Questioning the real value of lab-grown diamonds – by Panna Munyal (The National – October 7, 2018)

Jean-Marc Lieberherr, CEO of the Diamond Producers Association, tells us why he doesn’t trust man-made diamonds

There’s something fascinating about diamonds, even those grown in the laboratory. Over the years, I have kept a close eye on the evolution of the man-made diamond industry and welcomed the Federal Trade Commission’s recently revised jewellery guidelines, which state that: “The Commission no longer defines a ‘diamond’ by using the term ‘natural’ because it is no longer accurate … when it is now possible to create products that have essentially the same optical, physical and chemical properties as mined diamonds.”

The commission went on to caution marketers that it would be deceptive to use the terms “real”, “genuine”, “natural”, or “synthetic” to imply that a lab-grown diamond is not, in fact, “an actual diamond”. This is a major boost to the man-made diamond industry, which has been plagued by authenticity issues.

Sure, these stones are not as rare or worth as much money as their mined counterparts, which take millions of years to form in the belly of our planet – a factor that’s a big part of the appeal to scores of diamond lovers.

However, not only do these stones have the same look and composition, but they also come with the promise of being ethically created, with no comparable destruction to human life or the environment. The low cost also means buyers have more choice when it comes to how much they want to spend on a piece of jewellery.

That’s the opinion I expressed to Jean-Marc Lieberherr, chief executive of the Diamond Producers Association. The organisation is outspoken in its opposition to laboratory-grown diamonds – which it unabashedly continues to label as “synthetic”.

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