Neuhaus and Wares grew up together in Antwerp, also known as the diamond capital of the world and with family members working in the trade too. In London, they became conscious of their purchases and were frustrated by the lack of sustainability.
Kimai was born in 2018 after the two saw scope to create a brand with a transparent supply chain and ethically sourced diamonds – this they believed, would appeal to a younger shopper that had previously been overlooked by the industry.
Diamonds are entirely made up of carbon in a high pressure and temperature environment. Traditionally, they are mined from the ground where they’ve formed over centuries. Thanks to today’s technology, lab-grown methods provide identical results, and without the negative impacts.
We dug deep (pun not intended) and discussed the negative social and detrimental themes concerning mining, “There are many different issues…the first one would be the social impact of mining. There are a lot of children working in mines, and a lot of them (companies) that sponsor wars in Africa too. We need to dig deeper and deeper in order to get better diamonds which means we’re leaving huge holes on earth. This also means entire communities have had to relocate that live around those mines as well.’
Plus, a diamond often exchanges hands 20 times after being mined, with so many middlemen, it’s usually impossible to trace where exactly it came from and under what conditions it was pulled from the earth.
Kimai was founded in 2018 as a modern jewellery brand channelling the founder’s heritage while also delivering on true traceability. Using lab diamonds, which are physically and chemically identical and recycled gold, Kimai cut out mines and the middlemen for a sustainable process from design to delivery.
Kimai means sustainability in Hebrew.
The founders suggest when wearing a particular item of clothing, you should make a tick or mark on the care label to show that you’re re-using the piece again and again.
Watch the Explained episode on diamonds here.