Celebrating Botswana Natural Diamonds With Ten Ten
Botswana is a model for the sustainable and ethical future of natural diamonds. We meet the ten designers supporting Botswana Natural Diamonds with the Ten Ten Collection for Blue Nile.
Purchasing an engagement ring is always a big decision. Making that decision a responsible and ethical one has never been more important. Luckily your choice of diamond rings is huge, ranging from lab grown diamonds, to recycled, vintage and ethically sourced natural diamonds. So choosing the stone that suits your ethics is easier than ever. The natural diamond industry in Botswana is a shining example (excuse the pun) of how responsible mining can create a positive social impact. Since finding diamonds in 1967, the story of development in the country has been a positive one. Careful reinvestment of money from the industry back into the country has helped it thrive. People, specifically women are placed at the centre of operations. You can learn more about Natural Diamond Councils work with brands in Botswana by listening to Style With Substance. Indeed, when Eco Age founder Livia Firth travelled to Botswana, she was inspired by the diamond industry there and the people that she met.
However, diamonds are expensive, and finding ethically sourced, conflict free diamonds is not a cheap endeavour. Ten Ten is a project by Blue Nile, supported by De Beers, which seeks to highlight the importance of women in the jewellery and diamond industries, while at the same time providing Botswana diamonds at accessible price points. Ten designers have been chosen for their responsible sourcing methods to create a ring using a Botswana natural diamond. Each independent female designer has bought their own unique vision to the stone, creating a timeless collection for any kind of love. While it remains a traditional symbol of commitment, the ring is also an extraordinary symbol of togetherness. Catherine Sarr, designer of ALMASIKA says, “there’s an evolution of how people show love and commitment but I believe jewellery is a marker of memories and the tradition coming from Ancient Egypt of adorning the Vena Amoris finger is a romantic idea that I fully embrace.”
Ten Female Designers Design Ten Engagement Rings
Lola Oladunjoye creates jewellery inspired by her West African Yoruba heritage. Drawing on African and European culture (she was born in London and is now based in Paris) Lola’s pieces are explorations of themes including history, architecture and mythology. Using recycled materials and ethical stones, Lola is no stranger to responsible sourcing. So she was excited to work with Ten Ten and to be “involved with this project is being able to shine a light on the economic liberation story of the De Beers partnership with Botswana.” For the collection she designed a beaded band in gold, that links back to the bezel set diamond.
With an artistic but sensual sensibility, Wing Yau is a fine jeweller for the 21st century. Her use of responsibly sourced materials and care for her supply chain is something we love to see. The commitment piece she created for Ten Ten incorporates all of these passions, with the end result being something thoughtful and hopeful. Comprised of two rings, one delicate band, set with the diamond and placed upon a thicker, heavier one. “One is delicate and ethereal, the other is heavy and grounded,” says Yau. “That’s the way that love should make you feel.”
The Mexican born artist began making jewellery for herself as an extension of her background in sculpture. Over the years her line has grown to include talismans that carry great power for the people she designs for. She is well known as being a ‘recycler and re-appropriator’ of her patron’s old diamonds. Giving them a new lease of life in her gold pieces, she adds words to make each piece unique to the wearer. For Ten Ten, she has scaled down one of her popular bezel set rings to include a beautiful natural diamond. The word ‘Love’ is engraved in the back of the bezel, making the ring a truly special symbol of devotion.
With her off beat brand of relaxed jewellery, Pamela Love bought a boho luxury to her collaboration with Ten Ten. Concentrating on ancient symbols of love, she designed this incredible twisted band in gold. The ring itself represents a weaving of lives, “the coming together of souls.” As a designer concerned with the traceability of her materials, Love looks to recycled metals and ethically mined stones. Therefore she was excited to partner with Blue Nile. “If we are taking these precious materials out of the earth, it had better be for a good reason, and we had better do well by the people extracting them for us.”
Catherine Sarr’s obsession with the natural form of the body informs her collections. The pieces she creates for her label ALMASIKA are sculptural but organic. This theme has been carried over to the ring she has created for Ten Ten, seen in the undulating lines that support the floating bezel set diamond. Catherine takes pride in her responsible approach to materials, all of her diamonds are conflict free. “A responsible value chain has been at a core of ALMASIKA since our inception,” she says. So naturally she jumped at the chance of contributing to the Ten Ten collection using Botswana diamonds.
If you find yourself turned off by a traditional engagement ring style, then Harwell Godfrey’s addition is probably for you. Lauren Harwell Godfrey began making jewellery as a hobby, and with encouragement from friends and family, she created her own label. Harwell Godfrey works mainly with precious stones and enamel inlay, a style she has recreated for Ten Ten. The hexagonal setting and mother of pearl ‘halo’ amplifies the diamond’s sparkle. Speaking of her collaboration with Blue Nile she said, ‘as a person of African heritage, I love the idea of helping people from a country where diamonds have contributed to a culture and set up its people.’
For those seeking a ring that holds a special secret, Marla Aaron is the designer to go to. Her unique collection of locking jewels has grown a huge worldwide following, not least because of the accessible price points. A collaboration with Blue Nile was a natural choice. A way for Marla to extend her magical locking designs to a new audience. Unlike her other designs, this ring is centred around the stone, it’s here that the ring opens up to reveal two halves and engraved lettering inside. While on the face, it may seem to be a traditional style, the secret it holds helps the wearer to feel a little bit special.
A native New Yorker, Michelle Fantaci knows a thing or two about effortless elegance. Her collections have a style of their own, a unique mixture of vintage touches and modern lines. Coupled of course with impeccable stones. “The more that I know about the [mining] process, that’s where I want to invest the money, the time, to strengthen those places,” she explained of her work with the diamonds from Botswana. Her contribution to the Ten Ten collection isn’t at first glance an engagement ring. Her use of a less than traditional star shape is complemented with vintage etchings, all designed to emphasise the diamond.
Bea is a designer with a passion for colour and flair, so she wasn’t about to design a plain engagement ring for this collection. In her quest to challenge the traditional connotation of huge celebrity engagement rings Bea has designed a delicate, nuanced piece. It’s really two rings in one. A white enamel top piece snakes, vine like, across a diamond set into a classic gold band. It can be removed, leaving the simple diamond, or stacked together to create something more unexpected.
Their collaboration with Ten Ten comes at a pivotal times for Platt Boutique. The LA based antique jewellery treasure trove has been around since 2005. The founders, brother and sister duo Larry and Natasha know beautiful jewellery inside and out. They stock pieces from over 100 years ago, however nothing looks dated. As part of their new ‘Bespoke by Platt’ range, they have collaborated with Ten Ten to create a vintage feeling engagement ring. Beautiful in it’s simplicity, it has an elegance that encapsulates Platt’s unique jewellery knowledge. Sitting on 12 prongs, the oval shaped diamond is front and centre, placed on a sublimely made gold band.
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Disclaimer: The people and models in the images featured are not associated with The Vendeur and do not endorse it or the products shown. This post may contain affiliate links. Prices correct at time of publishing. This post was made possible by Ten Ten, we did not recieve payment for this piece.