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Courbet is the luxury jewelry house that stormed a few years ago the iconic Place Vendôme in Paris. What makes it unique is a strong commitment in favor of sustainability and transparency, two values that co-founders Manuel Mallen and Marie-Ann Wachtmeister first applied to the sourcing of the materials.
Courbet breaks with the jewelry tradition by offering an alternative to earth-mine diamonds and mined gold thanks to innovation and technology. Helped by high technological expertise, Courbet is making itself known for designing the finest laboratory-grown diamonds and recycled gold jewels by offering a new way of thinking about traditional jewelry.
“Creating Courbet with Manuel was a logical continuation of my rich and eclectic entrepreneur path” is how Marie-Ann Wachtmeister introduces the brand. Before landing to the jewelry world, the designer came from different backgrounds. Thanks to the encounter with Manuel Mallen, who learned existence of lab-grown diamonds while he worked for his company Poiray, they then decided to embark on a new adventure, that took the name of Courbet.
Concerned by the continuous lack of resources as well as the traceability of the gems, the co-founders decided to create the brand in reaction to two main observations. “Earth-mined diamonds are the biggest artificial pits on the planet, and there is more gold above the surface of the Earth than below it”.
Its story, though, goes back in time and is linked to the visionary French painter Gustave Courbet, after whom it takes his name. Not only did he revolutionize art in the late 19th century and commit to the favor of peace, but he also participated in the dismantling of the column of the Place Vendôme, which became the home of the brand. Having a company like Tesla as a role model helped enrich the brand, which focuses its identity mainly on technology and a modern approach to business. Thus, the brand is one of the few to accept cryptocurrencies from its customers. “No matter which is your currency, if you are receptive to sustainability and jewelry, Courbet is made for you” – the designer say.
Courbet’s mission is to provide a sustainable alternative to traditional jewelry, through innovative materials and a refreshing philosophy. Giving Place Vendôme a fresh start and making jewelry an example to look at in terms of environmental commitments are the goals of the co-founders, who prove to be very ambitious.
With a specific focus on the products, the co-founders explained how the gems and the recycled gold are processed. Lab-grown diamonds are crafted, using two methods. The first one is called HPHT (High-Pressure High Temperature), which reproduces the natural terrestrial conditions. The second one is the CVD method (Chemical Vapor Deposition), which procreates the conditions in space and meteors. Recycled gold is provided to the brand by a French company qualified in electronic device waste recycling instead. Gold is a material that never alters that can be recycled infinitely, keeping its properties always unchanged.
From a more gemological and technical point of view, Courbet only uses the best. Each diamond, from 0,5 ct, comes with a certificate from an independent and international gemological institute. The label works with the same workshops as other famous houses. That means that the diamonds are cut according to centennial savoir-faire by the best artisans in the world. The Courbet white diamonds are in the three most beautiful colors, while regarding clarity, Courbet only uses VS+ and better. In addition to this, each jewel is only made with 18 carats gold, ensuring the highest jewelry standards.
Keeping these standards in this type of market is not as easy as one might think. On the contrary, it represents a constant challenge for the designers, who claim: "Finding high-quality lab-grown diamonds is way more difficult since the offer is small compared to traditional diamonds. To give a little bit of context, last year, 150 million carats were extracted from mines, when 5 million carats were created in laboratories”.
The Core value of the business is for certain transparency. By doing so, the brand can show its triumphs as well as its imperfections. “Creating beautiful jewelry with ethical diamonds and recycled gold is a thing, but it is not enough.” - the designer state. That is why, Courbet has implemented «Add Goodness to Beauty», the CSR strategy that constantly improves the environmental and sustainable commitment of the brand over the years. The entire team is working on the best steps to make Courbet reliable to its values, at every extent of the value chain.
In response to charity programs that are neither desirable nor successful and that occur for very short periods, the co-founders have decided to introduce the partnership program, called "Let's Commit". Faithful to the values of preservation and social responsibility of the brand, the permanent collection is composed of affordable and colorful bracelets, made of recycled polyester. Each of them carries a beautiful lab-grown diamond circled by recycled gold, following the house’s trademark. Additionally, Courbet has given its customers the choice to donate and venture between six current environmental and social issues, instead of electing just one organization.
Moreover, every day is a celebration for the brand, which continues to quickly grow, by drawing the attention of many customers to laboratory-grown diamonds reality. As for the future, we can imagine a blossoming one when we see the brand's unique jewellery on French film icon Isabelle Adjani on the May cover of Elle. And who knows what else awaits us...