“A Diamond is Forever” has got to be the best marketing campaign ever by global jeweller brand, De Beers. It solidified diamonds as must-haves for weddings and engagements and established its status as a symbol of prestige, class and elegance. However, increasing attention has been drawn to the environmental impacts that result from diamond mining activities, especially with regards to the emission of greenhouse gases. In 2019, a report by Trucost reveals that diamond mining operations caused an alarming average of 160kg carbon dioxide equivalents per polished carat produced in 2016. Additionally, accumulations of waste totalled 4,350kg from rock residues and 1.86kg of industrial waste per polished carat, shedding greater light on the harmful processes behind perfecting the rare gemstone.
Hence there is a trend towards sustainable diamonds and gemstones among the younger generations, exploring man-made or cultivated alternatives.
In particular, moissanites have received increasing attention in recent years. According to the 2019 Jewelry and Engagement Study by The Knot, moissanite was the most popular stone apart from diamonds, used in 19% of engagement rings. Moissanites can be lab-created, which makes it conflict-free and minimises any harmful environmental impacts that occur with mining activities.
Bringing the world of moissanites to Singapore is LeCaine Gems, a leading Moissanite jeweller in Singapore. For the husband and wife team of Ashley and Michael LeCaine, workmanship is the key to their carefully crafted bespoke styles. The family-owned business boasts years of experience, as Ashley has long been in the world of jewels from her family. In looking into alternative gemstones, they discovered the charm of lab-creation that came with the ease of maintenance and standardisation.
We had a chat with Ashley and it is clear she is very passionate about her business and willing to share her industry knowledge openly. She was transparent about the quality and price difference between diamonds and moissanites. You cannot really tell them apart with the naked eyes and will require specialised equipment to differentiate. Price-wise, there is a huge difference as moissanites are mostly lab-created while diamonds have to be mined.
As such, Ashley shared that many couples opting for moissanite rings are either looking to save cost or prefer a more sustainable jewellery option. There are also tai-tais who will go for the giant moissanite stones with customised design, just for the aesthetic as these will cost a bomb if they were casted using real diamonds.
If you do a search online, you will find the price of moissanite to range widely from just a couple of bucks. Ashley shared that the difference is largely due to some retailers using plastic or low quality artificial gems in place of quality moissanite. For quality control, LeCaine Gems send over their moissanites to independent labs in Hong Kong upon processing for checking and certification, much like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) certifications for diamonds.
Starting off as an online platform, LeCaine Gems maintained a low price point while offering quality customisations for their customers. By allowing customers to customise their items via WhatsApp, this ensures prompt communication and interaction, all part of the personalised experience offered by LeCaine Gems.
Bucking the trend of shuttering retail stores, LeCaine Gems did the converse by opening up their first physical store in Millenia Walk earlier this year.
Ashley shared that with a physical store, it is more convenient for customers to make an appointment and come down to discuss on the details of the gems they want as well as the customisation options. She sees the physical store as an extension of the full customer retail experience and satisfaction from the online store.
If you are interested to visit LeCaine Gems, here is the addresss:
9 Raffles Boulevard Millenia Walk
#01-32, Singapore 039596
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +65 8363 3168