Is Lab Grown The Future?

From meat to diamonds, lab grown is starting to take centre stage as a more planet friendly option to growing materials. The diamond industry is known to have un sustainable aspects from the intensive mining processes to social justice issue around treatment of workers within complex and un transparent supply chains. We speak to Co-Founder's of Kimai Jess and Sidney, about their thoughts on the industry, how they build their company with the mission to make the diamond industry cleaner. 

Let's start with the basics, what are lab grown diamonds?

Lab-grown diamonds are chemically and physically identical to mined diamonds. Kimaï diamonds are made using solar energy in a lab. The main difference is that lab-grown diamonds provide 100% transparency compared to mined diamonds which have notoriously murky supply chains and are linked to complex and often devastating social and environmental issues. 

In what ways are traditional diamonds problematic? 

A real lack of transparency. It’s almost impossible to know where mined diamonds come from, and child labor is still sadly a reality in that industry. Before a mined diamond gets to its final owner, it exchanges hands an average of 10 to 15 times—and 250 tonnes of earth is moved for every 1 Carat diamond mined. 

What's the process of making a lab grown diamond?

Here’s the technical process:
1. A diamond seed is placed in a sealed chamber and heated to around 800 degrees Celsius. The chamber is filled with a carbon rich-gas, like Methane, among other gasses. 
2. The gases are ionized into plasma using technology similar to that of microwaves or lasers. 
3. The ionization breaks the molecular bonds in the gasses, and the pure carbon adheres to the diamond seed and slowly crystallizes. 

Could you share both your backgrounds and how you got into the lab grown diamond industry?

We were both born into families who worked in the diamond trade in Antwerp, but when we became aware of the inner workings of the industry (murky supply chains, child labour, negative impacts on the planet and local communities)- we wanted to do things differently. 

At 18, we both moved to London. Sidney trained to become a certified gemologist and I studied Business and Finance. Then, in autumn 2017, we went to visit our families and happened to speak to a local jeweller, who was complaining about the rise in lab-grown diamonds. At the time, this concept was still new. This was our lightbulb moment. We had been looking for a way to make the industry we loved more ethical and relevant for our generation, and we’d found it. We got to work on our designs, then had one of each prototype made in a lab, using our savings.

We quit our jobs and launched a website in November 2018. It felt like a huge risk. But just two months later, in January 2019, Meghan Markle was pictured wearing our Felicity earrings. The rest is history! 

What's the overall driving mission?

Ultimately, one of our biggest goals is to eventually help bring an end to unethical diamond mining. We aim to do this through Kimai by showing there is a way to make beautiful jewellery and diamonds in a modern, transparent way. We always say, diamond mines are not forever...

What can we expect to see from Kimai next? 

We are always looking for ways to innovate and reduce our impacts on the environment- we are in the middle of a big research project around our carbon footprint and look forward to sharing news on this soon...

Name your favorite piece from the Kimai collection!

Sidney: I’m loving the Amie chain bracelet. I like to wear mine stacked with other bracelets I’ve collected over the years and never take off.

Jess: I can’t leave the house without my earrings and always start with my Semi Hoops


more stories

A Guide To Mastering Sleep in 2023

At Stories Behind Things we are always curious to learn about ways to improve our mental health. So when Goss & Genus, a London based brand pr...

The Mission Behind: Collective Stories

We sit down with Collective Stories to hear the inside scoop on their brand mission, what its like being a brand supporting artisan communities fi...

January Horoscopes

This Series is brought to you by Skydiamond. Made From The Sky To Protect The Earth. Welcome to The SBT Astrology Club. A new horoscope serie...

December Horoscopes

This Series is brought to you by Skydiamond. Made From The Sky To Protect The Earth. Welcome to The SBT Astrology Club. A new horoscope series...

Is Sustainable Underwear The New Dopamine Dressing?

