This past Monday, the JCK Las Vegas show and jewelry week surrounding it came to its conclusion with steady trading reflecting a confident US market, despite a significant dip in the number of exhibitors and foot traffic at the various shows. The exhibitors and organizers acknowledged the decline of visitors, but were adamant that those attending the events headed out to the desert with a greater sense of purpose than in prior years, as buyers were looking for specific goods and exhibitors were maintaining existing relationships.
“We are not planning to change our strategy, integrate in the new market (synthetic product market) and launch our own synthetic production, or sell lab-grown diamonds. It is obvious that ALROSA as a diamond producer and one of the founders of Diamond Producers Association (DPA) hopes that this initiative will lead to differentiation of diamonds and synthetic stones, underlining the status of synthetics as a distinct low-price product.
De Beers this morning dropped a bomb on the diamond jewelry world with the announcement that they are launching a new brand of fashion jewelery containing laboratory-grown diamonds (LGDs). Called Lightbox Jewelry, the new brand will offer consumers LGDs in high quality designs for casual, everyday occasions at lower prices than existing LGD offerings. "Lightbox will bring something entirely new and innovative to LGDs, by combining colour and sparkle in fashion jewellery, and at very accessible retail prices", the miner writes in a document sent to stakeholders.
It will be very difficult for lab-diamond manufacturers to protect price as production processes and economics improve. Ultimately, this will result in lab-diamonds becoming more of their own separate product class, maybe not in the realm of 'fashion jewelry', but their own, completely distinct product class from natural diamonds. Lab-diamond companies that build a very strong brand through marketing or proprietary jewellery design will be less susceptible to price pressure ... Price is a lab-created diamond’s greatest advantage over a natural equivalent.
ALROSA has introduced its long anticipated commercial detector for identifying natural and synthetic polished diamonds - the ALROSA Diamond Inspector, first introduced in 2016. The Company expects that its relatively low price ($9,900) and high accuracy will allow the detector to be in demand in Russia as well as abroad. "It will help fight unscrupulous suppliers who mix synthetic stones grown in the laboratory with diamonds of natural origin", the companys says.
Independent diamond-industry analyst Paul Zimnisky turns his attention to synthetic diamonds, noting that the price gap between diamonds and laboratory-grown gems has widened by an average of approximately 100% in the past year - doubling from 11-20% a year ago to 28-40% today, according to a survey of prices.
Diamonds and other precious stones forming part of a Czech National Museum collection in Prague, assumed to be worth millions of dollars, were discovered during a routine audit to be fakes and synthetics. The cheap imitations include a 5-carat diamond, which is just a piece of glass, and a 19-carat sapphire which turned out to be synthetic. As told by Radio Praha, "The major reconstruction of the headquarters of the National Museum in Prague has revealed more than just peeling paint and cracks in the walls.
Sergey Ivanov (37), the young CEO and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the world’s largest diamond miner, ALROSA, was in Antwerp for the company’s annual meeting with its 56 long-term clients. ALROSA is a traditional company in a traditional business, and still evokes the reputation of a state-owned giant despite the partial privatization (currently 34%) of the company a few years ago.
Many laboratory-grown diamond companies describe their diamonds as being green or eco-friendly and use words such as ‘greenhouse’ or ‘foundry’ to try and influence opinion. [Consumers] are also being told that [synthetic] diamonds are real diamonds without the human or environmental impact. This is a misrepresentation. They deceive the consumer, because a synthetic diamond is not worth much at retail value. Millennials are being fed lies, because the gap between reality and marketing is huge.
WD Lab Grown Diamonds, based in Maryland in the US, has announced the creation a 6-carat round laboratory-grown diamond, which it says, "now stands as the world's only known lab-made CVD diamond of its size and shape." The company says the large synthetic diamond, made using Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) technology, was "grown in just a few months, as opposed to the millions of years it takes to form a diamond in nature." The company's facility, located just outside Washington, DC, produces synthetic diamonds for the jewelry market as well f
Nine of the leading diamond industry organizations and jewelry associations have jointly released the Diamond Terminology Guideline, containing recommendations for describing diamonds and synthetic diamonds, announced the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and CIBJO the World Jewellery Confederation in a press release. The Guideline, based on ISO standards and the CIBJO Diamond Blue Book, is intended to set the universal standard for communicating about diamonds and their laboratory-grown counterparts.
Vrai & Oro, the jewelry designer owned by laboratory-grown diamond producer Diamond Foundry, has closed its Los Angeles retail store after only six months. Despite several articles by the likes of Vogue announcing their partnership, and The Hollywood Reporter dropping Hollywood names like headliner Leonardo DiCaprio, the designer has come to the conclusion, "that retail is a true challenge." The Los Angeles fine jewelry label, which was purchased by Diamond Foundry in November of last year, opened a store in downtown L.A. at the ROW DTLA shopping center last August.
