The Zing Report: You’ve become known for the Maya cut diamond. Can you tell us why you were compelled to create it?
Olga Pekarevskaia: Triangular-shaped diamonds do occur in nature, but they only equate to 5% of the global market, and only 1% of those are of good quality. We use that special 1%, and have refined our production methods to make the diamonds as ethical and sustainable as possible. This will naturally be an ongoing process in itself, as we trial new technologies and techniques.
We do re-cut and re-shape trillions into the ‘Maya cut’ if they are of poor quality, to give them a new lease of life. We also up-cycle other stones that haven’t been used for a long time. With the Maya cut itself, I wanted to create something that is unique and high quality, but doesn’t cost the earth, in more ways than one.
We love the fact that you’re interested in working with recycled materials. Why is this a priority for you?
Many industries have fallen into a take-make-dispose model, so in addition to up-cycling unused, unwanted stones, we also want to experiment with recyclable materials, whether that’s metals, or things like leathers and plastics. Our goal with this is to help limit the impact our industry has on the planet; we want to take less, and re-use more.
Plus, I think it’s pretty cool to be wearing something that’s had a totally different life previously. There are brands that make clothes from discarded plastics, so why not jewelry—science has already proven that it can be done!
We’ve heard you have experimented with lab-grown and synthetic gems. Can you describe those endeavors?
We’ve been experimenting with synthetic stones for a little while, and are considering launching a full collection with lab-grown diamonds in our signature Maya cut next year. They’re visually, chemically, and physically identical to natural diamonds, but they cost much less.
Let’s talk about plastic. How do you plan to work with it moving forward, and what is it about the material that you think will work well for your collection?
Science has shown that nano-diamonds can be made from polystyrene and PET plastics—the latter aren’t your heavy, hardwearing plastics that can easily be made into something else, but your fizzy drink bottles and takeaway containers. The items that are very literally polluting the earth, and what an amazing way to recycle them.
Scientists are using PET plastics because they have a good balance of not only carbon and hydrogen, but also oxygen, making it a closer chemical match to the ice giant planets which produce “diamond rain.” We’re a little way off with our own research into plastics and nano-diamonds, but we definitely want to see what is possible in the not-too-distant future.
Top: The Maya cut on paper (all photos courtesy Maya Gemstones)