Today’s Solutions: April 19, 2024

From worker exploitation to environmental degradation, mined diamonds are fraught with problems. And while synthetically made gems are marketed to be more ethical, they are often made from fossil fuels. Looking to cover all ethical bases, a startup found a way to produce diamonds that are not only conflict-free but carbon negative as well.

To achieve this, jewelry startup Aether partnered with Climeworks, a Swiss Company specializing in CO2 capture technology. After Climeworks captures CO2 out of the atmosphere, Aether turns it into diamonds by purifying the captured carbon into a form that is suitable for a diamond reactor. Overall, the diamond-making process takes two to three weeks.

The idea behind the venture came to Aether CEO Ryan Sherman while reading a book about climate change solutions and talking with cofounder Dan Wojno. Both of them had backgrounds in the jewelry industry.

“We had a bit of an epiphany,” Ryan told Fast Company. “You’re carbon-based, I’m carbon-based, we live in a carbon-based world. Carbon in our atmosphere is really bad, but carbon itself inherently is not bad. And a diamond is just crystalline carbon.”

According to Aether, the first CO2-sourced diamonds will be incorporated in a new line of fine gems that’s expected to hit jewelry stores in early 2021.

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