Experimental Ukrainian jewellery brand Nomis only uses laboratory-grown diamonds. Whether they’re scattered along pencil-length pins designed to skewer the earlobe, or clustered on “EarOvals” that encircle the ear and rest snug against the skull, all the diamonds in Nomis’s jewels are man-made. “We use lab-grown diamonds because it’s the logical choice,” says founder and creative director Alyona Kiperman. “They’re cheaper, but have the same characteristics as mined diamonds. We’re a new jewellery brand, and they just feel more modern.” The former model doesn’t like to say anything about sustainability. “It all feels like greenwashing. My work is fast-paced and about linking fantasy and reality.” It makes sense that Kiperman uses manufactured diamonds, as well as similarly sourced emeralds and sapphires. She’s selling design and, as with fashion, it’s all about the look.
At Homer, Frank Ocean’s NYC-based luxury brand, American lab-grown diamonds are used in cartoonish, cryptic designs alongside silver, gold and enamel. The Angry Man pendant, in 18-carat yellow gold, is more than nine times pricier than the same necklace in rhodium-plated silver – even though both feature lab-grown diamonds. It goes to show that the value is really in the precious metal, not the stones.