“Nights” singer Frank Ocean can now add luxury jeweler to his list of hits.
The 33-year-old Grammy award winner has launched Homer, a line of sustainable jewelry featuring lab-grown diamonds and upcycled metals.
According to Ocean, Homer draws on his “childhood obsessions” and the relationship between nature and technology. The range features 18 karat gold, recycled sterling silver, hand-painted enamel, and American lab-grown diamonds.
“My mother was into jewelry, but in a low-key Princess Diana kind of way,” Ocean said in a statement about the launch. “My godfather was into guns, but he was also into cars, and he bought luxury-lifestyle magazines, which I became obsessed with. They became a form of play for me as a child. It was the furthest thing from my actual life at the time, and I began plotting ideas and a life in that universe,” he said.
Ocean says he took the name Homer from the Greek poet, born in 750 BC. Homer is best known as the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey.
“Homer is considered the father of history and history is meant to endure – the same as diamonds and gold – and I know Homer used papyrus, but I’ve always liked the idea of carving history into stone,” Ocean said.
The jewelry collection features chain trinkets in alien shapes, and curved rings that read “A-OK”. Made in Italy, the collection launches on August 9th at a pop-up store in New York City. Items can be purchased in person or over the phone.
Indistinguishable to the naked eye when compared with mined diamonds, lab-grown diamonds rely on emerging techniques seen across food and fashion with lab-grown bio-identical meat and dairy—a process similar to making yogurt or brewing beer. Lab-grown diamonds are less intensive on the land, require fewer resources, and there’s no child labor involved. These carbon-based diamonds are held to the same standards as mined gems in terms of cut, color, clarity, and carat.
Earlier this year, supermodel Ashley Graham launched a lab-grown diamond collection with Pandora.
“Making sustainable jewellery and fashion choices is such a simple, yet important way, we can all make a positive difference,” Graham told Bustle. “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.”
Child Labor in Diamond Mining
A report published last December by the International Peace Information Services found an increase of 50 percent in children working in more than 100 different mines across the Central African Republic. But the numbers could be higher as many of the mines are guarded by armed militia who control more than 60 percent of the country.
And while diamonds typically come with a hefty price tag at retail, diamond mining doesn’t pay well for most of the workers, especially the children, some of whom make little more than the equivalent of one meal a day. They spend their days digging or polishing for little pay, which keeps most of the industry workers well below the poverty line.
For Graham, diamonds are a natural extension of the sustainable ethos she’s now embracing in all facets of her life—from her wardrobe to her use of plastic to generally consuming less.
“Definitely think twice about whether you really need something,” she told Haper’s Bazaar recently. You might see an item in a store or online that you really want and have an urge to get it, but being more sustainable to me is about only buying things that you genuinely love and treasure,” she said. “When you’re shopping online, some companies will have pop-up windows that say, ‘Hurry, you only have 10 minutes to buy this’, but don’t give in to that pressure. If you’re only buying it because time is running out, you didn’t really want it in the first place.”
Homer x Prada
Ocean’s Homer is also developing a collaboration with Italian luxury fashion label, Prada.
In 2019, Prada became one of 32 fashion brands to sign onto the G7’s Fashion Pact. It’s centered on three sustainability targets: eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, innovate a way to eliminate all micro-fiber plastic pollution, and reduce single-use plastic by 2030.
Shortly after the G7 summit, the luxury label signed the industry’s first sustainability loan for €50 million. Earlier this year it’s signed its third sustainability-linked loan for €90 million to help further its sustainability targets.
Prada’s push into sustainability builds on its recent fundraising of more than €90 million to reach targets that include eliminating greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, eliminating all micro-fiber plastic pollution, and reducing single-use plastic by 2030.
“Sustainability, as a value, is now universally recognized and shared, also by the financial industry,” Prada’s chief financial officer Alessandra Cozzani said in a statement in February. “For us and for all companies, this results in an important stimulus to achieve increasingly ambitious goals toward a sustainable economy. We are proud to be among the first players in the luxury sector to have embarked on this path and to be considered a reference counterpart in the field today.”
The first items up in the Homer x Prada collection include a range of bags and a hooded anorak.
The Homer jewelry collection comes to 70-74 Bowery in New York City on August 9th.
Read more: Bvlgari Says It’s Time to Erase the Line Between Sustainability And Luxury