You heard me. Cultivated right here in Singapore.
I was at the unveiling of the world's largest diamond greenhouse at IIa Technologies, and the diamonds I saw at the facility totally blew me away.
Those are my hands in the pictures by the way. It's not everyday that I get to hold a 3.04 carat diamond ring and fiddle with it (top left), so might as well wear it right?
The diamonds shown above are all type 2a (IIa) diamonds, as are all diamonds cultivated by IIa Technologies in Singapore. Type IIa diamonds are the purest known to man, being almost or completely devoid of impurities, and are very much sought after for their clarity. They are also extremely rare, with only less than 2% of the world's mined diamonds being type IIa ones.
So are they fake? Absolutely not. These are real diamonds, with the same physical, chemical and optical properties as the mined ones. The only difference is that these diamonds uses less resources, are definitely ethical (heard of blood diamonds?), and are conflict-free. IIa Technologies also claims to use modest amounts of energy and grow diamonds in a way that impacts the environment minimally. Also, because diamond resources are depleting, the lab-grown diamonds ensure sustainability of this resource, which apart from being sought after in the precious gems and jewellery industry, are also viable in many other areas such as the engineering, medical and optics industries.
These precious babies are grown from a diamond seed, as diamonds can only grow on another diamond, I've learnt. These seeds are then placed in the "greenhouses" and left to grow using a system called Microwave Plasma Chemical Vapour Deposition. This provides the environment suitable for diamonds to grow, and how quickly or big it grows it entirely up to Mother Nature. To date, the biggest one they've grown is the one you see in the picture above, at 3.04 carats. And I got to wear it!!! Haha okay cheap thrill. Moving on...
As these diamonds are grown and not mined, they utilize a lot less resourses, and thus cost less than their mined counterparts. You can get the same 1 carat type IIa diamond at a price 30-40% lower than the mined one, and maybe even less than half the price of a "branded" diamond.
We all know it's just a rock, but hey, we want that rock for our engagement rings or anniversaries or whatever big day it is (thanks to the successful DeBeer campaign decades and decades ago). Unless someone else comes up with a bigger campaign to change the engagement ring culture. (There was no such thing as an engagement ring in the 1920s!) The government can try using a widescale HDB-engagement campaign to fight that, but until that happens, we want that rock, cut to shiny perfection. And thanks to IIa, we don't have to burn our wallets and bank accounts (or 2 months' paycheck) to get it. Phew~
Some history okay? IIa Technologies was borne by a chance meeting in 2001 between Professor Misra, an expert with decades of diamond growth experience, and members of the Mehta family who are third generation professionals in the Gems and Jewellery Industry. This meeting created a wealth of knowledge, industry experience and financial capabilities which started IIa Technologies.
Fast forward 14 years, they have come a long way, from having problems like shortage of diamond seeds and only being able to grow small diamonds, to being the world's largest diamond greenhouse, an impressive 200,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility. They are currently the largest distributor of cultured diamonds in the world, and is the only company that can grow high quality, colourless Type IIa diamonds. Also, am I proud to say this - they are based right here in Singapore. =D
They have even launched a brand initiative "Cultured in Singapore" with a new creative brand mark This is to create awareness that IIa diamonds are 100% Cultured in Singapore. Their global retail partners and distributors have already started incorporating the "Cultured in Singapore" brand mark across their marketing platforms. #patrioticmuch
I'm having a headache from all the (somewhat) formal writing. I have not done that in too long, and once again it reaffirms the fact that I cannot do serious writing for a living. Lol! Now, for the pictures! I'm not even sure my pictures do these diamonds enough justice but I really got to show you some of the designs they have!
I like this one. Simple. I find that the ones with little diamonds at the side is a little too much for me. This is 1 carat.
Taken on my finger so you can have a gauge of how it'll look like worn.
They have pink diamonds as well! Pink diamonds are extremely rare. Nope, no colouring is added. The pink formed naturally due to a chemical reaction. They are pure type IIa diamonds as well.
And here's the big 3.04 carat diamond:
A real gem huh? ;)
You can find out more about IIa Technologies here.
To buy their Pure Grown Diamonds (Cultured in Singapore. I just HAD to emphasize lol!), you can check them out at puregrowndiamonds.com.