We usually associate the words “diamond” and “gemstone” with brilliance, beauty and happiness quite often without thinking about their origins. Natural stones are extracted. And the mines are in countries where happiness is scarce, unlike the gems they are endowed with. West African diamonds, for example, come from countries that have been going through decades of political and ethnic turmoil, their political regimes ostracized by the world’s democratic majority. The same goes for the sapphire mines of Pailin in western Cambodia, ruled by the ruthless Khmer Rouge, responsible for millions of civilian deaths; the proceeds from the sale of these unparalleled sapphires were used to finance the authoritarian regime. Unlike diamonds, however, the origins of sapphires and other colored gemstones can be traced precisely due to their unique chemical makeup and therefore their verified or disproved durability. The same goes for Myanmar’s supply of other colored gemstones such as rubies, sapphires, jade, moonstone; by buying them, we have no way of knowing if the money would be used to finance the genocide. Mining conditions are appalling with few exceptions, as mines, when abandoned, leave an indelible mark on the face of the earth, with deforestation being one of them.
However, not all gemstones are mined; there are artificial stones with 100 percent resemblance. Even a professional eye may not be able to tell the difference. Ciro Jewelry, a company founded in 1917 and relaunched after a series of ownership changes in 2006 in Austria, Switzerland and Germany, is particularly renowned for trading in cubic zirconia (CZ) jewelry, a 100% sustainable material whose origins are as clear as its facets and its properties the same if not exceeding diamonds. When shopping for exquisite and elegant jewelry from Ciro, there is no need to ask them how they source their gemstones as their supply chain is 100% sustainable and ethical. Since the 1970s, some 40 years after the discovery in the laboratory of the manufacturing process of cubic zirconium oxide, the stone began to coat diamonds. There are, of course, lab-grown diamonds which are real gemstones formed in a process that mimics nature’s process, but above ground. Lab diamonds, however, are 40 to 50 percent of the price of a mined diamond, while CZ comes at a fraction of the cost of a diamond. No wonder sustainability advocates like Angelina Jolie, Julianne Moore, Uma Thurman and Cameron Diaz have been spotted wearing Ciro jewelry, as many other fashion influencers have endorsed its entry into the mainstream market as jewelry. free from any ethical and sustainability issues.
Ciro’s pieces compare in style, design and craftsmanship to big names like Chopard, Cartier and Escada, but at a fraction of their price. Crafted from gold-plated 925 sterling silver or 18kt gold, the Ciro collections are equally eye-catching. All white stones are triple A cubic zirconia in common diamond cuts such as assher, princess, and pear. Ciro’s latest First Love collection features moissanite and lab-grown diamonds. Moissanite has a history of its own. Discovered in 1893 by a French scientist named Henri Moissan in the form of microscopic particles in a meteorite crater in Arizona, the stone particles were first thought of as diamonds; however, it later became clear that the crystals were composed of silicon carbide. As natural moissanite is incredibly rare, the one available today is created in the laboratory. More than 100 years after its discovery by Moissan, it has been synthesized to produce what is today one of the brightest gemstones in the world.
To learn more about Ciro Jewelry, enjoy their latest collections, visit their website or follow them on Instagram.
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