Independent diamond industry analyst Paul Zimnisky examines the growing acceptance of synthetic diamonds from a known but rarely-discussed angle: synthetic diamonds deliver higher profit margins to retailers than natural diamonds.
[The lab-grown diamond industry is like] the Wild, Wild West, making eco claims for its products just because they don’t get their diamonds from the earth. Just because you are not mining does not make your production sustainable.
- Stanley Mathuram, a vice-president SCS Global Services. Lab Grown Diamond Council has commissioned SCS to produce a standards framework on sustainability. Few growers are participating in the pilot.
In his latest editorial, JCK editor-in-chief and industry expert Rob Bates makes a case for a ceasefire between the natural diamond industry and the lab-grown sector.
In recent months the mudslinging back and forth between the two "intimately connected sectors" has reached new heights, which Bates believes will be negative in the long run for the entire industry, natural and LGD alike.
Barely a week after Jeweller Magazine reported Michael Hill (MHI), the jewelry retailer operating 312 stores in Australia, New Zealand, Canada as well as selling jewelry online, made misleading claims in its marketing by describing their lab-grown diamonds using terms as “real”, “genuine” and “authentic”, the company has changed its messaging.
The Lab Grown Diamond Council (LGDC) was launched today in New York with the objective to develop and implement a multi-tiered, international communications program designed to increase the awareness of, knowledge about, and demand for laboratory-grown diamonds. The LGDC was formed by jewelry industry veterans Chris Casey, the former National Jeweler publisher who will serve as president, and Michael Barlerin, who also heads the Silver Promotion Service and will be its chairman.
It is a joint decision of the profession and the French Union of Jewellery not to grade synthetic diamonds, unlike other international laboratories. These stones do not have to be evaluated on the same scale as natural ones, because they are an imitation of the diamond and must remain so. This decision is unanimous in the profession except for those who want to promote this [lab-grown] material. But it must be remembered that the increase of synthetic diamonds on the market will bring down their price.
In 2014, I wrote that the lab-grown diamond industry was out-promoting the natural. That is even more pronounced now. I don’t get many pitches from natural diamond companies. And some of the pitches I do get are kind of dull. By contrast, I get at least two or three pitches on lab-grown diamonds a week. My Facebook feed is inundated with ads for lab-grown companies. The man-made segment claims only a single-digit percentage of the market, but it appears to be doing an outsized percentage of the marketing ...
Richline Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, announced that it is partnering with both JCPenney and Macy’s to introduce its new jewelry brand, Grown With Love, Lab Grown Diamonds this holiday season. As JCK reports, the line will include fashion as well as bridal components. "The Macy’s line will include stones up to 3 cts., while the J.C. Penney line tops off at around 1.5 cts.
Having set our sights on a half-carat white solitaire pendant set in a silver necklace for $500, today we received an e-mail informing us we can place our order tomorrow (Thursday). Lightbox - De Beers' lab-grown diamond jewelry line - which has sparked outcry, applause, debate, and concern throughout the diamond world (natural as well as synthetic) will finally make its debut after a heated summer. The line as it now stands consists of pastel pink, white and baby-blue lab-grown studs and pendants, priced from $200 for a quarter carat to $800 for one carat, not including the setting.
We don’t have any idea to develop lab-grown diamonds at this moment because we don’t see any market for it right now. Chow Tai Fook is a jewelry brand as well as a diamond brand, and our brand value is authenticity, so we have to live up to that. It’s important to understand that Chinese consumers value natural as real, and there’s no grey area in China when it comes to man-made diamonds.
- Kent Wong, managing director of Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group, from an interview with Avi Krawitz, Rapaport News.
Signet Jewelers' CEO Gina Drosos said the brand will follow consumer demand when deciding whether the company will start selling lab-grown diamonds in its stores, which currently number about 3,500 (3,000 in North America, 500 international). Industry insiders have told us they suspect decision has already been made. The CEO made the remark during a conference call about Signet's Q2 2019 results.
