Launched in 2018 by Laura Chavez, Lark & Berry was born out of a taste for the unique, a desire to do things differently and a hope to disrupt the jewelry industry just a little bit.
It all started when Laura saw how frustrating it was to buy good quality jewelry. he beautiful, high-quality pieces were way out of her budget and the origins of the diamonds were often unclear. The affordable jewelry, on the other hand, was mainly made with plated metals or lower quality diamonds (dark or with lots of inclusions), mostly from unclear sources – and sometimes, they were not even real diamonds at all.
Laura began to look for an opportunity to fill the gap in the market. This suddenly became possible when she discovered the innovation of cultured diamonds and the ethical value they deliver! Using cultured stones would allow for a transparency impossible to attain with mined diamonds. The impact on the environment in using cultured diamonds was also much lower, which would in turn help Lark & Berry invest now to create a sustainable future.Thanks to this discovery, from the beginning, Lark & Berry was able to focus on creating beautiful, high-quality yet sustainable pieces of jewelry that do not break your wallet.
Choupette Social Girl (CSG): What are cultured diamonds and what makes them the rarest type of diamond?
Laura Chavez (LC): Cultured diamonds are diamonds, as in, 100% diamonds. The only difference between a cultured diamond and a mined diamond is origin. Mined diamonds must be mined, of course, whereas cultured diamonds are grown in a controlled environment mimicking the process in which they grow underground. With mined diamonds, land and wildlife has to be displaced, water is polluted, and humans can be put at risk. With cultured diamonds, none of this occurs. The technology is rapidly progressing—so much, that we can now grow a diamond with 100% renewable energy. Most cultured diamonds are of Type IIa status, making them the rarest type of diamond. Only 2% of mined diamonds are this pure.
There’s over 100 times more mined diamonds than cultured ones out there, so calling cultured the rarest diamonds is actually very spot on—rare in Earth-positive qualities and rare in numbers.
CSG: How is Lark & Berry sustainable?
LC: From its onset, Lark & Berry decided it would only use cultured diamonds and stones in all its designer fine jewelry. If we can’t source a grown stone for a specific design, we will change the design. We also use up to 90% recycled metals and are always looking for ways to improve our sustainable efforts. It’s one of our core values. In our constant seeking for the best possible way to make diamonds, we recently discovered a lab that grows diamonds in the UK with 100% renewable energy. This process of growing diamonds debunks the mined companies misleading arguments that cultured causes more carbon emissions than mining.
CSG: Why is there a stigma surrounding ‘lab-grown’ diamonds?
LC: The stigma surrounding cultured diamonds is mostly present in the older generations that grew up with the ideas the media told them regarding diamonds. I’ve heard people compare a mined diamond to an original Picasso. This is absolutely crazy to me, because all you have to do to get a mined diamond is mine it (hurting land, wildlife and potentially creating conflict with people in the process). An original painting is created through the genius and effort of an artist.
Comparisons like these are devaluing to human creativity and ingenuity. Wouldn’t a cultured diamond be closer to the rareness of a great painting or invention? Through decades of testing and technological progression, we now have a better way to get diamonds—by making them ourselves, made possible by the brilliant work of humans. It’s more artful than digging a hole and polluting the water, isn’t it?
Younger generations and progressive older people are happy to accept this change in diamonds and understand a diamond, mined or cultured, is identical. Both diamonds are equally as everlasting, they will never lose their brilliance, and they will symbolize whatever you want them to symbolize when you gift it to yourself or to someone else. But with cultured, you are supporting a diamonds method that is far more responsible for Earth. Lark & Berry is more than happy to celebrate making this choice along with our fans of all ages, but we also work tirelessly to teach and convince everyone else to make the switch!
CSG: How do you hope to break this stigma?
LC: All stigmas are broken with education. We have seen that as consumers learn and understand the facts, they are grateful a choice like cultured diamonds exists in luxury jewelry. Now, more than ever, people place value on purchases that matter the most to them; the individual—and that they want these purchases to be sourced and/or created the best way possible for Earth. That’s why more and more people are seeking cultured diamonds; it’s why it’s a such a buzzy term. Because with us, you’re getting a more sustainable, more eco-friendly and always guaranteed conflict-free update to an age-old “girl’s best friend.”
CSG: How will the brand continue to grow and maintain its “clean, cool, cultured” motto?
LC: Design is at the forefront of our brand. We are always working on new, unique pieces to keep people talking, and we will seek to educate everyone on the many virtues of cultured diamonds and stones. We have a podcast now, called ‘The Diamond Disruptor’ which seeks to educate the public on sustainability in luxury.
We will continue to utilize creative advertising to get our message out. As we can see now in every marketplace sector, it’s never been cooler or classier to support sustainable options. Now that cultured diamonds are here, and no one can tell the difference between cultured and mined (because there is none), there’s no reason to not go cultured.
Doing something good for Earth has never been so easy!