Did you know lab grown diamonds are graded and classified the exact same way as mined diamonds - but won't cost the earth or your wallet? Demand for lab-grown diamonds has grown as we all look for ethical and sustainable options. Two enterprising sisters, Lauren Chang Sommer and Alana Chang Weirick, started Moi Moi Fine Jewellery, Australia's leading lab-grown diamonds and moissanite store. Here, they talk to Lifestyle News about the growth in lab-grown diamonds.
Q: Why do you both start the business?
A: The idea came to us when we sought out sustainable and better-value fine jewellery for ourselves but couldn’t find anything available in Australia.
When we launched, we were the first to market for lab grown diamonds and Moissanite in the country, and since then Moi Moi has expanded into a national enterprise.
We offer the largest range of Moissanite and lab grown diamonds in Australia and the range can be shopped online or at one of our flagship stores located in Melbourne and Sydney.
Q: Why are lab grown diamonds growing in popularity?
A: It's been five years since the US Consumer Body (FTC) ruled that a diamond is a diamond no matter its origin, and with time more people have become aware that lab grown diamonds are chemically and physically identical to mined diamonds.
Changing consumer values centred around ethical, sustainable and affordable purchases are steering more consumers to choose lab grown diamonds over mined diamonds.
At Moi Moi we have seen two major reasons for the ongoing and increasing popularity, which align with changing consumer priorities.
One is the price - lab grown diamonds come at a fraction of the price of mined gems, and this has led to a trend towards bigger stones.
Customers can afford bigger quality stones without the enormous cost traditionally associated with mined diamonds.
Due to an increased affordability, customers are also shopping more frequently to add to their collections more often - we’re seeing people have fun with fine jewellery, which is exactly what we want!
The other reason lab grown diamonds and jewels like Mossanite are growing in popularity is because they are more sustainable and ethical options, and this is becoming increasingly important to people.
Q: Why are they a more sustainable and ethical option?
A: Traditional mined diamonds can have a controversial past, tied to unethical practices and the environmental harm caused by mining.
In contrast, Moi Moi's lab-grown diamonds offer a guaranteed source of origin, ensuring transparency regarding the diamond's origins.
Moreover, Moi Moi's lab-grown partners operate facilities that are either solar-powered or possess a renewable energy certification (REC).
Q: Why were your customers initially sceptical?
A: There’s a misconception that lab grown diamonds are somehow different to mined diamonds, and in the grand scheme of things it hasn’t been that long since the FTC ruling and so there is still a lack of awareness.
The mined diamond industry has existed for far longer and has had hundreds of years to establish itself - people forget that the perceived scarcity and value of diamonds was largely created through a marketing campaign!
So it makes sense that it will take some time for people to realise that lab grown fine jewels are not lesser options.
Global brands are recognising that consumers' priorities are changing and that they need to adapt and offer more ethical and sustainable options.
Many international brands now offer lab-grown diamonds, with leading Swiss luxury watchmaker Breitling recently announcing it will phase out mined diamonds by the end of 2024.
They actually refer to lab grown diamonds as ‘better' due to their traceability and transparency for production procedures.
Pandora is also working to completely phase out mined diamonds and recently launched a lab grown diamond collection in North America and the UK.