Ethics: it's "More than a PR issue!" The Diamond Development Initiative (DDI), a non-profit working to improve the lives and working conditions of artisanal and small-scale miners in Africa, issued a response to the recent decision by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on synthetic diamonds and how it could impact the market for artisanally-mined diamonds.
Industry consultant Ben Janowski takes an in-depth look at the developments that led De Beers to enter into the laboratory-grown diamond jewelry sector, and what Lightbox may mean long-term for the mining giant. Published in full courtesy of Ben Janowski, who will be lecturing at the Antwerp Summer University program, "From Mine to Finger 2018: A deep dive into the world of diamonds."*
In what can only be described as a victory for laboratory-grown diamond producers, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has dropped the word 'natural' from its definition of a diamond, essentially redefining 'diamond' to include non-mined gemstones, as part its new guides for the jewelry industry. It further gives additional leeway to existing standards regarding the description of lab-grown diamonds (and metal alloys), and has dropped 'synthetic' as an appropriate descriptor of lab-grown diamonds except under certain circumstances.
A full house at the Antwerp Diamond Bourse, including stakeholders from across the spectrum of the diamond industry, greeted De Beers Group representatives Paul Rowley and Nimesh Patel as they explained the company's foray into the synthetic diamond jewelry market and reinforced its commitment to the natural diamond industry.
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.
Signet CEO Virginia 'Gina' Drosos recently spoke with Yahoo Finance about digital marketing and millennials, providing some candid perspectives about the thought process of the retail giant. Perhaps her most ringing comment, however, was about laboratory-grown diamonds.
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
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.
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)
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.
On June 16, Amazon launched a new diamond jewelry Collection, selling jewelry set with both natural and lab-grown diamonds manufactured by a joint venture between Dutch startup House of Eleonore and Royal Asscher.
The increasingly ugly 'debate' between the synthetic and natural mined diamond industries is the subject of a commentary by JCK's Rob Bates. He mentions comments by Martin Roscheisen, the CEO of synthetic manufacturer Diamond Foundry, claiming that the mining industry “enslaves people.” And in another interview, when asked about the unemployment that synthetics might spark in African countries, Roscheisen compared that to releasing drug dealers.
Industry initiatives for responsible sourcing and supply chain integrity came under the spotlight at the JCK Las Vegas show, with the main issue being that people aren't aware of the big steps the industry is making in this regard. That became all too apparent as one of the “JCK Talks” panels debated whether lab-grown diamonds are a “threat or opportunity” for the natural diamond trade, writes Avi Krawitz of Rapaport. "While the lab-grown industry is marketing itself as an ethical alternative to natural diamonds, the undertone is that the natural diamond trade is not ethical."
The GIA has developed a fully automated system which it says can rapidly and accurately analyze and sort round D-to-Z melee-size diamonds. The system was developed in response to concerns in the gem and jewelry industry about the possibility of synthetic or treated diamonds being mixed into parcels of melee. The pilot for the GIA's Melee Analysis Service will be carried out next month at GIA’s laboratory in New York. The service will be offered at all GIA locations, with the roll out beginning in the third quarter of this year.
Pure Grown Diamonds CEO Lisa Bissell has left the company after two years, a spokesperson told JCK. Formerly known as Gemesis, the privately held company based in New York manufactures Type IIa, gem-quality laboratory grown diamonds and manufactures jewelry. Bissell’s two-year contract had ended, the company said, while not providing any details on her replacement. It also said that it has taken on 35-year industry veteran Alan Cohen as vice president of sales.
De Beers' increase in the price of rough diamonds in April for the first time in one year, albeit only by about 2%, is an encouraging sign, writes diamantaire Melvin Moss, adding that although the diamond market will still take a year or two to recover the news is positive. Indian cutters have increased output and diamonds are selling with polished prices stable. "VS and SI goods are hot but GIA reports are inconsistent making it very difficult to purchase tightly graded diamonds."