Today we are exploring the concept of power dressing with our favourite planet friendly lingerie brand of the moment, Scandale éco-lingerie. We’...

Meet The Brand Making Waves In The Swimwear Industry

We sat down with Koraru to hear more about their mission to being circularity to the swimwear industry. From the materials they use, to their value...

November Horoscopes

This Series is brought to you by Skydiamond. Made From The Sky To Protect The Earth. Welcome to The SBT Astrology Club. A new horoscope series...

WTF Is Fulvic Acid?

At Stories Behind Things we are always curious to learn about new wellness topics and trends. So when FLVC told us about Fulvic acid, we had to le...

Second Hand Styling With reworn collective

As we approach Autumn and replace our swimmers for jumpers, we were on the hunt for new platforms that offer more circular ways of updating our wa...

What's In What's Out? Get Up To Speed With The Seasonal Produce Calendar

Eating a diet consisting of locally and seasonal foods has a whole host of benefits, not only for our bodies but also for our planet.  When fruit ...

Why Protein Is For More Than Just Your Muscle

Just like the skincare and wellness industry, the food industry is just as susceptible to fads and trends that come and go faster than you can s...

Skydiamond Launches TIMELESS Collection

Did you know that diamonds can be made from the sky? Meet Skydiamond’s first collection, TIMELESS.Skydiamond mines diamonds from the sky to prote...

Why We All Need A Digital Detox

On World Mental Health Day, we look at one of the ways in which we can positively affect our mental health in our day to day lives: by putting down...

Are You Mad? Meet the new London based enterprise giving plastic a new lease of life

Are You Mad is the worlds first visible recycling store that diverts plastic waste from landfill and creates beautiful new items—all in one place....

October Horoscopes

This Series is brought to you by Skydiamond. Made From The Sky To Protect The Earth. Welcome to The SBT Astrology Club. A new horoscope series w...

5 Ways To Reduce Food Waste

Today marks International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste - a day created as a call to action to understand the effects of our extreme food...

What's On: October

A roundup of events to attend in/around London in the month of October that have sustainability and climate at the forefront.      The Big Clothes...

What's On: This September

A roundup of events to attend in/around London in the month of September that have sustainability and climate at the forefront.      Eternally Yo...

The SBT Astrology Club: September Edition

 This Series is brought to you by Skydiamond. Made From The Sky To Protect The Earth. Welcome to The SBT Astrology Club. A new series where each m...

Meet The Company Making Diamonds From Carbon In The Sky

Skydiamond is the creation of entrepreneur and environmentalist Dale Vince. In this interview, we speak to Dale about Skydiamond, what the proces...

Step Sustainably In Los Angeles

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH STEP YOUR WORLD Touching down in sunny and vibrant Los Angeles, our second destination of the series #STEPSUSTAINABLY created...

The Best Vegan Ice Cream Spots In London

In a nod to the upcoming World Ice Cream Day, we wanted to pay homage to that soft, cold delicious thing that is ice cream, but in our own Stories ...

A Guide To Social Wellness

Social wellness is the act of developing and maintaining positive interactions with others in local and global communities. We often hear the term ...

How To Go Green This Festival Season

Festivals; a weekend of live music, joy and dancing in a field with thousands of people! However there is no escaping the fact that festivals can h...

Step Sustainably In Barcelona

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH STEP YOUR WORLD Touching down in Barcelona, our first destination of the series #STEPSUSTAINABLY a partnership with Step You...

The Second Hand Wedding Dress Trend Is Here To Stay

Weddings are such an incredible event for everyone involved but often we don’t realise, or see, the waste that they create. In one day, a wedding ...

Making Trash Hard To Ignore, One Day At A Time

Rob Greenfield is an adventurer, environmental activist, humanitarian and human making a positive difference in the world. He is dedicated to leadi...

Why We [Still] Have A Clothing Waste Problem

Let’s be honest – some of us are addicted to accumulating clothes, and when our overflowing closets demand a clear-out, the planet doesn’t always ...

