Aether crafts diamonds out of thin air
The Future. Diamond-creation startup Aether is transforming carbon dioxide into diamonds, turning the concept of lab-grown gems into a climate-saving business. If Aether proves that customers are willing to pay a little more for the green alternative, other businesses may be inspired to start making their products a little greener as well.
Aether took “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” very literally.
- The lab-grown diamond startup raised $18 million (led by social justice venture Helena) to ramp up production of making diamonds out of carbon pulled out of the air.
- It does this by powering every aspect of the diamond’s creation through clean energy and pulling “an additional 20 metric tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere per carat it produces.”
- Aether claims that it can turn one ton of captured CO2 into “millions of dollars’ worth of diamonds.”
- The company’s process creates diamonds of a super pure quality — rated Type IIa — that can sell between $4,900 and $10,000.
Here’s how the diamond conjuring process works: The company buys carbon dioxide from a facility in Switzerland, ships it to the U.S., and is then transformed into diamonds in New York through a process called “chemical vapor deposition” over the course of several weeks.
A diamond a year keeps the sky clear
While scientists stress that carbon capture is only one action needed to curb the warming of the planet, Aether’s diamond-making efforts have overreaching benefits.
- It scales up carbon capture as a way for companies to create physical goods — a process that can potentially be applied to many industries.
- The average American has an annual carbon footprint of 16 metric tons, and the purchase of one diamond would cancel out a year of one person’s emissions.
The company just started shipping out diamonds last year, having produced “hundreds of carats” of diamonds last year. It plans to produce thousands more with the new funding