Aether Diamonds, a lab-grown stone company that claims to produce the world’s first diamonds from air, has received one of sustainability’s highest marks of approval.
The direct-to-consumer company, which launched in 2020, announced it has received B Corp certification. Co-founder and chief executive officer Ryan Shearman said the distinction will help the company gain shoppers’ trust, as it’s “fantastic third-party validation, but it’s not just validation — it comes with a certain gravitas.”
Shearman said this B Corp certification helps further distinguish Aether from other lab-grown diamond companies, alleging that most of them buy their carbon seeds from the fossil fuel industry. Aether works with a company in the Swiss Alps that filters carbon material from the air. The filtering company is one of the environmental start-ups eagerly searching for attractive commercial applications that meet its objectives. Diamonds — with carbon being their main, if only, component — was a “perfect fit,” said Shearman.
He called Aether “the first luxury lab-grown stone,” for its environmental offset. For every carat of diamond produced, Aether says it removes 20 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the air, which is more than a year’s worth of emissions for the average American. The company produces a wide range of diamond sizes, offering everything from melee to 2.5-carat stones and custom cuts that can be ordered on request, with an approximate three-month lead time.
Aether was launched with a bridal collection of quirky ring designs, incorporating their proprietary stones as well as responsibly mined metals. The price points swing higher than the average lab-grown diamond jewelry, which Shearman said ties back to Aether’s goal of sustainable luxury. The company’s first line of everyday jewelry, designed by its in-house creative lead Jenna Houseby, formerly of Pandora and Stephen Webster, will launch this spring.
“[Our price point] feels right considering the work that goes into it and what comes out of it. They are more expensive than a fossil fuel-based lab diamond and more close to the price of a mined diamond,” Shearman said of Aether’s products, which cost around $6,500 for a one-carat solitaire ring.
While the company mines CO2 from the air in Switzerland, it has its corporate headquarters in New York City’s Diamond District. For security reasons, Shearman declined to reveal the location of Aether’s diamond-producing machines beyond that they are based in the U.S.
The company, which launched with preorders, was a self-funded venture. Shearman, in particular said “my background suited me well [to this kind of work].” He previously held court as the lead engineer for David Yurman’s men’s line and has worked as a mechanical engineer and in material science. “I’m now at the intersection of jewelry and material science,” he said.
In its first year of business, Aether sold around $3 million of product and announced a $2.7 million seed round. Co-founder and chief marketing officer Robert Hagemann said Aether is working on a Series A round that is set to close soon. The brand is also exploring the possibility of wholesale partnerships in the coming year.