The holidays are looming and pumpkin spice is already on the menu, but there's something else coming up soon: engagement season. The days around Christmas and New Year's are some of the most popular for popping the question, but it takes a little planning — and ethical intent — to make the ring just right.
That's where Clean Origin comes in. Founded in 2017 by Alexander Weindling, Ryan Bonifacino, and Terry Burman, the online company creates 100-percent conflict-free, lab-grown diamonds with a 100-day return policy.
Since most people aren't experts in fine jewelry, Clean Origin is ready with a few tips to keep in mind when you’re preparing to buy the ring.
Lab-grown vs. mined
"A lab-grown diamond is a 100-percent real diamond created above the ground in a laboratory, without any of the taint of the environmental and moral issues surrounding mining," says Weindling. "It's really important in life to be on the right side of history."
Not only are lab-created diamonds the only way to ensure a completely ethical stone, but creating man-made diamonds results in far less waste, water and energy use, and carbon emissions. Clean Origin partners with several independent, highly reputable diamond certification laboratories, the two most prominent being IGI (International Gemological Institute) and GCAL (Gem Certification and Assurance Lab).
And here's the kicker: lab-grown diamonds can be anywhere from 20-40 percent less expensive than mined stones, meaning you can get way more wow factor for way less.
The four Cs
You might have heard this term before, but it's important to note it still applies to lab-created diamonds. The four Cs are a way to grade and classify diamonds based on their color, cut, clarity, and carat weight.
- Color: When we talk about color in diamonds we actually are talking about the absence of color. The color of a diamond is graded on an alphabetical scale starting at D and ranging all the way down to Z, with D being a colorless diamond and Z being yellow. Clean Origin's lab-created diamonds occupy the top seven color grades between D and J, and do not possess any fluorescence (meaning they won't "glow blue" in the sun).
- Cut: This is not the same as shape (round, princess, emerald, etc.), but actually an assessment of the skill of the artisan who plans, maps, and hand-cuts the facets. Essentially, the cut of a diamond determines how effectively light that enters the stone is refracted within and reflected back through the top of the diamond. All Clean Origin diamonds are graded with a "very good" or "better" cut grade.
- Clarity: This measures the incidence of natural inclusions within the diamond, or blemishes found on its surface during cutting and polishing. Diamonds graded SI2 or better generally appear "eye clean," meaning that they look flawless without the standard 10x magnification of a jeweler's loupe. Clean Origin diamonds are always SI2 or better.
- Carat weight: Exactly what it sounds like. Carat refers to the actual weight of a diamond, in units of measure equal to 0.2 gram. In all diamonds, size is a large contributor to the price of the stone.
Picking the perfect shape and setting
Remember, you're picking a ring that's a symbol of your forever love, so steer clear of trends and opt for a design that fits your love's personality. Clean Origin has four main collections — solitaire, classic, vintage, and halo — with plenty of options that support the most popular diamond shapes (round, oval, and cushion).
Here's a hint: When you're browsing Clean Origin's site, use an incognito window — otherwise you'll likely get bombarded with engagement ring ads, risking your significant other finding out what you're up to!
Plan how you're going to ask
Maybe you've been thinking about getting down on one knee for a while, or perhaps this is something you see happening further down the road. Either way, it's good to keep in mind that the entire proposal process takes time. From educating yourself about ring choices to picking out the perfect sparkler, waiting while it's created and shipped to you, and then planning the proposal itself, it can't all happen overnight.
So if popping the question is in your holiday plans, it's best to get started now to ensure your SO ends up with the story — and ring — of their dreams.