In their attempt to position synthetics as responsible alternatives to diamonds, many manufacturers have been propagating misleading, outdated, and inaccurate information about the diamond industry. This information ignores the significant changes which have occurred in the diamond sector over the past 15 years.
Jean-Marc Lieberherr, CEO of Diamond Producers Association
Last month, The New York Times posted an article entitled “Atelier Swarovski Turns to Man-Made Gems”. Jean-Marc Lieberherr, CEO of the Diamond Producers Association, would call this an oxymoron. Gems by definition are not man-made, not to mention the fact that calling them such contradicts the standards of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
Since 2012, CVD synthetic diamonds have been tested and identified by National Gemstone Testing Center (NGTC) in Beijing, typically in sizes above 0.20 ct. Since 2015, a large number of melee-size colorless and near-colorless synthetic diamonds have been detected in daily screenings at NGTC labs.
The latest fraudulent twist on the synthetic diamond landscape has profound implications for the efforts to keep natural and synthetic diamonds separate, if the incident in question is not an isolated one. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) recently recieved a round brilliant cut diamond (image, left) submitted for an updated diamond grading report. Its girdle was inscribed with an actual GIA report number (image, right), identifying the stone as a natural, untreated diamond. After testing, however, it turned out that the newly submitted diamond was an HPHT-grown synthetic diamond.
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.
The CIBJO European Jewellery Guild, a new body of leading associations from across the continent, has been formally established within the World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO) to advocate for the common interests of European based participants in the jewelry and gemstone industries, and to represent them in contacts with officials, departments and agencies of the European Commission, European Parliament and European Council. The new body held its inaugural meeting on September 23 at the VICENZAORO jewellery show in Vicenza, Italy.
Independent analyst and consultant on diamonds and the mining industry, and publisher of the Zimnisky Global Rough Diamond Price Index, Paul Zimnisky has published an in-depth article on the current state of lab-created diamonds and where the industry goes from here. Reprinted from Paul Zimnisky Diamond Analytics, courtesy of Paul Zimnisky.
Currently, the Federal Trade Commission is considering letting the term 'cultured' be added to these currently accepted descriptions of man-made versions, such as 'lab-created' or 'laboratory grown'. The mined-diamond industry is fighting this addition tooth and nail, while the man-made producers are intent upon dropping any reference to 'laboratory created' or 'laboratory grown' in favor of 'cultured' alone ... In the end it's marketing that is going to make or break the cultivated-diamond industry’s potential to disrupt the natural-diamond market ...
Independent analyst and consultant on diamonds and the mining industry, and publisher of the Zimnisky Global Rough Diamond Price Index, Paul Zimnisky has published an overview of Natural versus Lab-created Diamond Price (1ct)
Synthetics are mass-produced in factories, made in a matter of weeks and primarily used for industrial purposes. None of these qualities is commonly associated with the rarity, beauty and luxury that embody a diamond. Many have raised concerns about the long-term value of synthetics because, as a manufactured product, their potential supply is unlimited. Furthermore, synthetics are not eco-friendly... Diamonds are of the earth, made billions of years ago, as old as the stars. They are an authentic, scarce product in an increasingly artificial world.
From the India International Jewellery Show (IIJS) in Mumbai, GemKonnect reports on the formation of the International Diamond Monitoring Committee (IDMC), an initiative intended to ensure the separation of natural diamonds from synthetics as they pass through the diamond pipeline to the retail counter.
Diamond expert, industrialist and industry analyst Ehud Arye Laniado takes an incisive look at the value proposition of synthetic diamonds, taking their producers and marketers to task on their main selling points. Reprinted in full with the permission of the author.
“To me, synthetic diamonds are not diamonds. It is a different product. We don’t know what their value is now or how this is going to evolve. So we are not financing lab-grown at the moment, but we may consider it over time, when it is a more mature product."
- Erik Jens, when asked by moderator Rob Bates (JCK) if ABN AMRO is currently financing lab-grown diamond companies during SRK panel debate with Paul Rowley (De Beers) and Tom Moses (GIA) at JCK Las Vegas
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has made an alarming discovery, namely, a natural white diamond covered by a thin (80 microns, or 0.003 inches) synthetic layer that colors it blue – and has warned that more such composites might be on the market. The 0.33-carat stone is a composite of CVD synthetic Type IIb diamond overgrowth on a natural Type Ia diamond.
