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by Wanda Rich
iStock 1270598597

A leading British jeweller has launched the country’s first range of environmentally-friendly natural diamond rings, in a bid to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of popping the question.

Experts estimate more than 100,000 romantics are set to get down on one knee and propose this Christmas, making it a bumper year for jewellers across the country.

The nation’s first post-lockdown Christmas is set to see sales of engagement rings soar, but many customers are wanting to know where their stones came from – and the impact it had on the environment.

Couples hoping to get engaged this Christmas without harming the planet can now get their hands on a natural diamond engagement ring, with the smallest carbon footprint.

Hatton Garden-based Prestige Valuations are the first company in Britain to offer fully sustainable, ethical natural diamond jewellery – from carbon neutral or negative mines that don’t harm the environment.

Their diamond engagement ring, set in Fairtrade gold, has sparkling environmental credentials, and comes with a certificate from the Gemological Institute of America proving the stone came from an ethical mine.

Even the gold used to house the gems comes from a certified Fair Trade source, meaning the environmental impact of the mining operations is minimal, without any exploitation of miners.

The first piece in this stunning collection is a 0.5 carat engagement ring, perfect for any environmentally-minded couple, and is priced at just £2,500 – only a couple of hundred pounds more than a traditionally-sourced ring.

Tim Belson, MD of Prestige Valuations, said: “We really wanted to see what we could do to make sure our customers could get the most environmentally sustainable jewellery possible.

“Lab-grown diamonds are often cited as being an eco-friendly alternative to natural stones, but they come with two key problems.

“Firstly, the outlay to begin producing diamonds in artificial circumstances is incredibly carbon intensive.

“And secondly, while they are currently half the cost of natural stones, once the technology to create them gets better and more streamlined, manufactured diamonds will drop in price even further as they become more common.

“Natural stones will always hold their value, because there will never be a convenient way to produce millions of carats of them.

“With this ring, we are offering our customers a unique opportunity to possess something that they know will hold its value, with the absolute minimum environmental impact.

“Our rings are an investment in the future of the environment, and love.”

The diamond itself comes from Diavik mine in Canada, and is certified with a Diamond Origin Report – a special document that follows the gem from being dug out of the ground until being set in a piece of jewellery, that provides detailed information on the environmental impact of the stone.

Tim added: “Another thing that many people don’t realise with diamond mining is that the ore that contains diamonds actually absorbs carbon dioxide when dug out of the ground.

“With the right mining techniques and practices, diamond mines are increasingly moving towards becoming carbon neutral, or even carbon negative.

“Kimberlite reacts when it is brought to the surface, absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and trapping it within the rock.

“De Beers are making great strides towards carbon neutrality, and they’re not the only mining operation.

“One day soon, even lab-grown stones will have a larger carbon footprint than mined diamonds.”

Domino Fairtrade gold comes from the Wetson Beamor Group, who have a Certification by The Responsible Jewellery Council, the body in charge of integrity and sustainability within the fine jewellery and watch industry.

Tim said: “Gold mining can be an incredibly dangerous and damaging industry, with a high dependence on environment-harming chemicals and inhumane mining conditions.

“By using only Fairtrade gold, we can ensure that not only are the miners treated well, but also the impact on the environment is minimal.”

The Diavik mine is in Canada’s Northwest Territories, and is home to one of the world’s leading ‘green’ diamond mining operations.

The Diamond Origin Report, operated by the Gemological Institute of America, brings added transparency to the diamond supply chain.

By connecting participating miners, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, the service ensures that expertly graded natural diamonds whose countries of origin have been scientifically confirmed, reach the end consumer.

Prestige Valuations is headquartered in Hatton Garden, and has been at the top of Britain’s diamond, jewellery and valuation industry for the last 30 years.

Tim added: “We hope these items of jewellery make people as happy as they have for us to make them.”