British jewellery brand Carat* London has entered the lab-grown diamond market with bold ambitious for the future.
Here, co-found Scott Thompson, discusses why, after 16 years in the making, he felt now was the right time to launch Gentle Diamonds, and what he hopes to achieve in the lab-grown diamond market arena.
I understand the expansion into lab-grown diamonds has been a long-time coming, could you tell me a bit more about the journey you have been on with lab-grown diamonds over the last 15 years?
16 years ago CARAT* London first invested with Gemesis, one of the early pioneers of diamond growing technology. At the time, the growing techniques were not advanced enough to accommodate scalability and reliable supply. Additionally, consumers’ concerns were not behind sustainability nor where their diamonds were coming from. Staying close to the technology for 16 years, we believe the time is now, both in terms of growing techniques and people’s mindsets.
Why did you decide now was the right time to launch Gentle Diamonds?
In current times, consumers have become a lot more conscious when it comes to their buying decisions and sustainability is a key factor that has been influencing those decisions. We wanted to give everyone the choice, sustainable or not.
Do you intend for Gentle Diamonds to be known as its own brand, separate from Carat* London?
Yes, Gentle Diamonds is a diamond jewellery brand, Carat* is a fashion jewellery brand that works with high quality man-made gemstones. We are aiming to make Gentle Diamonds a 100% sustainable jewellery company, we needed to start with a fresh slate. We fully intend to sell that- a gentle diamond. We want our diamonds to represent the benchmark for what sustainable means. In the next few years, we plan on having fully carbon-neutral diamonds across the entire spectrum with verified supply chains.
What has the response been so far to Gentle Diamonds?
We have received a great response so far from consumers and press alike. Customers are open and eager for a new alternative, a sustainable and affordable diamond that no longer destroys the natural environment.
How are you educating consumers about lab-grown diamonds?
We believe they now have a choice. Sustainable or not. Our website provides further information about the journey of our diamonds as well as our mission as a brand. Consumers are also invited to book a private 1:1 appointment in our CARAT* London boutique in Westfield to receive a free consultation.
What are your growth plans for Gentle Diamonds?
We are proud to be the first UK national retailer to offer Gentle Diamonds. Customers can now discover our engagement rings, pendants and earrings range in our CARAT* London, White City boutique. We will be opening further stores throughout London in the coming months. We also aim towards becoming a 100% carbon neutral brand made in England using fair-trade recycled gold by 2022. Additionally, we are looking for retail partners in the UK to bring the brand to the rest of the country.
Will you be looking to move into wholesale with Gentle Diamonds?
Yes, in fact we have already started reaching out to new partners to join the platform and we hope to be able to announce our first wholesale partners in the coming months so stay tuned!
What plans do you have to evolve the product offer?
We are constantly working on improving our Gentle Diamonds offering across our engagement rings, earrings and pendants and we aim to launch a fashion-forward line using Gentle Diamonds early 2020.
Why do you hope to make GD 100% carbon neutral and crafted from Fairtrade gold by 2022? Why will it take you until then?
We believe it’s the way forward. We think recycled gold is going to be very important in the future. It will take this long to work with all of our partners to reach 100% carbon neutrality, we want to make sure it is done correctly. Currently about 20% of our diamonds are carbon neutral and we expect to have 100% of it before our 2022 deadline.
Have you been seeing an increase in consumers looking for sustainable products?
Yes, our consumers are keen to know the provenance of our products and especially of our Gentle Diamonds jewellery. In fact, our website features further information about our journey that started 16 years ago and a road map that allows consumers to follow Gentle Diamonds and understand our mission.