The fast-paced world faced a threat caused by fast-moving fashion that had a colossal effect on the environment. After a lot of introspection, the world is now moving towards adopting sustainable practices. Sustainability is not a passing trend, it's a movement. The pandemic has brought with it new challenges and diverse ways of living. We are re-thinking and re-evaluating our habits and choices. We know that these choices affect our planet every day.

Consumers are willing to invest in fewer but better things. Research shows that with the experience of the lockdown, even more than before, consumers are seeking things that hold meaning, have emotional value, essentially things that last forever. They attach greater personal meaning to every luxury good purchase, and even more so if they are buying something for a loved one. Consumers want to feel more connected to their loved ones, they increasingly seek things which have a personal meaning and convey the depth of their feelings.

Brands are adopting a fundamental shift in what ‘luxury’ means, as consumers become more environmentally and socially aware. Along with this, digital channels have become more important as sources of inspiration and knowledge.

A growing number of environmentally-conscious luxury brands offer high-quality and beautiful pieces that are also sustainably and ethically made. Brands and consumers alike are growing more conscious as to what they purchase and what kind of impact their choices make on the environment. “Gen Z and mid-Millennial consumers are increasingly describing themselves as ‘conscious’, ‘collaborative’, ‘creative’, ‘conversational’—and when they feel justified—openly ‘critical’ and ‘canceling’ of brands that demonstrate poor global citizenry. According to a recent study by Futerra, 79% of Gen Z believe that brands are never honest enough when talking about how environmentally friendly their products are with 66% of millennials believing the same thing.

Equally happy to describe themselves as ‘activists’—for them, this is an upbeat, all-encompassing term that refers to more positive views on everything from race to climate awareness rather than a word used to describe someone who is politically active. Affluent Gen Z and Millennials are also demonstrating very clear views about wealth, affluence and the nature of luxury itself.

The largest natural diamond miners have their own comprehensive sustainability strategy and commitments based on the unique location of their operations, culture and needs of local communities, as well as requirements of regional and national governments. They have gone one step further and created common pledges, which are in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Through these three pledges they define a shared path to ensure a common focus for a greater impact and a lasting legacy for future generations.

Brands are moving towards more ethical and sustainable practices, keeping the environment and people first. As a step towards conscious luxury, consumers are turning to repurpose fashion. One of the best examples of doing so is the passing down of family heirlooms. Natural diamonds are the new heirlooms—they live forever. They are classics that are elegant, versatile, and powerful. Heirlooms have an emotional connection like no other and natural diamonds perfectly represent family legacies and are a reminder of the special moments that the families have had. With the concept of 'New Heirloom', these jewels are a great investment-worthy piece that can be changed with time.

They carry memories, love and yet they can be reset or styled in a manner that is unique to the new generation. They are passed down with affection along with the many stories attached to them. These stories show how the generations before them treasured and cared for these precious works of art and chose to pass down these natural diamonds as a symbol of their love.

Views are personal. The author is Managing Director- India, Natural Diamond Council.

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