Positive (Luxury) Week: Natural Diamonds More Transparent than Synthetics

05/10/2017 19:00

At the start of Positive Week, an initiative run by Positive Luxury to encourage environmental practises in business, Jo Blake, head of communications at De Beers' brand Forevermark, argued that the regulations that govern diamond mining allow the practice to be more eco-friendly and sustainable than synthetic diamonds, which are hardly regulated at all. “The [synthetics] industry is not particularly regulated in comparison to the natural diamond mining," she said. "We go through an incredible amount of legislation and regulation at De Beers which is not applied to synthetics.”

Blake argues that the regulations imposed on diamond mining allow natural diamonds to offer consumers a more trustworthy product compared to lab-grown pieces. “In terms of consumer confidence in that product, we are incredibly transparent; that’s less so with synthetic. So when we talk about what consumers are looking for, can they really at this moment in time trust a synthetic?” Forevermark is one of many natural diamond purveyors ramping up projects and policies to deliver responsibly-sourced diamonds that can be tracked from mine to store, not to mention major industry-wide initiatives such as the Responsible Jewellery Council, which conducts strict monitoring and auditing of its more than 1,000 members along the jewelry supply chain - from mine to finger - that adhere to a rigorous code of practices.

At the same event, jeweler Stephen Webster was said to have argued for the sustainability of synthetic diamonds, though he does not use them in any of his collections. Webster told Professional Jeweller: “I’m in favour of it [lab-grown diamonds]. I, personally at the moment, don’t use them, but that’s not because I want them to go away. I actually think they will become more and more ... a consideration, but it has also got to be completely transparent so they’re not confused [with natural diamonds]" ... an argument the natural diamond industry has been emphasizing for a good while now, namely: synthetics are not bad in principle, provided they are regulated and disclosed as such, which they all-too-often are not. “It’s going to be a very slow process but I am all for it in principle," Webster said, "because it’s something that doesn’t need to come out of the ground."