Man-made diamonds, though more affordable, pose challenges on Jewelers Row – by Ally Marotti (Chicago Tribune – November 23, 2016)

There is a 3-carat diamond waiting for Tammy Borg at a shop on Jewelers Row, one that’s so big it’ll nearly cover the width of her finger. She and her soon-to-be fiance spent weeks hunting for the perfect diamond for her engagement ring, and finally found it at Mon Ami Jewelry. The diamond has a few flaws, Borg said, but to her, it’s perfectly imperfect.

“I would’ve never considered anything other than (a natural diamond),” she said. Jewelers are noticing a change in that blind devotion toward the gemstone in its natural form.

Technology has allowed man-made diamonds to become so similar to mined diamonds that they’re working their way into the jewelry market, for better or worse, with some budget-conscious shoppers requesting them as a cheaper alternative.

Their rise in prevalence has left diamond sellers concerned that the synthetics could creep into their inventory unannounced, especially as the holiday shopping season, one of the year’s busiest times for jewelry sales, approaches.

No jeweler wants to be the one that sells a client a man-made diamond the jeweler thought was natural, especially when customers — often inexperienced in diamonds — rely on the jewelers to educate them. It hasn’t become a problem yet, but the tenants along Chicago’s historic Jewelers Row want to be ready when it does.

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