stones and crystals in my bookThe New Stone Age, I noted how, as early as the 16th century, German mineralogist Georgius Agricola pioneered modern mining practices by focusing on miners’ health and safety, as well as the protection of Fake Louis Vuitton Replica Bags lands where excavations were carried out. The progress of change has been slow, but has quickened over the past couple of decades as we’ve realised the hidden price the world has to pay for the things we want.
Enter the new era of stone transparency. It is driven by brands instigating pipeline integrity controls, as well as entirely new technology. Tracr, a blockchain backed platform that establishes provenance, authenticity and traceability throughout the diamond industry, uses artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and advanced security technology. Ethical bodies that link artisanal miners with social media have given everyone a voice, even in remote areas where stones are recovered, equipping consumers with the comfort of evidence.
“We want to contribute to the well being of people, in safe and healthy working environments, and economic development, as well as the planet replica louis vuitton ,”says Anisa Costa, chief sustainability officer at Tiffany Co. The house says its sustainability target of 100 per cent traceable gold and diamonds, and net zero greenhouse gas emissions, a mission started 20 years ago, will be reached by 2025. But it’s no longer enough to know your precious gemstone hasn’t done harm to the planet; you need to know it actively did good for the community where it was found. Mining conglomerates, brands and individual designers are anxious to provide details about the precise journey of a stone to the consumer. To be good, each needs the other.
From the beginning of their Alta Gioielleria project, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana knew that exceptional colour wasn’t enough; they wanted to clearly define the transparency of their gemstone supply chain and share that knowledge with clients. Walter Veneruz, Dolce Gabbana’s director of jewellery and watches, and gemmologist Loredana Sangiovanni visit mines across Africa and in Sri Lanka, Brazil and Vietnam to verify the working conditions cheap replica handbags and meet the cutters.
In Dolce Gabbana’s latest Alta Gioielleria collection, the breathtaking originality of design is what captivates clients first, followed by storytelling about the pedigree of the gems. Each jewel comes with its own book, including a jewellery passport issued by a gemmological office accredited by international laboratories. “By now our clients know the gemstones very well,”Veneruz confirms proudly.
Flashy is no longer the mood in fashion and beyond. The chat now focuses on where a gem originated. Consumers don’t generically request peridot: having done the research, they track down a clear, grass high quality replica handbags china green stone from Fuli, the vertically integrated mine in China’s Jilin province. Provenance is the new status.
“We want to share the geographic information and craft journey of every Tiffany diamond of 0.18 carats or larger on a diamond certificate,”says Costa, “giving our customers the full picture of where it was mined, cut, polished, graded, set in jewellery and wrapped in its blue box.”Previously, this journey might have meant a stone passing through innumerable different hands; the process is now streamlined by 10 polishing workshops and a gemmological laboratory in New York. Costa admits the industry remains “very complex”, but the company is working to demystify its coloured replica louis vuitton handbags gemstones as well.
Likewise, Graff has entered the spirit of business transparency by cutting out intermediaries, recently acquiring the 20.69ctFancy Vivid yellow diamond Firebird directly from the Ebelyakh mine in Yakutia, which is owned by the Russian diamond mining giant Alrosa. Graff also sets “satellite”diamonds cut from other major purchases, such as the colourless tennis ball sized 1,109ct Lesedi La Rona, so clients know their diamond’s story how it was found in Botswana’s Karowe mine, and nicknamed Quad 1 (because of its initial pre cleaning weight of 1,111 carats)by mine personnel.
South Africa’s Cullinan mine, where the unsurpassed 3,106ct Cullinan diamond was found in 1905, still produces top quality white and coloured diamonds. Last year, it began a partnership with Boodles: the house now offers diamonds direct from the legendary mine to set into jewels for clients on Bond Street, satisfying a desire for traceability with romantic tales of monarchy thrown in.
