Sparkle and Shine

Everything you need to know about conflict-free lab-created diamonds

Photo courtesy of Clean Origin

Engagement season is in full swing, but even if you're not shopping for a sparkler to put on your beloved's ring finger, you might be in the market for gorgeous diamond earrings, bracelets, or a necklace.

In either case, have you considered lab-created diamonds? Lab-grown diamonds are chemically identical to mined diamonds, and look the same to the naked eye, even to a professional.

They're also the only way to know that your diamond jewelry is 100-percent ethically sourced and not contributing to the social and environmental destruction caused by the mining industry.

"The mining industry causes rapid deforestation, displaces communities (including Indigenous peoples), and harms biodiversity," says Clean Origin co-founder Alexander Weindling. "In 2021, mining companies used 126 gallons of water per carat mined."

Weindling, a third-generation diamond jeweler, started Clean Origin in 2017 with Ryan Bonifacino, combining more than 200 years of diamond expertise with modern, ethical practices. They exclusively sell 100-percent conflict-free, lab-grown diamonds and, when possible, recycled precious metals.

What started out as an online-only company now has showrooms in Houston, Dallas, and Columbus, Ohio, with locations opening soon in Chicago, Southern California, and Northern Virginia.

Customers can meet a qualified jewelry consultant and explore engagement rings, wedding bands, earrings, necklaces, tennis bracelets, and fashion jewelry.

They can also learn how lab-grown diamonds are created just like natural diamonds, using technology that mimics the heat and pressure created by the earth’s crust. These diamonds still have variations like mined diamonds — not all lab-grown diamonds are perfect — and are still measured with the 4 Cs:

  • Cut: how the diamond refracts light. Note: This is different from shape, which refers to the diamond’s physical shape (such as oval, round, etc.).
  • Color: the hue or tint of the diamond.
  • Clarity: the measure of internal or external imperfections.
  • Carat: the weight of the diamond.

All of Clean Origin's diamonds are independently certified to ensure they are of the highest quality.

Some other perks of shopping with Clean Origin include a generous 100-day return policy and free resizing for engagement rings, and all orders include complimentary expedited shipping to ensure your jewelry arrives swiftly and safely.

Clean Origin’s online ring builder helps you envision your or your partner’s dream engagement ring. If you’re just beginning the diamond buying process, schedule a free virtual appointment with one of their qualified jewelry consultants, who will talk you through the process and answer any questions you have about the selection.

And here's the kicker: lab-grown diamonds can be anywhere from 20-40 percent less expensive than mined stones, meaning you can get more wow factor for way less. What's not to love about that?

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Building Houston

 
 

CodeLaunch, which pairs startups with software consultants, is returning to Houston this spring. Photo via codelaunch.com

A traveling seed-stage accelerator has announced its return to Houston and named its second cohort.

CodeLaunch, produced by Dallas-based constant and software development company Improving and presented by Ohio-based VC network Cyrannus, is returning to Houston. The company's second Houston accelerator event will be held on March 2.

Putting a fresh spin on the seed accelerator model, CodeLaunch combines a startup competition with a tech tradeshow, as well as allows for networking among attendees. Since its inception ten years ago, the touring competition has doled out over $1.4 million in services to its finalists and overall winners.

"CodeLaunch is a startup and rock-n-roll show like nothing you've ever seen before," says CodeLaunch President and Founder Jason W. Taylor in a news release.

The competition pairs six startups with six startup consulting companies. This year's finalists and mentor pairings are as follows:

  • Lake Charles, Louisiana-based GOPHR's consultant mentor is Softeq
  • Port Arthur, Texas-based DrinKicks is paired with BJSS
  • Energy360, based in Houston, has been matched with Honeycomb Software
  • Inpathy, based in Detroit and Tyler, Texas, will work with Contollo
  • Drivingo, led by a student founder from Virginia Tech, is selected to collaborate with Blue People
  • Houston-based AnyShift's consultant mentor is Improving

Houston-based Softeq is returning to the event after working with software startup Codiac.

“CodeLaunch was great. We gained customers, investors, and a lot of local notoriety. It was the best event we had all last year," says Ben Ghazi, founder of Codiac about the event.

ResQ TRX, a Houston startup that provides solutions for the logistics industry, won CodeLaunch HOU 2022. Houston-based Clutch won Judges' Choice in last year's competition.

This year, investment is also on the line. Presenting partner Cyrannus announced that all startup founders who advance to the semifinal round of CodeLaunch will be competing in a $100,000 investment challenge, as well as the $50,000 challenge for impact startups. There would be one or two winners — either a winner for each award or, if a company scores top marks in both categories, one company can take home the entire $150,000.

“Not only will (a winner) get the cash, but also be introduced to a network that will help them refine their idea and get ready for their first big fundraiser," says Lee Mosbacker, founder of Cyrannus, in a news release.

This year's CodeLaunch event will be a part of Houston Tech Rodeo, which is taking place February 27 to March 2 this year. Tech Rodeo, which announced its schedule this week, will conclude its programming with the CodeLaunch event.

"Houston Exponential could not be more excited about our partnership with CodeLaunch Houston," says Houston Exponential CEO Natara Branch in the release. "They are a fantastic ally in Houston’s efforts to serve its growing startup community and CodeLaunch is an incredible fit for the capstone of the 2022 Tech Rodeo. Finishing off Tech Rodeo with CodeLaunch's exciting atmosphere will be a highly anticipated event for the Houston innovation ecosystem after an engaging week of programming."

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