The search for sustainable diamonds is long–running; first, in ethical and environmentally viable ways to find them and to dig them from the ground – something which has proved virtually impossible without human, animal, or planetary catastrophe. Next, above ground, in labs where the likes of Frank Ocean’s Homer have been able to grow their own stones without breach of ethics or environment.
Now, though, the figurative neck of the searchlight has craned even further upward: diamonds are being found not underground, not even here on terra firma, but up amongst the clouds.
Well, okay, “found” is a bit of a stretch – but that’s where the raw materials are being collected; where carbon is being drained from the atmosphere and where collections like this one, from London-based Bleue Burnham and SkyDiamond (a collaboration which forms part of the ongoing Gucci Vault project), are getting what they need to create new stones.
Naturally, there are complicated processes involved – but SkyDiamond, which is responsible for the actual carbon capture and creation, is transparent about its work: “We extract CO₂ from the atmosphere, which we liquify and purify – an important step in ensuring the quality of our diamonds. With the CO₂ removed, the air released back into the atmosphere is cleaner than we found it.”
Expounding on its sustainable credentials, the company’s website explains that “the carbon it’s made from is taken from the atmosphere, wind and sun provide all our energy, and the water we use is captured rain.”
Furthermore, it isn’t just the removal of existing carbon from the atmosphere that SkyDiamond cites as a positive, but also the CO₂ which is never created in the first place: “The carbon avoided by not mining the earth is significant. Each carat of mined diamond has a footprint of over 100kg of carbon dioxide and over 500kg of greenhouse gases in total. In contrast, a one-carat Skydiamond has a footprint of minus 4g of CO₂.We take rain water and split it into oxygen and hydrogen using electrolysis – powered by the wind and sun of course. We then combine these gases to create methane, which we feed into our Diamond Mills.”
Of course, this is fashion and it’s not just the technology on display here. The pieces themselves, which include rings, pendants, and bracelets, are crafted in shapes to mimic the form of the clouds they came from – imbued with a sense of effervescent movement and a naturalistic, globular silhouette.
Gucci Vault’s Bleue Burnham x SkyDiamond jewelry collection is out now, available direct from the Gucci Vault website, where prices start from a modest $1,125 USD and reach all the way to the undisclosed POA end of the scale.
And, while carbon emissions are on your mind – and, let’s face it, when aren’t they – you might want to take a look at Stand.earth’s most recent report on the state of the fashion industry. (Spoiler: the news isn’t exactly great – but there’s always a silver lining.)