There has always been a confusion about how to name lab-grown diamonds. On the one hand, they are real diamonds with the only difference they are made by man with all diamond related properties. But on the other, they are not mined as people used to think but created synthetically. There should be a more appropriate term to not confuse the customers about this precious gem. So what it should be? And will it be more appealing and descriptive than ‘lab-grown’? More about it read below:
THROUGH A COMPLEX PROCESS INVOLVING heat and pressure, Gemesis, a company based in Sarasota, produces diamonds in a laboratory. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the word “diamond” refers to a natural diamond that has been created by nature and mined by man. The FTC requires any diamond created in a lab to be designated by terms such as “synthetic,” “laboratory-grown,” “laboratory created” or a hyphenation of the manufacturer’s name with the verb “created.” Now, manufacturers of man-made diamonds are looking to change the rules, so that they can refer to their products as “cultured” diamonds.
Brad Congress of Bradley’s Jewelers in Fort Myers believes the move is yet another attempt to confuse consumers.
Mr. Congress has morphed from a third-generation jeweler, graduate gemologist to an investigative researcher and an activist. He says he has seen such a flood of synthetic stones and confusing documentation of diamonds, that it has led him to coin his own term: “Diamonditis.” He attaches the diseaserendering suffix to the precious stone to define what he sees to be the confusion and controversy in his industry: “When your diamond does not match your paperwork.” The term, and his movement, also encompasses trying to enforce common standards for labeling natural diamonds. He says he has records of numerous natural diamonds he has come across that have been misgraded or enhanced, but no such embellishments are mentioned on their paperwork.
Kathy Bigham of Bigham Jewelers. COURTESY PHOTO Mr. Congress sees the name change for lab-grown diamonds as public relations shenanigans — changing the designation of unnatural diamonds as inaccurate. He says it’s an assault on romance. But distributors of lab-grown diamonds such as Gemesis in Sarasota feel they have enhanced the market with the choice of “guilt-free,” “ecofriendly,” “diamonds with conscience.”
Jewelry featuring lab-grown diamonds from Gemesis COURTESY PHOTO “When I sell a diamond, I realize it’s greater than just selling a product,” says Mr. Congress, owner of Bradley’s Jewelers in South Fort Myers. “It’s a part of people’s wedding vows. It’s a part of that couple’s legacy… Many diamonds are passed down from generations to generations. Sometimes they tell the stories of leaving a past behind in Europe to find a better life in America. I realize that the lineage of a diamond is very important … We like to be part of those moments.”
Mr. Congress sees diamond moments as big moments when your heartstrings pull at your purse strings. He says if your house were burning down, you would grab your pictures and you would grab your diamonds.
The jeweler would like to see all labgrown diamonds laser-inscribed or hued with a color that would fluoresce under ultraviolet light, ending any confusion for the average jeweler or consumer.
Expanding Gemesis distribution
“Gemesis is strongly committed to maintaining supply chain integrity and providing knowledge of origin of its products,” Gemesis management wrote in an e-mail. No contacts were available for interviews due to conflicting travel schedules. “For origin certification and to distinguish its diamonds from those mined in nature, Gemesis offers laser inscription with an identity name and number as part of the certification process.”
“Growing a diamond has been a technical marvel; growing a diamond worthy to sit on your ring has proven impossible… until now. A lab-grown diamond is a rare and beautiful diamond that not only truly represents the purity of your feelings but stands by your values,” the company said in its e-mail statement.
A privately-held company, Genesis will not disclose details related to production costs but says Gemesis lab-created diamonds retail for approximately 25-30 percent less than its comparable, natural counterparts.
It was announced in early August that M. Geller, a wholesaler of loose, natural diamonds, had partnered with Gemesis, the world’s principle distributor of gem-quality, lab-grown diamonds. The news confused Mr. Congress and made him fear that soon there might be more salt-and-peppering of natural and labgrown diamonds.
Gemesis management maintains its relationship with M. Geller will benefit the whole industry, “most importantly, the end consumer.”
The case for natural
Jacob Tuchman, a graduate gemologist and director of fine jewelry services for Bigham Jewelers in Naples, does not have a problem with labgrown diamonds as long as it’s brought to the attention of the consumer that what they are buying holds no value. Personally, he sees the purchase of labgrown diamonds as a waste of consumer dollars.
“I find it incredible that people would spend their good, hard-earned money on stones that do not have and will never have any value,” he says. “You might as well buy a piece of glass.”
Sherelyn Mora, regional manager of Dunkin’s Diamonds, compares natural diamonds to organic food. Why would you want to eat something grown in a lab? Why would you want to wear something grown in a lab?
She does not frown on opinion. She wants to satisfy the heart of her client, no matter what they desire, but when someone comes in asking for a labgrown diamond, she asks them, “Why?”
“I need to know the root of it,” she says. “In order to advise my client, I need to know the root.”
Mrs. Mora says this scenario rarely plays out, maybe one client in a thousand will ask for a lab-grown diamond. When she asks them for their reason why, she says most clients say they do not want a “blood diamond,” they do not want a “civil-war diamond,” they want a diamond that’s “conflict-free.”
Mrs. Mora tells them about the Kimberly Process, a joint government, industry and civil society initiative to stop the sale of conflict diamonds. “When I tell them every single diamond we buy is conflict free,” Mrs. Mora says, “that really settles the client,” and they tend to go natural.
Southwest Florida’s self-described diamond advocate Mr. Congress has approached State Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto and U.S. Congressman Trey Radel with his growing “diamonditis” concerns.
“They too want to see that the people of Florida are protected from unscrupulous practices and deceptive paperwork because these are expensive decisions. People spend thousands of dollars on a diamond, sometimes much, much more. And they deserve better,” Mr. Congress says. “It would be wonderful to see the public become involved enough to help make the decisions that are necessary to protect their interests, because our industry is only so powerful to make change. It really belongs to the people.” ¦
The article is taken from http://fortmyers.floridaweekly.com/news/2013-08-28/Business_News/a_diamond_by_any_other_name.html