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Lightbox’s Advancements in Lab-grown Diamonds With Latest From The Future Rocks

For the world’s first online marketplace for lab-grown diamond jewelry, the future rocks.

On March 1, Hong Kong-based company The Future Rocks released The Ring II, a piece featuring lab-grown diamonds in two new colorways atop a ring created entirely using lab-grown white sapphire. The stones were developed in partnership with Lightbox, a lab-grown diamond brand and subsidiary of the De Beers Group. Retailing for $4,000, the 2-carat colored lab-grown diamonds are available in a round-cut shape and two shades: blush pink and pale blue.

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“Lightbox was built on a premise of innovation, and we’re thrilled to partner with a visionary brand like The Future Rocks for a collaboration that celebrates our mutual desire to push boundaries,” said Lightbox’s chief executive officer Antoine Borde. “Our groundbreaking techniques in lab-grown diamonds — combined with their cutting-edge design approach — has resulted in a stunning piece of jewelry that showcases the versatility and beauty of our stones while highlighting what is possible in modern jewelry design.”

This collection builds on The Future Rocks x Lightbox’s first collaboration, The Ring. Released last year, The Ring is a band crafted from 100 percent lab-grown sapphire and a lab-grown diamond as its center stone.

“Our first collab was designed and manufactured by us using Lightbox’s stones,” Anthony Tsang, CEO and founder of The Future Rocks, told WWD. “Now, our latest collection is taking things to the next level in terms of innovation, and we’re so excited to have Lightbox as [a partner so we can] drive the industry forward.”

Behind the diamond

With Lightbox’s lab-grown diamonds, it all starts with science. For the Dover, Del.-based brand, turning to manufacturing company Element Six (E6) was not only the right move but vital to its vision.

E6, which has spent more than 70 years in the research and development of diamond synthesis and manufacturing, produces Lightbox’s diamonds at its production facility in Oregon.

The diamonds produced for the new collection are synthesized through a method called Chemical Vapor Deposition. This method uses a low-pressure, high-temperature carbon-hydrogen plasma to produce “ultra-high-quality diamonds” at scale, according to Dr. Daniel Twitchen, chief technologist at E6.

A suitable flat, curved or domed substrate is placed inside the synthesis chamber during the CVD process. Then, high-purity gasses are added to the chamber, followed by the addition of microwaves, Twitchen added. The microwaves heat the gasses to generate a plasma with a temperature of around 3,000 degrees Celsius, around half that of the sun’s surface. Inside the plasma, he noted, E6 creates the chemical species required for high-quality diamond synthesis.

“Intrinsic, or high-purity diamonds, are colorless. Colored diamonds can be engineered by creating particular defects in the diamond lattice, either during synthesis or post-synthesis,” Twitchen told WWD. “For example, lattice vacancies can be created by irradiating diamonds with high-energy electrons, producing a stunning blue coloration. Further processing enables the creation of nitrogen vacancies — a defect recently under the spotlight thanks to its promising applications in quantum technologies — which gives you a beautiful pink diamond.”

While Lightbox Jewelry uses CVD diamonds — and their defects — as jewelry stones, E6’s DNA is rooted in industrial applications.

“While most of us think about diamonds as gorgeous and symbolic gemstones, not many are aware they are also an engineer’s best friend when it comes to industrial applications. By precisely engineering diamond’s remarkable properties during the CVD synthesis process, E6’s teams have spent the last two decades developing world-leading solutions in advanced industrial applications,” Twitchen said. “After working in synthetic diamond innovation for more than 25 years across academia and industry, I feel like the exciting opportunities for this remarkable, versatile material, have only just begun.”

Sustainability at its core

In addition to shedding light on the lab-grown diamond industry, TFR is passionate about crafting conscious jewelry made from high-quality materials and recycled metals.

Adding to its efforts, TFR only partners with “like-minded brands.” In fact, several of its partnering designers are members of the Responsible Jewelry Council, the world’s leading standard and authority in the global watch and jewelry industry, while others are B Corp certified.

“We want to take care of the planet that we’re living on, which is why we’re not selling sustainability, we’re implementing it,” Tsang said. “Our target audience is Gen Z and Millennials, and ESG and sustainability are a big part of the consumption decision process. That is something we’re very [conscious] of because it’s not just about the brand or the product anymore. It’s the entire story behind the product, which includes sustainability.”

One innovation TFR plans to release later this year is its new algae packaging. Grown in Denmark, the algae packaging is 100 percent biodegradable with the ability to “melt” in water, according to Tsang.

“Imagine a piece of algae hanging from the ceiling that the salesperson can rip off to package your items,” he added. “That’s what we envision having at our pop-up shops. These are the innovative ideas and creativity that we have that go beyond the actual product.”

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