2018: A Year in Review - A Message From Our CEO

Article by Anna-Mieke

Looking back over the past year, I can’t believe how much we’ve been able to accomplish as a foundation, a business and as an industry. We are doing things today that I only dreamt of doing 14 years ago. Lab-grown diamonds are taking center stage and I could not be more excited to see where our industry is headed.

The Greener Diamond (TGD)

TGD continues to be the driving force for all that we do at MiaDonna. I’m continually humbled by my conversations with the women and children we empower in diamond mining communities. Through the support of people purchasing conflict-free jewelry at MiaDonna, we are able to continue empowering communities to live a life free of diamond mining and become sustainable by learning new skills in different trades, including how to grow crops.

At MiaDonna, we commit to giving back at least 5% of our profits to TGD. I’m thrilled to share that, just like last year, we donated approximately 20% of our profits to this worthy cause. When I started this company, I envisioned a system where we could sustain the efforts of the foundation while giving consumers an opportunity to choose beautiful, conflict-free fine jewelry. I will forever be indebted to you for enabling us to surpass our original goals and vision, and for allowing us to change the lives of even more innocent families in diamond mining communities.

I’m excited to head back to Africa next year to personally follow up on our projects and speak to the people in these communities. Hearing their stories and seeing how they are escaping a life of mining and extreme poverty is what motivates me each day. I’m excited to come back and share with you all the wonderful experiences and photographs we capture.

The Lab-Grown Diamond Industry

It’s no secret that we’ve been navigating the constraints placed on us by the “good ‘ol boys club” of the earth-mined diamond industry since our inception. MiaDonna was one of the first lab-grown diamond retailers and I have always been a huge advocate for this technology as it represents a more ethical diamond industry. Being one of the few leading women in the diamond industry, it hasn’t been an easy road... They have spent the last decade trying to sue me, intimidate me and stop the popularity of lab-grown diamonds.

However, we had a huge victory in August 2017, when the FTC updated their guidelines to reflect that there is no difference between lab-grown and earth-mined diamonds, and they lifted limitations put on the terms we are allowed to use when marketing our diamonds and gems.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) no longer defines a "diamond" by using the term "natural" because it is no longer accurate to define diamonds as "natural" when it is now possible to create products that have essentially the same optical, physical, and chemical properties as mined diamonds."

In the revised FTC Guides, the Commission cautions marketers that it would be deceptive to use the terms "real," "genuine," "natural," or "synthetic" to imply that a lab-grown diamond is not, in fact, an actual diamond.

You can learn more here.

Furthermore, De Beers, who has continually tried to prevent us from selling lab-grown diamonds, and has belittled and degraded them by calling them fake, synthetic and artificial, announced they will begin selling lab-grown diamonds. This move did not come as a shock to me since they’ve been growing diamond for their industrial line for years. The surprise to me was they built their lab just down the street from us in Portland, OR. Something tells me this isn’t a coincidence. You can learn more about this development and my reaction to it here.

MiaDonna

This has been a phenomenal year for us at MiaDonna. I always knew lab-created diamonds would become mainstream, and now with the backing of the FTC and with earth-mined diamond companies coming on board, we are finally there. As the leader in this industry, we are riding the wave and celebrating the growth it is bringing us. We were honored for a fifth time as one of Portland’s Fastest Growing Companies. In fact, we’ve grown so much over the past year, we will be moving into a new, much larger space in Spring 2019. In addition, we’ll be adding more staff so we can continue to provide you with the best customer service possible.

We are also excited to debut four new collections next year. These are some of the best, most unique designs we’ve developed, and I can’t wait to share them with you.

As our company and foundation grow, I find myself being called upon for even more interviews and being featured in some of the most notable publications and media. While I love talking about diamond science and technology, my true passion is inspiring future entrepreneurs and women to be the best versions of themselves. 

I came into this industry knowing nothing. I had no support from a spouse or family. I had no money and no formal education on the subject. But, what I did have, was courage and compassion and that’s what I needed to lead this new era in the diamond industry.  

I didn’t just start a business, I had to start a new industry while going up against the world’s most corrupt corporations and I did it while I was pregnant and with a baby on my lap. I’m extremely proud of how much we’ve accomplished, and I am eager to share the full story with the world in 2019. My goal is to inspire the next generation of change-makers to kick ass and lead with their heart. To learn more and to accompany me on this adventure, please follow my Instagram page @AnnaMiekeAnderson.

To help you kick off an amazing 2019, I’m doing several giveaways starting in mid-January, encouraging you to set positive intentions for the new year. Head over and follow @AnnaMiekeAnderson to ensure you don’t miss any of the exciting details on how to enter.

Left to Right: Tyler, Anna-Mieke, and Mia-Donna Anderson

Wishing you all love and prosperity in 2019, from our family to yours!

Anna-Mieke Anderson