How To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

You can minimise your carbon footprint and help the environment in many different ways. Whether at home, work, school, or while you travel, small ...

Climate Grief 101: What Is It And What To Do Next

Do melting ice caps, deforestation and plastic pollution keep you up at night? You might be experiencing climate grief. Also referred to as ecolog...

The New Seasonal Baker On The Block: Meet Chez Ella

There's a new seasonal baker on the block, and we want to know all about it! This weekend we sat down with Ella Harding, Founder of Chez Ella Lond...

Meet The World's First Sex Toy Made From Ocean Plastic

Meet ohhcean® The first sex toy range in the world made with ocean-bound plastic. The ohhcean collection features silky silicone covered sex toys ...

Redefining Shareholder Activism: With Tulipshare

This week we enter the world of investing. What is shareholder activism and why is it an important part of individual action when it comes to comba...

How To Bring Mother Nature Into Our Daily Lives

Your relationship with Mother Nature will last your whole life, so it’s worth spending some quality time together. Have you stepped outside and fe...

Meet The Seasonal Florists Putting The Planet First This Valentine's Day

Did you know that 90% of all purchased flowers in the Uk are imported from overseas?! And 250 million roses are grown each year for valentines day?...

How To Do A January Clear Out, Sustainably

Brits are expected to throw out 67 million items of clothing THIS MONTH, along with furniture, tech and more. So, how can be have January clear out...

Ways to be more environmentally friendly in the kitchen

Six tips for being an eco-warrior in the kitchen!With the effects of the climate crisis already being felt across the world, more of us than ever a...

Simple Ways To Love Your Clothes Longer in 2022

A List of Simple Ways to Love Your Clothes Longer in 2022❤️1. Vote with your purchases Where you choose to spend your money really does have an im...

In Pictures: Kings Road Holiday Concept Store

WELCOME TO THE 114 KINGS ROAD HOLIDAY CONCEPT STORE Welcome to our first ever concept store, in partnership with HURR. During November - December...

Ways To Recycle Your Tree This Festive Season

Did you know that 8 million trees are thrown out in the UK each year— all of this waste amounts to around 120,000 tonnes, which predominantly end u...

A London Guide To Thrifting

A London Guide To Vintage  •  From one of a kind pieces to vintage furniture, its true that buying second hand is not only fun but it reduces the o...

An Ode To Trees

An ode to trees • Our tall green friends are more than just part of our natural landscape—They provide shelter and food for wildlife, they absorb ...

A London Guide To: Wellness

 We believe that selfceare and wellness are a crucial part of living a more conscious and sustainable life— so we put together our top spots in Lo...

Community Litter Picking Event

Join us on 10th November at 1pm, for a lunch time of litter picking, and connecting with a community of humans who want to make change. We will me...

A London Guide To: Farmers Markets

A London Guide To: Farmers Markets • We all know that adopting a more planet based diet is one of the most effective ways we can lower our impact o...

Anxious about the climate crisis? The cure for it is action

A thought piece by Beth Thoren (Director of Environmental Action EMEA, Patagonia) on ecoanxiety, action and volunteering for Stories Behind Thing...

Film Premier: Fashionscapes: A Circular Economy

Link here to watch the full film. Monday mornings started right! This morning the Stories Behind Things team had the pleasure of attending the pr...

Future Dreams Collection: Breast Cancer Awareness

  Y.O.U Underwear has launched its pink Future Dreams Collection in collaboration with breast cancer charity Future Dreams ahead of Breast Cancer...

A London Guide To: Eating Plant Based

A London Guide to Eating Plant Based  • Animal farming accounts for twice as many greenhouse gas emissions as plants grown for consumption, accordi...

Bringing nature indoors

Bringing nature indoors Our world’s population is becoming increasingly urban. According to the United Nations, in 2016 an estimated 54.5% of peop...