World Diamond Mark Foundation Chairman and CEO Alex Popov says the recent decision of actor Leonardo DiCaprio and other celebrities to invest in the synthetic diamond manufacturer Diamond Foundry is justified in some respects in an article published by GemKonnect, praising it as "an excellent PR and self-promotion decision and I salute their agents’ sophistication and vision." He said the response of the natural diamond industry was "defensive at best and hysterical at worst, although JCK's Rob Bates wrote an excellent open letter which was logical and raised important issues. "I’m with you, Rob and so are most of the others in the industry."
Popov, who is also the president of the Moscow Diamond Bourse, claims that "our industry has become irrelevant in the real world. In its eyes we are at best the shadowy servants of some big spenders, who themselves are often of dubious background, and at worst — dishonest back-stabbing pedlars capable of all possible sins, from exploiting ethnic cleansing and terrorism to mixing synthetic and real products for profit. So why should DiCaprio listen to us? Why should he refuse a perfectly sound, clean and potentially profitable offer and associate himself instead with 'those fellows'? Put yourself in his place and give an honest answer."
However, Popov says there is good news for the natural mined diamond trade. The investment of $100 million by serious people in a serious venture "means that that they will not engage in all sorts of cheating, mixing and other unsavory activities and that it will lead to technology improvements and production expansion, "making synthetic diamonds cheaper in the long run" and creating a level field for competition "where we are certain to win if we play it right."