The end of emotion – the beginning of reasonMarch 14, 19
The March issue of IDEX Magazine is out. The cover story invites readers to consider the future of the diamond industry, specifically the bulk of diamond mining production, those rough diamonds that are cut and polished to become melee.
Is there a chance that we can soon stop talking about synthetic or lab-grown diamonds (LGDs)? I really hope so. We need to focus on marketing and selling diamonds. And melee is the bread and butter of the entire supply pipeline.
But first, the diamond industry and trade needs to stop screaming foul. During the past decades, the industry has been discussing, arguing and sometimes even kicking and screaming against the tendency to call synthetic diamonds…indeed, diamonds.
Throughout the years, I have witnessed grown men and women getting worked up and all emotional, arguing passionately that LGDs cannot be called diamonds because they dare not. However, their arguments were driven by emotion, not by reason.
How different the world of their colleagues in the colored gemstone industry and trade is! Since the late 19th century, colored gemstone cutters and traders have grappled with ever-growing varieties of synthetic counterparts of colored gemstones, not only of the Big Three – emerald, ruby and sapphire – but also of countless other valuable and often popular colored gemstone species.
In contrast, the diamond industry has been extremely privileged, as until quite recently, it never had to face such challenges. Add to that the industry’s insular character and, let’s admit it, a good measure of complacency and an exaggerated feeling of self-importance, and you have the makings of a real panic attack when a challenge such as LGDs comes around.
As we all know, the industry did not handle that panic attack very well. In the past decade, its members have done all they could to disparage LGDs and those who create, handle and deal in them. In addition, the industry has made no significant efforts to try and understand how these new products might find their niche in the market, and there has been no real, genuine and honest effort to engage into dialogue with the LGD business community. Had the diamond industry done so, it could have prevented many of the unsavory practices we have witnessed and are still battling, such as the mixing of LGDS into parcels of melee. (I once more refer to the cover story of the March issue of IDEX Magazine.)
The same is true for the consensus on nomenclature, unilaterally introduced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). For those who missed the news: for the first time in 22 years, and after a six-year consultation and editing process, just a few months ago, the FTC published its revised Jewelry Guidelines.
International gem and jewelry umbrella organizations such as the International Diamond Council (IDC) and CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation have spent endless – and truly laudable –efforts and man hours in trying to reach consensus on nomenclature for synthetic diamonds. While these efforts have led to success, I have never understood why – except for the terms “cultured” and “cultivated” – the diamond industry was so passionately opposed to another obvious term. What’s wrong, for instance, with “man-made?”
But now all those endless discussions have been brought to an end, expertly and convincingly, by the FTC. For those who wish to argue that the IDC rules and CIBJO’s Diamond Book outrank the FTC rules, think again. The US is still the largest market for diamonds, and any rulings coming from there have a good chance of being adopted globally. And let’s face it – the new FTC rules make utter sense.