Why We Are Serious About Sustainability
Bradley’s Jewellers York on Low Petergate is among a small group of 50 independent retailers accredited to sell Certified Sustainability Rated Diamonds worldwide. These stones, whether natural or laboratory-grown diamonds adhere to the highest standards of social and ethical performance with unsurpassed traceability back to the source. For Bradley’s Jewellers owner, Kay Bradley, conversations she’s had with well-meaning customers prove there’s misinformation about environmental and sustainable factors in the fine jewellery trade that must be addressed. Here is what customers across York and nationwide should know about the diamonds she stocks.
Perhaps you’ve heard someone say that laboratory-grown diamonds are ‘greener’ than natural diamonds. Or maybe you’ve read about a fine jewellery collection that claims to be sustainable? These statements may make good headlines, but they don’t tell the full story of how some laboratory-grown diamonds, like the ones set into pieces by Kay Bradley of Bradley’s Jewellers York, are proven to be more transparent, traceable and environmentally conscious than others.
“My customers love natural and laboratory-grown diamonds, but they want to feel more confident that what they are buying is kind to the planet, ethically sourced and transparent in its route to my shop on Low Petergate,” Kay Bradley says. “Not all diamonds are equal; many simply aren’t environmentally friendly. Rather than being distracted by the natural versus man-made debate, I confidently show my customers the Certified Sustainability Rated Diamonds I have in stock instead.”
Visit the Bradley’s Jewellers York or Eco Rocks websites and you will see a kingfisher logo assigned to pieces in different collections. This bird indicates that the diamonds they contain are Certified Sustainability Rated Diamonds. Bradley’s Jewellers can display this information because it is an accredited retailer of Certified Sustainability Rated Diamonds – one of just four in the UK and Ireland. In fact, Kay Bradley was the first British female business owner to achieve this status, which is an amazing accolade for her small-but-mighty boutique! Certified Sustainability Rated Diamonds have been independently confirmed to be in full accordance with the requirements of the SCS-007 Jewelry Sustainability Standard. This is a comprehensive ‘checklist’ that assesses natural and laboratory-grown diamonds to make sure their journey to market is as transparent as possible. For example, the Standard looks at origin traceability, sustainable production practices, investment into people and facilities, ethical treatment of communities, and not just environmentally friendly manufacturing methods but climate neutrality too.
Kay Bradley explains: “It sounds complicated, but I like to think of it as complete peace of mind. With Certified Sustainability Rated Diamonds, I can offer my customers a genuinely climate-neutral and ethical laboratory-grown diamond option that’s been scrutinised by a third party.”
The SCS-007 Jewelry Sustainability Standard was created by SCS Global Services, which has nearly four decades of experience developing and implementing third-party certification programs. It keeps a close eye on its accredited retailers, like Bradley’s Jewellers York, and the laboratory-grown and natural diamond manufacturers it works with to ensure everyone meets the Standard’s high benchmarks. So when a Certified Sustainability Rated Diamond reaches the hands of the gemstone lover, the engagement ring buyer or the anniversary gift giver, it has its own unique certificate of sustainability that you can rely on.
“Customers are increasingly demanding that the diamonds they purchase are produced under sustainable practices, have verified origins, and have documented proof that they are not causing harm to the environment,” explains Stanley Mathuram, Executive Vice President of SCS Global Services. He continues: “When a customer sees the Kingfisher mark, we want them to instantly recognise that the stone they are buying has been verified by a third party to be produced in conformance with stringent sustainable and ethical production practices. We also want them to see the mark and instantly know that the retailer selling certified stones is committed to sustainability, transparency, and ethical practices.”
Today, Kay Bradley sources Certified Sustainability Rated Diamonds of 0.50 carats and above from WD Lab Grown Diamonds in the United States (there are currently no UK-based suppliers with accredited status). WD Lab Grown Diamonds underwent a comprehensive audit of its operations, human resources, labour policies, data management, supply chain integrity and anti-corruption policies to become a sustainability certified diamond company in 2020. Now, it can share SCS Kingfisher-marked stones with retailers like Bradley’s Jewellers York for bespoke and ready-to-wear collections.
“WD Lab Grown Diamonds is experiencing incredible demand, from all corners of the globe, for sustainably produced, high-quality diamonds,” says Brittany Lewis, the company’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Our state-of-the-art independently verified test-and-trace forensic laboratory guarantees our diamond provenance with 99% accuracy. Plus, diamonds created in our Washington, DC area laboratory are Certified Sustainability Rated and 100% Climate Neutral, supported by individual certificates. We go above and beyond our achievements of climate neutrality, and our sustainability investment equals 18 times our legacy and current emissions.” For added confidence, each Certified Sustainability Rated Diamond supplied by WD Lab Grown Diamonds is microscopically inscribed with a unique ID, ensuring the stone that ends up in your jewellery matches its unique certificate.
Shopping for the perfect piece of diamond jewellery can be tricky, especially if issues like climate neutrality are vital to your decision-making process. For Kay Bradley, SCS-007 Certified Sustainability Rated Diamonds, especially laboratory-grown diamonds, are the best way to ensure all your values are met without sacrificing aesthetics or spending extraordinarily large sums of money. “This is the only way we can demonstrate to the best of our knowledge that our laboratory-grown diamonds are environmentally friendly and climate neutral,” she explains. “I am really against ‘greenwashing’ tactics, so choosing the right suppliers and working with SCS Global Services means I can confidently back up the credentials of the laboratory-grown diamonds I sell. It’s that simple.”
But perhaps you’re not ready to buy and simply want to find out more. Staff at Bradley’s Jewellers York are not permitted to sell laboratory-grown diamonds without a vigorous training regime, including a three-day intensive course, an online e-learning course, in-store tests and exams to “prove our knowledge is 100% accurate”. Kay continues: “We are on an ever-evolving journey as this is a side of the jewellery business that is growing and changing daily. If our stones are not Certified Sustainability Rated Diamonds, we ensure they are individually hand-selected and follow our in-house protocols. We go above and beyond wherever we can, and I know my customers appreciate this.”
In the next few months, Bradley’s Jewellers York will demonstrate its commitment to Certified Sustainability Rated Diamonds with something special: The York Rose Cut Diamond. Having been in the works for six months, this represents the United Kingdom’s first SCS-007 Rated, 100% climate-neutral laboratory-grown diamond with a customised cut. This unique arrangement of internal facets is inspired by the White Rose of Yorkshire. When you look into the diamond with a loupe, you can see a multi-layered star shape, with each point representing a region of Yorkshire and the city of York itself. These stones will be incorporated into a popular solitaire ring design in Kay Bradley’s York Rose Collection, which pays tribute to Yorkshire’s people, places and landscapes.
The next time you stroll around the cobbled streets of York, remember that an independent retailer accredited to sell Certified Sustainability Rated Diamonds – one of only four in the entirety of the UK and Ireland – is just a stone’s throw away.