Lab-grown Diamond Start-up Aether Furthers ‘Luxury’ Positioning With First Jewelry Collection

·3 min read

Aether Diamonds, a fast-growing lab diamond company that harvests stones from carbon found in the air, is launching its first jewelry collection.

The Bombé collection features rings, necklaces, pendants and bracelets made with its proprietary lab-grown diamonds and yellow gold. It will be available to shoppers directly through Aether’s site, and represents an evolution for a brand that in recent months has added multiple big-name executives to its advisory board, including Alain Bernard — Richemont’s former head of North America and the recent founder of Abbey Road Advisory.

More from WWD

While most lab-grown diamond brands set their stones in very classic jewelry, Aether purposefully went in a more fashionable direction to further its self-described “luxury” positioning. Every piece comes with a description of how many months of carbon emissions have been offset by the production of its Aether diamond components — ranging from one month to nearly 11 years of offsets, all calibrated toward the average individual’s annual carbon impact.

Chief design officer Jenna Housby said of the collection, “We wanted to do something different with our product — everything [in lab-grown jewelry] was quite generic and we wanted strong design that created a handwriting for our product to tell a story.” Housby was classically trained at Central Saint Martins, and joined Aether after working in the ateliers of Stephen Webster and Theo Fennell.

Chief operating officer and cofounder Dan Wojno added, “We have a very special and differentiated story. Every atom of diamond we produce was recently in the atmosphere and only we can say that. Due to our process and story, our diamonds command their value.”

Aether’s lab diamonds are priced higher than the industry average — which it says is due to the costly process of gathering carbon from the atmosphere. While the average 1-carat lab-grown stone now trades around $1,800, Aether’s is priced at about $4,500. Wojno said naturally mined, high-quality 1-carat stones are trading around $9,000, but that cost is rapidly increasing due to inflation and the evaporation of Russia-mined supply.

The label plans to hold inventory of some of the more entry-priced pieces in the collection, while those higher up on the pricing chain will be made-to-order. Wojno declined to disclose any plans for physical retail, demurring that the company is taking a wait-and-see approach.

Aether has further distinguished itself in the lab-grown world for the size of the stones it produces. While most lab diamond producers max out at 1 or 1.5 carats, Aether is working on growing 3.5- and 4-carat stones with plans to have 5-carat stones in its inventory by the end of this year.

Wojno said growing stones of that size is immensely challenging. “The thing people need to remember with lab-grown diamonds is you might think you are getting a flawless stone every time but it’s not like a toaster that pops out a perfect piece of toast every time. When you go to bigger sizes, there is more material and more stress on the matter. It grows taller, so the taller you go, the more difficult it is,” he said, while declining to reveal where the company’s stone-producing lab is located within the U.S.

In recent months, Aether has added some heavy-hitters to its advisory board. Bernard, having most recently been named, is now in the company of other executives including former Tiffany chief merchandising officer Pamela Cloud and Bucherer/Tourneau chief executive officer Ira Melnitsky.

Aether said the next big staffing initiative is to add designers to Housby’s team.

Sign up for WWD's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.