How do many lab-grown diamond fine and high jewelry companies that claim to be environmentally sustainable provide evidence to back such claims for their designs?
New York-based Grown Brilliance does all of the above, and more. Embodying a new wave of beautifully designed and evidence-based sustainable lab-grown diamond jewelry, this brand produces six stylistically diverse collections a year. While these are classics with an artistic twist, they are also of notably high quality: 95% of Grown Brilliance diamonds are I+ in color, and VS2 or higher in clarity. Led by founder and Creative Director Akshie Jhaveri, the brand’s supply chain, including packaging, is carbon-neutral, thanks to offsets purchased from the United Nations carbon off-set platform. In a transparent move, Jhaveri supplied this writer with sustainable bona fides including proof-of-sustainability certificates for her brand’s diamond growing, cutting, polishing and jewelry manufacturing facilities. As of this writing, Grown Brilliance is being audited by the sustainable industry standard organization SCS Global Services. The goal is to obtain SCS certification as a carbon-neutral or climate-neutral jewelry business.
Equally of note, Grown Brilliance is pioneering the e-tailing of sustainable lab-grown diamond jewelry by enabling customers to have their custom designs rapidly created with artistry and technical precision — at prices that compare exceedingly well to those of their competition As Jhaveri explained, “Our website’s Truly Custom tool allows people to design their unique lab-grown diamond ring, which we produce within 14 days, all without charging for this bespoke service.” (Grown Brilliance also offers Truly Custom necklace, earring and bracelet design options.) Too discreet to mention that most online jewelers charge for customized design services, Jhaveri focused instead on her brand’s recently launched “High Jewelry by AJ” range.
“This design-driven collection of precious pieces,” she explained, “is targeted towards high net worth jewelry lovers.” Inspired by a lifetime of appreciating ancient Indian art, contemporary fine art and design plus Jhaveri’s cosmopolitan travels, these hip but timeless silhouettes deepen the brand’s luxury offering. There are 33 ring designs featured in the High Jewelry by AJ collection, and each one is named after a city that Jhaveri has visited and personally recalls in captions accompanying each image. (Think Barcelona, Cairo, Lisbon, etc.) The experience of reading Jhaveri’s design descriptions of jewels named after cities is conversational and colorful, like talking to a thoughtful, jewelry-loving traveler. Because one feels Jhaveri’s enthusiasm, the user-friendly Grown Brilliance website vibe makes for an intriguing read.
Jhaveri produces the on-trend inventory of her brand with a dynamic team. As she related, “We have 30 designers and CAD operators working in-house and we carry over 300 styles of pre-set engagement rings, with over 4,000 variations, whereas the typical online retailer offers just 20-50 styles.” With a diverse selection of Eternity bands and anniversary bands, it seems safe to say that most people will be able to find the style they like in their choice of metal color, diamond shape and budget. One of the site’s most topical, chic and attractive offerings is the Red Carpet Collection. Inspired by glamorous diamond rings worn by everyone from supermodels like Karlie Kloss and Miranda Kerr to pop artist Lady Gaga and actors like Blake Lively, the Red Carpet designs embody considerable glamour and trend appeal.
At Grown Brilliance, Jhaveri observed, “Our Eternity bands are the most popular designs, and we stock them in higher carat weights ranging from eight carats to 26 carats, that are rarely stocked by other retailers. I believe,” she added with a smile, “that every woman and man should have the opportunity to sparkle in high quality diamond jewelry designs that are worn to adorn them in their everyday lives, as well as for parties and special events.” While 70% of Grown Brilliance customers are 25-45 years of age, Jhaveri said, “Since we carry such a wide range of styles and categories, our customers span all age spectrums.” Styles are designed for all genders, with a varied selection of men’s jewelry available on the site.
Born and raised in a family of jewelers, Jhaveri has been observing exquisite diamonds and diamond jewelry designs under a loupe since age 5. “I spent summers working with my father and have long been fascinated by gorgeous designs by some of the best Hong Kong and French jewelers,” she noted. When Jhaveri lost her father at the age of 16, she decided to take over his business and learn the manufacturing process by observing the skilled artisans in the family workshops. Jhaveri eventually graduated from business school and completed the diamond grading and jewelry design courses at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in Carlsbad, CA. to hone her skills.
After working with a major U.S. retailer for five years as an international sourcing director for fine jewelry, Jhaveri moved to New York and met her now husband. He was a leader in the U.S. jewelry wholesale space, and, she recalls, “working with him taught me how the wholesale jewelry industry operated.” After gaining experience on the retail and wholesale front, Jhaveri spotted various gaps between what retailers were offering and what kind of jewelry customers are seeking. “In order to fill these gaps with beautiful lab-grown diamond jewelry for various age groups and demographics,” she recalled, “I founded Grown Brilliance.”
As a wholesaler, Jhaveri noted, one’s original vision is altered several times before the finished product reaches the consumer, and quality control often eludes the designer’s grasp. “The Grown Brilliance business model,” she explained, “provides us with a direct channel to the consumer, and they tell us what they are loving about what we are doing.” Enacting strict quality control, from cutting to polishing to packing and shipping finished jewelry to the customer, Grown Brilliance quality control extends all the way to the customer’s emotions and psyche. “We offer all customers a 45-day return policy with zero questions asked,” Jhaveri related. “We believe this is one of the keys to our success.”
As much as Grown Brilliance focuses on design and customer care, equal attention is paid to sustainability. “We admit that sustainability is a work in progress,” Jhaveri said. “Although we are already carbon-neutral by off-setting our carbon footprint, our long term action plan is to become completely sustainable throughout our supply chain.” Grown Brilliance packaging is made of recycled and eco-friendly materials. As Jhaveri detailed, “Our bubble wrap envelopes are made from recycled plastic and the outer jewelry boxes are comprised of recycled card paper. Our inner insert is made of PVC and the note card is made of recycled eco-friendly paper.” Philanthropic initiatives are also important to the brand’s sustainable strategy. “We donate a percentage of profits to an Indian organization called SRMD Love & Care,” Jhaveri said. “We contribute to their initiatives that support the environment, education and women.” (SRMD Love & Care’s annual reports are available for review online.)
The social conscience embodied in the Grown Brilliance business dynamic is unusually compelling. For example, active and retired U.S. military, first responders, medical professionals and teachers all receive a 10% discount on purchases. (Policies like this are relatively rare in the fine jewelry and high jewelry world.) What’s more, Grown Brilliance is one of the few luxury jewelry brands that’s serving people who seek chic, lab-grown diamond jewels that are verified as being sustainably produced and ethically sourced. As Jhaveri said, “Besides being environmentally informed, our ideal customer is also smart about saving their money.” Noting that Grown Brilliance offers beautifully designed, carbon-neutral lab-grown diamond jewels with stones that are “two and a half times larger than what a similarly priced natural diamond would weigh,” Jhaveri said, “Our goal is to build long-term relationships with our customers as we work towards refining our designs and our sustainability.”
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