Gen Z and millennial consumers in particular press for full environmental disclosure. Understanding where the stones originated is crucial, as are guarantees of safe practices and no child labour. These generations would like to know down to the Discount Replica Louis Vuitton Bags last penny that a fair wage was paid all the way along the supply chain. Healthcare and pensions should be in place, and cutters of tiny stones scheduled for regular eye checks.
“Yes, we can answer all these questions,”says Stefano Cortecci, Pomellato’s gem master. “We source stones from members of the Responsible Jewellery Council. The stones are certified by the GIA [Gemological Institute of America], which declares where the diamonds come from by issuing a diamond origin report, which acts like its fingerprint.”When the faceted stone returns to the GIA lab after cutting and polishing, the data of the rough can be verified and matched to the finished sparkler.
For coloured stones, Cortecci travels directly to the high altitude, artisanal Las Flores de los Andes mine for topaz, peridot and lapis lazuli for Pomellato’s new Denim collection, while emeralds and rubies are sourced from Gemfields mines in Zambia and Mozambique, where Cortecci is impressed by the reduction of carbon impact through reforestation and environmental practices such as retaining topsoil to be restored post excavation.
The industry has come a long way since jewellery designer Stephen Webster first went down a tanzanite mine in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro 10 years ago. “At that time, they were breaking with tradition; it was the first time a mine had been keen to showcase what they were doing and the economic help they were providing to the local community,”he recalls. “Now there’s no reason to buy a stone without traceability and to share that visibility with your clients. That’s part of your responsibility.”
Webster points out that you can’t afford not to be a sustainable brand: “I work with Net a Porter, and if you can’t meet their extensive criteria for responsible sourcing of materials, they won’t work with you.”Currently, he’s working on a bridal collection for spring 2021 using “carbon negative”diamonds presented in fully biodegradable packaging. “There are progressive new materials to use in luxury now; it doesn’t have to feel like it’s been made of hemp and hessian,”he says, “even if it is.”
Multicoloured stones are close to the hearts of Brazilian designers, who prefer to keep it local. Fernando Jorge’s new Flame collection includes emeralds from Brazil’s Belmont mine, and imperial topaz, rose quartz, citrine and rubellite sourced from the Minas Gerais region, which is the country’s storehouse of fake louis bag mineral riches. “Openness adds to the magic,”Jorge believes.
Growing up in Brazil within a family of stone dealers, designer Ara Vartanian was taken to Minas Gerais in the way that other children visited Disneyland. “I’ve always believed real luxury comes from nature; I have so much respect for the age and history of stones,”explains Vartanian via Zoom, surrounded in his home replica designer handbags by monumental crystal formations.
Vartanian has begun a conscious mining project to share information about the environmental impact and quality of artisanal life of individual mines such as Cruzeiro, in partnership with Seven Fine Gems, and Belmont with other designers. His mine viewing expeditions have had the curious beneficial side effect of curing his claustrophobia. “Fifty metres below the earth high quality replica handbags china , on a field trip with gemmologists to the Cruzeiro mine, I started having a panic attack,”he says. “But just being around the beautiful rubellite crystals, I found comfort and could carry on farther down.”
Although Vartanian describes the path to traceability as “under construction”, it seems that positive news keeps coming thick and fast. The Pomellato team tell me that they are settling down for “green”aperitivos, listening to inspiring guest speakers talking about daily best practices for traceability, because vertical integration should include aluminium water bottles on desks and rubbish recycling as well as cheap louis vuitton bags from china uk stone provenance.
De Beers is exploring how kimberlite, the rock encasing diamonds, can trap and store carbon Discount Replica Louis Vuitton Bags emissions. replica louis vuitton bags It turns out that it has carbon zapping powers, in which case mines could provide a sustainable solution for the luxury world as carbon storage facilities. And the Natural Diamond Council has totted up a massive $16 billion net positive impact annually to communities from its members. Further proof of the positive values inherent in a jewel’s provenance.