Fashion

Ashley Graham Shares The Brilliance Of Lab Diamonds

“Making sustainable jewellery choices is such a simple, yet important way, we can all make a positive difference.”

Ashley Graham models the Pandora Brilliance Collection
Pandora

Yes it’s engagement season, but do we really need an excuse to gift (or self gift) diamonds? Ashley Graham – model, industry game-changer and the face of Pandora’s brand new, lab-created diamond collection – would argue not at all! “The range is affordable and accessible for everyone,” she tells Bustle. “Pandora is bringing high quality diamond jewellery to women everywhere.”

The new collection, Pandora Brilliance, is exciting on several counts; not only are the pieces far more affordable than you’d expect, they showcases sustainably created lab diamonds, meaning you can wear them guilt-free. It’s important to note that lab diamonds have the same properties as those that are mined, and are held to the same jeweller’s standards of cut, colour, clarity, and carat. In short, as the collection’s title implies, they’re brilliant.

For Graham, this has been an exciting project to get involved with, and one she believes will help to democratise diamonds. “Making sustainable jewellery and fashion choices is such a simple, yet important way, we can all make a positive difference,” she says. “I love the empowering message of this collection. To me, the products symbolise infinite possibilities and growth, and the belief that we all have the strength within us to transform our lives. I also love how Pandora is making diamond jewellery more accessible for everyday wear.”

Sustainability and symbolism aside, the collection is a celebration contemporary classics. Prices start from £250, and styles include elegantly simple studs, bangles, necklaces, and rings in sterling silver, and 14K yellow or white gold. Graham’s favourite? “It’s hard to choose, but I think the earrings are my favourite. I am such an earring girl.”

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The shoot day was also a highlight, she says. “Being on set with the team was so fun. Especially in the past year when we haven’t had many reasons to get dressed up, it was really exciting to see all the jewellery in person, and get to create amazing looks together.”

Ahead of the collection launch — on May 6 at uk.pandora.net — I wanted to get Graham’s take; and what better way to do so than a jewellery quick-fire round. Here, she reveals her go-to pieces, the cute story behind her wedding ring, and her top jewellery layering tips.

Gold or silver jewellery?

Gold, hands down.

What is the one piece of jewellery you never take off?

My earrings, and my wedding ring.

If you could only wear one type of jewellery for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Earrings. I love to load up the earrings!

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First piece of jewellery you remember treasuring?

We had purity rings growing up, and that was a big deal in our house. Then, when I got older, there was a necklace I bought after a really bad breakup, to remember my worth.

How do you wear your rings?

I do love a stacked moment; my wedding ring is actually a stack. Justin [Graham’s husband] had it custom made at a local jewellery place in Brooklyn where we lived at the time, and every five years he has upgraded it in some way. Last year, we celebrated 10 years, so he took me on a hike, and presented me with a bigger diamond for one of the clusters.

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Do you layer your necklaces – if so, top tips?

I like it to be a bit messy on my neck! Sometimes it’s fun to have dainty sweet layers, and then other times I really just go for it, and keep adding to a point where it makes no sense! My top layering tip is this: it’s really about adding everything then subtracting; if there’s one straggler that’s hanging down, and it’s not necessary, take it off.

How do you store your jewellery while you’re on the go, modelling and travelling?

I have a little empty Altoids [American mints] box from years ago, and I put all my little earrings in there, because they are so tiny, and there are so many of them. In fact, a friend recently had an Altoids box custom-made for me, which says ‘AG’ on it.

How do you store your jewellery at home?

My jewellery is all out on hooks at home, because if I don’t see it, I forget about it!

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Shop Pandora Brilliance online from May 6.