Richard S. Garard, the secretary general of the International Grown Diamond Association, an umbrella organization for the lab-grown diamond industry launched earlier this month, answers questions from JCK's Rob Bates on the goals of the group. Among the issues are "properly representing the grown diamond industry, being clear about the properties, the material itself, and to help grow the industry". He said lab-grown diamonds are an "add-on market for the industry. For the foreseeable future, we are a small portion of diamond output. I don’t think we are going to replaced mined diamonds, but consumers will have a choice over whether they want a mine-grown diamond or lab-grown diamond."
The new group will be focused on both the gem and industrial markets. "Most of our members are currently pursuing the gem business. But that is because there is a market there. Going forward [when natural supply declines], there will a void that needs to be filled. There is also significant potential in the industrial and scientific markets. We will do both, certainly. The initial market, the gem industry, is where most of our companies are." In addition, Garard talks about the criteria for other producers to join the body and the terminology it uses as well as the apparent domination of the new trade group by IIa Technologies. He concludes with comments on a question that the relationship between the natural and mined diamond industries appears
be an adversarial. "I hope it’s not adversarial. I don’t think the lab-grown market will ever replace the mined diamond market. When the mined diamond supply goes down, we hope that lab-growns fill some of that void. We intend to coexist, but we want to do it on an equal playing field."