This story was produced for Badger Vibes, our collaboration with the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association.
As the fruition of their own story, jewelers and husband-and-wife duo Soha and Aubree Javaherian hope to brighten couples’ faces during their most special moments by helping them select an ethical expression of their love.
The Javaherians’ journey into the diamond business began when the couple decided to blend their shared passion for jewelry into an environmentally and socially conscious business. Between Soha’s training in gemology — he’s worked at Tiffany and Co. and at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) — and Aubree’s eye for design, the two used their complementary skills to compose elegant pieces of jewelry tied together with lab-grown diamonds.
“A lab-grown diamond is a diamond. It’s real, it’s authentic. It’s chemically and physically identical to [any other] diamond. There is no difference,” Soha says.
The couple’s business, Soha Diamond Company, continues the legacy of a rich family history of jewelers — in fact, Soha marks the 10th generation. He decided to fulfill his calling as a gemologist after receiving a bachelor of arts degree from UW–Madison, where he majored in both economics and languages and cultures of Asia. Now he and Aubree have decided to educate consumers on what Aubree calls “a new way to diamond.”
“I fell in love with the fact that they were real diamonds. They were misunderstood,” Soha says — something to which he, as an Iranian American, can relate.
“I can correlate my life to lab-grown diamonds,” he says. “Just going up to someone and saying, ‘Hi, my name is Soha,’ and them asking, ‘Wait a minute, where are you from?’ ”
Soha says he understands having to explain his origins. Although his entire family was born in Iran, he was born in the United States. Soha only remembers there being about four Iranian families in his native Eau Claire, Wisconsin — including his own.
“I’m used to people having misconceptions and not knowing, so being in a lab and working with lab-grown diamonds, I’m like, ‘Wow, I get it,’ ” he says.
By all definitions, lab-grown diamonds are real diamonds; however, people often have misunderstandings about them because of their origins. The Javaherians want people to know that lab-grown diamonds are environmentally conscious, blood-free, and conflict-free. Soha and Aubree’s business includes educating and empowering their clients throughout the process.
“My favorite [step] is the designing part, speaking to the people that come in,” Aubree says. “When people come in, a lot of times we’re getting to know a more intimate side to people than most people would.”
The process usually begins with an inquiry, and clients typically have an idea of what they want. Then, the Javaherians investigate the type of metals the clients would like and show them renderings of what the final product might look like, all while sourcing materials from ethical origins.
Soha says they affirm and serve all couples who inquire and enjoy teaching people about the different properties of diamonds. He notes that seeing and selecting a diamond on its own is a different experience than selecting one that’s already been placed inside the jewelry.
“I love showing them the gemological side — the fun side — of diamonds,” he says.
No two diamonds are identical. Each has its own unique traits like a fingerprint; however, all diamonds share the same gemological properties, which Soha loves showing clients. When clients enter the studio, the Javaherians explain the four Cs: carat weight, cut, color, and clarity.
Soha and Aubree want people to be a part of the process, whether it’s in person or online, so they walk with their clients each step of the way. Soha adds that some clients will come in feeling a bit hesitant or unsure of what they want, so, in these cases, the couple uses a consultative approach.
“We’re advocates for our customers. We take very great pride in our service,” Soha says.
According to Aubree, about 90 percent of their clients are seeking lab-grown diamonds or gemstones. Other clients are open to lab-grown diamonds, although they’re not specifically seeking them out. Many appreciate the Javaherians’ commitment to an ethical service and product.
“Our clients want to shop local,” Aubree says, adding that clients “want to go out of their way” to meet with them as opposed to visiting a chain store.
The Wisconsin Connection
The Javaherians feel a connection to Wisconsin. Soha and Aubree met while attending high school in Eau Claire, and then they reconnected during their college years. The couple has now been together for about 13 years and married for 3.
After Soha’s stint with GIA in Carlsbad, California, the couple returned to Madison in 2014 to start their own business.
Soha Diamond Co. tells the story of their love and commitment to providing an ethical luxury to clients in their community. With lab-grown diamonds growing in popularity, the Javaherians hope to inform people of how the jewelry involved in their most memorable moments can be free of conflict and inhumane working conditions.
“I don’t think we could have this business anywhere else, and we wouldn’t want to,” Aubree says. “We love Madison. We’re Madisonians.”