After much anticipation, season 2 of Netflix’s hit series Bridgerton debuted on March 25, 2022. It introduced exciting new characters and brought fan favorites back to the screen.
Bridgerton centers on the drama amidst London high society during the Regency Era. The titular family consists of eight siblings and their widowed mother. The first season ended with Daphne Basset (Née Bridgerton) and her husband Simon celebrating the birth of their first child, while the other siblings are still struggling to find romance.
Romance isn’t all that attracts audiences to Bridgerton. For some viewers, the show is exclusively about its gorgeous costumes. Perhaps the most notable costuming feature is the diamonds, which often carry secret hints about the characters’ personalities.
Lady Danbury’s impressive diamond-encrusted necklace and tiara, for instance, establish her role as the family’s matriarch, while Daphne’s delicate diamond necklace reflects her youth.
According to one jewelry expert, a single piece used on the show might be worth more than $12 million. Although Bridgerton has revived interest in diamond jewelry, the fact that the show is set during an era notorious for colonialism intensifies that “conflict diamond” association.
In the early 19th century, diamond mines were infamous for their exploitation of workers. There was no social awareness of blood diamonds in those times. Mine workers were often exploited, and in decades following, corrupt regimes funded their wars with diamonds.
The industry has made pretty monumental ethical strides forward since those days. The Kimberley Process and other attempted safeguards were established to stop illegal trade. Still, despite all efforts, the exchange of hands is still the weakest link, and unethical stones still slip into the legitimate supply.
Deborah Lefkowitz is a historian and gemologist at the Vincente Museum of Natural History. In a recent interview she said, “Since 2003 the Kimberley Process attempted to control rough stones by eliminating illegitimate trade. Eighty two countries are involved with the initiative, so the industry has made real efforts.”
But critics like The Guardian’s David Rhode regard Kimberley as little more than a shtick that he refers to as “failed.” He writes, “The health and safety of working conditions, the use of child labor and fair pay – are not addressed. It also fails to deal with entire populations being evicted from their ancestral homes to make way for mining.” According to Rhode, the certificate is also useless if stones cannot be tracked.
Millennials and Generation Zs are well attuned to ethical issues like sustainability. Their admirable commitment to social progressiveness makes them averse to supporting any business they perceive to be as unethical. But one company out there is making sure that diamonds are sustainable and conflict free, and its verification system is revolutionary.
Sarine Technologies is a well established high-tech solutions provider for the diamond industry known of its innovation. Once again, the company has solved another industry-wide problem—the contamination of legitimate diamonds with illegal conflict stones.
Gemstones that are processed through its electronic systems are guaranteed conflict-free, and shoppers can know exactly where their gemstones come from; like a birth certificate for diamonds.
Diamond traceability is one of Sarine’s many innovations, and it involves blockchain technology. The company uses its AutoScanTM 3D scanning stations at every leg of a rough stone’s journey, from its point of origin at a mine, all the way to a local or online jewelry retailer. These machines are able to extract a forensic-level fingerprint of each stone, and the information is then uploaded to a blockchain.
The blockchain is decentralized, so it’s unchangeable. That’s how it ensures the provenance of every stone. Sarine has partners like Boucheron that use the traceability tech, so customers are already able to do their shopping guilt-free.
The journey of a natural diamond has a deep, nostalgic significance for people. It’s a beautiful story to tell that’s billions of years in the making—It encompasses the birth and life of a stone that is later extracted by Man and polished to perfection. It’s a metaphor for one’s love and devotion.
Synthetic stones that are lab-grown and costume jewelry just can’t compete with the real thing. Suffice it to say, Lady Danbury would never in a million years consider buying a stone raised in a laboratory—perish the thought!
Thanks to high-tech, real diamonds can be ethically sourced. Maybe shoppers can’t afford Bridgerton-level jewels, but even the smallest of points sparkles brightly, and its beautiful history and connection to the earth are no less vibrant than the biggest gemstone in the world.