These Empowering Diamonds Are Like Your Actual Best Friends
Purposeful fashion is just great, isn't it? Shoes that donate backpacks to kids in Ecuador. Sunglasses that help people see in developing countries. We love these. Purposeful DIAMOND fashion is the BOMB. I mean, it's my two favorite things: Diamonds + social change. Everybody wins!
Such is the model at Diamonds Unleashed by Kara Ross, a new fine jewelry line that's disrupting how women buy and wear diamonds.
Ross launched her 28-piece collection of necklaces, rings, earrings and bracelets just this past December to rave reviews. The collections are based on Diamonds Unleashed's universal symbol of women’s empowerment:
Kara designed it "to be an international symbol of female empowerment. The symbol is the shape of two diamonds, one elevating outside the other; those two shapes together form a heart. The heart symbolizes the unifying philanthropic power of women helping women, to help create the next generation of strong female leaders."
Love the sentiment. (And at $99 and up, love the price, too.) And now for the social cause bit.
Ross has partnered with She’s the First and Girls Who Code to donate all net profits from the sales of jewelry and products after expenses, committing to a minimum donation of $20,000 to each organization.
Like I said, win win.
Clearly, I needed to reach out to the visionary behind this gem of a line. And I did.
Here's Kara Ross on making our diamond dreams come true, why ethical sourcing is important to her, and what it's like to launch a new life venture.
What has been the most surprising part of launching this company?
The response! When I have told people about what I was doing and how it would disrupt the diamond industry they have been so supportive and constantly wonder why no one has done it before.
What did you set out to create with Diamonds Unleashed?
Diamonds are probably the only item that women shy away from buying themselves. Diamonds Unleashed is about looking at a diamond, the hardest most beautiful substance on earth, and having that symbolize women's strength. My mission is to engineer a great rethink about how diamonds are bought, given and perceived and then to use that shift as a platform to address issues that enable women to achieve their potential.
And ethical sourcing is important to you?
It’s first and foremost for Diamonds Unleashed. We have partnered with CanadaMark™ to ensure that each diamond comes directly from Dominion’s share of production from either the Ekati or Diavik diamond mines. Dominion is Canada’s largest independent diamond producer and the third largest diamond producer globally by value. The Company is committed to promoting a safe and healthy workplace, protecting the environment, developing local communities and delivering a high quality product. The production of our jewelry is also done ethically. We work with a company in India who was one of the founding members of the Responsible Jewellers Council – the entire process is ethical from the mining, to polishing, cutting and the manufacturing of the jewelry itself.
What’s a signature Diamonds Unleashed piece that every woman should own?
Jewelry is such a personal item and speaks to each person in a unique way. We have developed a collection of jewelry that we think will appeal to a wide range of people – my mother will wear it, my daughters and their friends will wear it - and that can and will be worn everyday. One of my favorite pieces right now are the double diamond stud earrings from the collection we just launched on HSN.
What can we look forward to in 2016 from Diamonds Unleashed?
2016 is going to be a really busy year! Our #BeBrilliant collection for Neiman Marcus will be available in January – this collection features full-cut diamonds set in 18k gold – yellow gold, white gold and accents of rose gold. The pricing for this collection ranges from $475 to $15,000.
Our Diamonds Unleashed Engagement ring collection launches in our flagship store on Madison Avenue in New York City. The engagement ring collection features 6 designs with a specific percentage of the price of the ring donated to one of our non-profit partners and is selected by the couple.
Our Salon Series makes its debut in Miami in February and continues across the country to Dallas, Washington DC, San Francisco, LA, Napa Valley and Boston and then heads across the pond to London in November. The Salon topics will be centered around women who are disrupting industries – from the arts to sports, technology, politics and more.
And finally, in March, our second collection for HSN will debut.
Who have been empowering female role models in your life?
I come from a long line of very strong women. Both of my grandmothers immigrated to the US from Ireland as teenagers and had to make their own way. My mother is also a strong woman – not afraid to stand up for what she believes in or wants. She emphasized that I could do or be anything I wanted to be, but nothing comes without effort. You have to be willing to put in the hard work and be willing to make sacrifices.
How do you think being at the helm of Diamonds Unleashed will challenge you and make you grow as a person?
My biggest challenge is time. I want to do so much, but have to remind myself to slow down and not bite off more than I can chew. It already has made me grow – I am so inspired by all the women I have met and will continue to meet. Each person helps me learn something new, see something in a new light – I am growing everyday.
Best advice you’ve ever received?
I switched schools mid-year my freshman year of high school and tryouts for the field hockey team had already taken place and the team was selected. I had played for years and knew I was as good or better than any of the other girls on the team. My mother told me if I really wanted to play, I had to ask for it. She told me to go to the coach and convince her to let me try out. I did and made the team and actually became a starter my first year on the team. That lesson taught me that if I really want something, I need to be willing to take a chance and ask for it.
What can you never leave home without?
My iPhone, iPad and my diamond (of course).