Differentiate – don’t grade!February 28, 19
Next week, the cover story in the March issue of IDEX Magazine will discuss, among other things, the danger that undisclosed, melee-sized synthetic diamonds pose to the diamond supply pipeline. If jewelry manufacturers, designers and retailers lose confidence in the supply of natural melees because they cannot be sure if they are indeed natural, what will that signify for the entire supply pipeline – from miner to consumer? Keep an eye out for the magazine. It will make for interesting and eye-opening reading.
Meanwhile, another, new argument has developed regarding synthetic or lab-grown diamonds (LGDs).
De Beers announced recently that - contrary to other manufacturers and distributors of LGDs - it would not seek to record, disclose or share information about any possible treatments that the LGDs set in their Lightbox jewelry products were subjected to. Also, De Beers opposes the grading of LGDs. This, they argue, because LGDs are a manufactured product. All LGDs need at the end of the manufacturing process is a ‘fail’ or a’ pass,’ just like any other product.
Sally Morrison, marketing manager of Lightbox Jewelry confirmed that position in an email.
“We think it’s a mistake to take the logic of natural diamonds and apply it to this product. We believe it’s a different thing and this approach is just not relevant. In terms of the question of grading, the inherent quality of a natural stone is a key determinant of its value because it establishes its relative rarity. However, a lab-grown diamond is a manufactured product which, by definition, is not rare, since it can be made over and over again. Quality is controllable, based on the effectiveness of the production process,” Morrison wrote.
Steve Coe, CEO of Lightbox, confirmed these positions in a telephone conversation. “LGDs are a manufactured product,” he said. “There is no need to inform the consumer about the manufacturing process, its various stages, what enhancements or modifications are applied, etc. In comparison, while anyone buying a BMW is interested in the guarantee that comes with this quality car, all he or she needs really cares about is that it is well made and that it has been subjected to a thorough quality control routine. I guarantee we do the same with our LGDs.”
Consumers understand this. In a recent article in the Malta Times, Andreas Sweitzer, an independent journalist based in Malta who regularly writes about economic and consumer affairs. Referring to LGDS, he wrote: “Diamonds are not only forever, they are forever more… Synthetic diamonds are too regular, too clear, too flawless when compared to their brethren grown a few hundred million years ago at a depth of 700 kilometers. Yet they sparkle all they can… Ice of Elisabeth-Taylor-size can be bought for a student loan.”
The diamond trade, while it has a motherload of work to do and changes to make to promote their own product, should get on board with this position of De Beers. Indeed, why would you want to grade an LGD? There is nothing special about it. It has not made the fascinating and unique journey from the depths of the earth where it was created millions of years earlier, nor has it travelled twice around the world before it ended up in a piece of jewelry. It has no story to tell and no point to make. It doesn’t make the grade, contrary to natural diamonds.