Text by Lindsey Kesel
Images courtesy of Diamond Foundry
Inside their San Francisco headquarters, the brilliant minds behind Diamond Foundry have perfected the art and science of above-ground diamond creation. Lab-grown diamonds aren’t new, but until recent years, they haven’t been able to go toe-to-toe with mined diamonds in terms of gemstone quality and clarity. Not only are Diamond Foundry’s gems atomically identical to mined ones, they’re ethically sound—produced with zero carbon emissions and conflict-free.
At the company’s foundry in Wenatchee, Washington, the proprietary process begins with a tiny slice of one of its diamonds, which is placed within a plasma reactor that burns white hot, reaching 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit—the heat of the outer core of the sun—and in turn prompting carbon to form an intricate crystal lattice off the initial sliver, creating a one-of-a-kind diamond. The cutting-edge technology produces no carbon emissions, thanks to hydropower from the nearby Columbia River, and the entire company is carbon neutral, as it offsets any other emissions it creates.
A single Diamond Foundry gem is inspected 1,300 times to meet strict standards of quality. Every diamond can be traced back to the engineers who made it, and each is masterfully cut by fourth-generation diamond cutters and shaped by in-house polishers.
While Diamond Foundry has collaborated with luxury brands such as Balmain and Dover Street Market, its lasting gem is its in-house brand, Vrai. Vrai is vertically integrated—a rarity in the jewelry world—which gives it total control from growing the diamond to the finished pieces. It uses recycled solid gold and recyclable packaging and aligns with partners who share core values of sustainability, transparency, innovation, and quality. Catering to individuality is also a big part of the company’s edge in diamond innovation.
“We love to push the envelope,” says Ye-Hui Goldenson, Director of Public Relations and Communications for Diamond Foundry and Vrai. “We can do a shield cut, half-moon cuts, hexagon cuts—shapes you don’t normally find—because some clients are looking for something more unique than the standard ‘round brilliant.’”
With its singular origin story and excellent quality, Diamond Foundry diamonds make a statement and an impact. Diamond Foundry has drawn investors including Leonardo DiCaprio, and Vrai works with nonprofits Equality Now, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, No Kid Hungry, and others to encourage positive change.
“Luxury doesn’t have to be something that is impacting the environment,” says Mona Akhavi, CEO of Vrai. “Luxury can be accessible, it can be special—a symbol of your values, and imbued with meaning.”