HRD Antwerp Hong Kong has opened its new office in Kowloon, sharing the same premises as the Hong Kong Indian Diamond Association (HKIDA).
Last week, Martin Rapaport published an in-depth diatribe rejecting the claims of synthetic diamand producers that their product is more ethical than naturally mined diamonds, going so far as to call the way synthetic diamonds are marketed as "evil".
US-based diamond grower Scio Diamond Technology Corp. said it has returned to full production following its December shutdown due to what it called a water line break.
The GIA is to start using a screening machine for detecting lab-grown diamonds in batches of melee in the next few months, JCK reports. It will not be offered to the trade, however, unlike the melee-screening device that De Beers has developed. The automated device can screen synthetics and treated diamonds from batches of D-to-Z round melee-size stones. It can also sort melee by size and color. The cost of the service will be size-dependent but will likely start at about 10 cents per stone.
A major article in India's Economic Times describes the developing battle lines between natural, mined diamonds and their lab-grown counterparts. The Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) in Mumbai, home to around 2,500 diamond companies and one of the world's largest exchanges, decided last September to act against traders and manufacturers who dealt in lab-grown diamonds. The outlawed trading in lab-grown stones due to increasing instances of such diamonds being added into parcels of natural mined goods.
The International Grown Diamond Association (IGDA) was launched last month, and industry analyst Chaim Even-Zohar quickly revealed flaws in its structure as well as major transgressions against accepted nomenclature, according to a blog on GemKonnect. In addition, the IGDA doesn’t seem to have done anything about the hugely important issue of the undisclosed mixing of lab-grown diamonds with parcels of natural stones. And the recently revealed scandal of CVD-created diamonds being sold with GIA grading reports has done little to calm nerves.
"We received some hostile comments to our story about Stuller selling lab-grown diamonds. This puzzles me. First, Stuller already sells moissanite and other lab-created gems; this was a logical and not out-of-character move for it. And while I understand why some in the industry fear lab-grown diamonds, they are a legitimate, legal product (provided they are sold legitimately and legally), which are not going away.
JCK reports US based jewelry manufacturer Stuller has started selling loose lab-grown diamonds, in a strategy to offer customers another, lower-priced option compared to natural diamonds. According to the report Stuller keeps natural and synthetic diamonds in completely separate circuits. The jewelry manufacturer sees no harm in selling both natural and lab-grown diamonds; "The technology is here. It won’t go away.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has graded the largest polished blue synthetic diamond that the organization has ever examined. The emerald-cut, 5.03-carat HPHT Type-IIB stone was made by New Diamond Technology (NDT), based in St. Petersburg, Russia. The firm is one of the founding members of the International Grown Diamond Association which was launched earlier this month. The stone was inspected at the GIA's New York lab last month and received a fancy deep blue grade, according to a lab. The GIA published an exhaustive article on the stone's characteristics.
"The Government of India should set up a regulatory authority to monitor the gemological laboratory business in India. The gemological laboratories issue only grading reports and no certificates. These laboratories have their own set of rules and regulations and even if consumers are cheated they have limited or no role to play. If a consumer has purchased a lab-grown diamond on natural diamond grading report, where will he go on being cheated? Who is responsible?
In a startling revelation, industry analyst Chaim Even-Zohar will this week unveil an investigation that shows that CVD lab-grown diamonds are being offered for sale with GIA natural diamond certificates by the giant Chinese online retailer Alibaba which claims to have 400 million users. The diamonds, which come with laser inscriptions and GIA certificates, are offered for sale by an Indian company called the International Trading Corporation.
The natural diamond trade should welcome the establishment of the International Grown Diamond Association (IGDA) announced last week even though it may actually serve as a wake-up call for the industry, writes Rapaport's Avi Krawitz. The new body could provide a formal channel of communication in the synthetic – or lab-grown – industry, particularly over the threat of undisclosed synthetics being mixed into parcels of natural diamonds.