The International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR), part of De Beers Group, today announced the launch of a world-first Synthetic Diamond Detection training course. It is the first in a series of education services to be rolled out during 2017, according to a press release. The two-day lab-based course will be unveiled in the U.S. towards the end of the JCK Jewelry show in Las Vegas on 8 and 9 June, and in India at the IIDGR Facility in Surat on 15 and 16 May.
Some interesting industry developments took shape at last week's Diamond Detection Expo and Symposium sponsored by India's Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC).
Signet Jewelers, as part of its effort to support and reinforce its Responsible Sourcing Protocol for Diamonds (D-SRSP), has been working on a project with product-testing firm United Laboratories and the Diamond Producers Association to create a facility for testing synthetic diamond screening equipment, writes Rapaport News.** The intention is to create an industry standard for such equipment so that, "su
The U.S. Department of Justice, through its District of Minnesota U.S. Attorney's Office, has announced a federal indictment charging former Scio Diamond Technology Corporation (Scio Diamond) Board of Directors Chairman, Edward S. Adams, with "orchestrating an elaborate fraud scheme to embezzle millions of dollars of investors' funds." The indictment alleges the activity happened between 2006 and 2013. Adams was indicted Wednesday in U.S.
In recent weeks there have been growing signs that the volume of synthetic rough diamonds flowing into the pipeline is rising significantly. Most goods appear to be of Chinese origin, and in sizes from one point up to three quarters of a carat. What is particularly worrying is a definite rise in the incidence of synthetics stones in quite large parcels of rough diamonds, which its owners previously had assumed were all natural ... Right now we are seeing particular demand among members of the rough diamond trade, who have a particular need to defend the integrity of their product.
Since the real (forgive the pun) possibility of cultured diamonds being produced economically in volume started to become apparent, the industry has reacted with a completely closed mind ... The good news is that the woeful performance of polished diamonds is at least forcing some people to think, but thinking in the same old box is not going to do much good. Nothing is being aggressively promoted by the industry about the enormous benefits [created by] the vast majority of natural diamond mining, the jobs and wealth it creates in often very impoverished areas of the world.
Avi Krawitz of Rapaport News sat down with Joseph Kuzi, CEO of EGL Asia and director of Diamond Services, a Hong-Kong based synthetics testing facility, to talk about the phenomenon of undisclosed synthetic diamonds. He heard that the technology behind and production of synthetic diamonds is increasing rapidly, and just because we do not hear about every instance where undisclosed mixing of synthetic and natural diamonds is discovered, does not mean it is not widespread.
The International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR), part of The De Beers Group of Companies, has unveiled a US$5 million expansion of its diamond grading and testing centre in Surat, India. The move follows the Group’s initial investment of US$10 million in 2015 to establish the facility, which has the capacity to process over US$500 million of diamonds every year.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) on December 5 published the following press release: Following a five-month pilot program which started in June 2016, clients are now able to submit round D-to-Z melee-size diamonds through their fully automated GIA Melee Analysis Service.
The UAE Kimberley Process Chair (KP Chair), Ahmed Bin Sulayem, will host a special forum on synthetic diamonds and their impact on the future of the diamond industry on November 14 in conjunction with the annual KP Plenary. Bringing together representatives from 81 countries, the global diamond industry and civil society, the event will discuss a number of key issues facing the industry.
Two weeks ago, IDEX Online published an opinion piece by Thierry Silber, CEO and founder of Diamaz International and Madestones, entitled "How to Kill Four Birds With One Stone". Here Silber makes the following proposal on the way to tackle the heated issue of undisclosed mixing of natural and synthetic diamonds: "Why not remove the mixing issue by selling both types of smaller diamonds at the same price up to a certain size?" The main problem as he sees it is the cost of detection involved in screening for synthetic diamonds, particularly for smaller manufacturers.
Diamond industry analyst Edahn Golan takes a close look at US consumers' polished diamond purchasing trends based on data that retail metrics research firm NPD collected from nearly 4,000 specialty jewelry retailers. Golan says that, "One of the biggest issues in the diamond industry, especially in the manufacturing sector, is a lack of impartial and detailed data about consumer purchasing habits.
A week after the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) announced that its Hong Kong laboratory recently identified an undisclosed chemical vapor deposition (CVD) grown diamond weighing 5.19 carats - the largest ever CVD synthetic diamond ever detected - Tom Moses, the GIA’s executive VP and chief laboratory and research officer explains to Michell Graff of The National Jeweler how lab-grown diamond certificates issued by GIA differ from their natur
JCK's Rob Bates writes that one of the largest remaining specialty jewelry chains in the US, Helzberg Diamonds, will no longer carry synthetic diamonds. "Last year," writes Bates, "Helzberg Diamonds’ experimented with stocking lab-grown diamonds. It was the largest jewelry retailer to do so.