Since the rise of diamond engagement rings in 1947, diamonds have become a staple in many women’s jewellery boxes. But while their sparkle is second-to-none, the environmental and ethical impact of the gem has been debated over the past few years. This saw the rise of the lab-grown diamond, a scientifically crafted diamond sharing the same chemical, physical and optical properties as mined diamonds.
These environmentally friendly and ethical diamonds were the inspiration behind Sharon Chan’s jewellery brand, SHAN. “I started SHAN two years ago as I wanted every girl to own a piece of extraordinary jewellery without spending a fortune,” says Chan. Along with their ethical values, lab-grown diamonds are around the third of the price of a natural diamond making luxury jewellery more affordable to everyone. “It makes our dream reachable as the technology improves, we can get bigger and better quality diamonds.”
While Chan has always had a passion for jewellery and design it was the birth of her daughter, Shannon, who gave her the final push to start her own brand, whom she named the brand after. “Shannon is a mini me, passionate, calm and persistent. She knows exactly what she wants and goes for it.” At just two and a half years old, Shannon is already helping Chan match her jewellery with her outfits. For her first birthday, Chan grew her a 1.05 carat diamond to represent her age and her birth month, May.
Taking inspiration from jewellery designer Jean Schlumberger, Chan enjoys designing and playing around with bespoke pieces for her clients, but keeps her everyday collection simple, elegant and chic. “I love the smiles on my clients’ faces when they collect their jewellery. I like to believe that my jewellery has brightened up their day just a little.”
Running a full time business while looking after two young kids was a challenge for Chan, especially during one of the most difficult years economically, but she is grateful that everything fell in her favour and SHAN continues to grow every day. “I think we can all agree that every day is a challenge when you are running your own business, but I enjoy solving problems and embracing challenges. Every time I make a mistake I learn something from it so I’m truly growing with the brand.”
The saying, do something you love and you won’t have to work a day in your life, has been something Chan has followed for years and is proud to have reached a point in her life and career where she feels this way.
Over the next few years Chan hopes to be an advocate for lab-grown diamonds and expand SHAN internationally. “There are no blood diamonds and the entire production process is transparent and safe. We don’t have to hurt our planet to get something beautiful.”