In April 2017, a symposium called, “Synthetic Diamonds: Are Watchmaking and Jewelry in Danger?” was held in Geneva, specifically to address the issue of synthetic diamonds in the domain of watchmaking and how it is possible to differentiate natural from lab-grown stones. In this video, The Watches TV’s Marc-André Deschoux says, "It's a question of authenticity." Developments over the past ten years have led to the critical point where the price of synthetic diamonds fell below that of natural diamonds, increasing the incentive for less-than-well-intentioned people to mix man-made simulants with natural diamonds. The risk increases significantly when it comes to melee diamonds, and has the watch industry - and ultimately consumers - worried.
Diamond Producers Association CEO Jean-Marc Lieberherr says, "The worst thing that can happen is that people lose confidence in diamond because they are not entirely sure that the product they are buying is what they think they're buying. That is the number one challenge." Dr. Philip Martineau, Head of Physics at De Beers Research Centre, says, "Consumers should be able to buy what they want without fear of things being misrepresented. What we are seeing is synthetic diamond prices falling very rapidly, and the price differential between natural and synthetic is growing very rapidly. That will increase the incentive for dishonest people to try to sell synthetic diamonds as though they are natural. To counteract that we have to develop very cost-effective technology that can test to stones and protect the consumer."
The conference was attended by leading representatives from the Association Romande des Métiers de la Bijouterie (ASEMBI), the diamond department of the Swiss Gemological Institute (SSEF), GGTL Laboratories in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Gemological Institute of America, Diamond Producers Association, the Responsible Jewellery Council, the Société Suisse de Gemmologie (SSG) and the Union Française de la Bijouterie, Joaillerie, Orfèvrerie, des Pierres et Perles.