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Jeweller has learned that a photograph provided by Miriam Tenenboim, owner of Grown Diamonds, was not her image but is a photo from Shutterstock, a library service for licensed images, videos, and music. | Image: Shutterstock
Jeweller has learned that a photograph provided by Miriam Tenenboim, owner of Grown Diamonds, was not her image but is a photo from Shutterstock, a library service for licensed images, videos, and music. | Image: Shutterstock

Concerning conduct: Lab-created diamond company provided a "fake" photograph for publication

Jeweller has become aware that the owner of a lab-created diamond company provided an image for publication that was not her genuine photograph.

The background to this bizarre scenario happened in 2021 when a journalist contacted several suppliers seeking comment for a feature article about lab-created diamonds.

Having collected the various responses for publication, one of the participants, Miriam Tenenboim of Melbourne-based Grown Diamonds, asked if she could be quoted by her maiden name - Neubauer.

It's important to note that this request is not uncommon in journalism. Many women, for varying reasons, are known by a ‘professional’ name - often their maiden name - which differs from their legal name.

The journalist agreed to attribute the comments to the maiden name; however, what happened next was most unusual.

The journalist asked Tenenboim for her headshot to accompany the story, which is typical for these types of stories.

At first, she seemed reluctant, telling the journalist she was shy; however, having been told the reason for the ‘headshot’ in the article, Tenenboim quickly provided a photograph, writing: “Please find photo attached. Kind regards Miriam”.

The 8-page report was the cover story for the October 2021 issue and was then published online on 1 October and has been read more than 20,000 times.

The ‘fake photo’ featured in the October 2021 lab-created diamond report, alongside her quote.
The ‘fake photo’ featured in the October 2021 lab-created diamond report, alongside her quote.

In addition to the print and website versions of the report, the October 2021 eMag edition has achieved more than 39,900 views and/or downloads.

Jeweller has since learned that the photograph provided by Tenenboim was not hers but is a stock image from Shutterstock, a licensed library service for images, videos, and music.

Background information

ASIC records show that Grown Diamonds is the trading name for MMDIA Pty Ltd, registered in December 2018. Tenenboim is listed as owning 100 per cent of the company since inception.

She was the sole company director (and secretary) until 16 August 2021, at which point Dovid Berkovits replaced Tenenboim.

Current records show the director and secretary as Murray d’Almeida, who joined the company on 1 November 2022.

ASIC records show d’Almeida replaced Berkovits as secretary on 2 November 2022, and Berkovits ceased acting as a company director on 6 April 2023. Therefore, since April 2023, d’Almeida has been director and secretary.

However, in another unusual turn of events, when Jeweller attempted to contact d’Almeida via email to discuss the fake photograph, Berkovits replied advising that he had received the email to d’Almeida’s “old account.”

“He [d’Almeida] has not been associated with Grown Diamonds for quite some time,” Berkovits added.

This is despite ASIC records still showing d’Almeida as director and secretary.

d’Almeida is also the Deputy Chancellor of Southern Cross University. His LinkedIn profile states that he co-founded Donut King and Retail Food Group Australia. It also records him as a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, an organisation “committed to strengthening society through world-class governance.”

Among many other things, d’Almeida is also listed as a director of Bartercard International and Hyperion Asset Management Limited and serves as the Chairman of Gold Coast Rugby.

"Jeweller emphasised to Berkovits that it was clear that all email communication was between the journalist and Miriam Tenenboim herself, and no other staff had been involved."

While the date that d’Almeida resigned as Grown Diamond’s director and secretary is unknown, Berkovits said he would ensure the ASIC records were updated to reflect his positions, which are the same positions he held in 2021 when Tenenboim provided a stock image purporting to be herself.

Berkovits was asked to explain how and why a ‘fake’ photograph had been supplied. He advised that he was unaware of the matter and was seeking advice from his “operations team.”

Jeweller emphasised to Berkovits that it was clear that all email communication was between the journalist and Miriam Tenenboim herself, and no other staff had been involved.

Berkovits was also asked to re-confirm that he had never seen the original printed version of the article in the October 2021 issue and that he had not seen the online article that has had more than 20,000 ‘reads’ nor the eMag edition that has been viewed on 40,000 occasions.

Further, no Grown Diamond staff, including the so-called operations team, had raised the matter of a ‘fake’ photograph being published with him in the near three years the article has been online.

Tenenboim has also been asked to explain how and why she supplied a photograph of someone else purporting to be her.

Berkovits is not a shareholder of MMDIA/Grown Diamonds; however, he has served two periods as a company director.

The Grown Diamond website states: “We are undisputedly the largest seller of lab grown diamonds in Australia.” This claim seems to be unsupported.

Further, despite being established in December 2018 - less than six years ago - the company’s About Us page says it has “Over 20 years experience in the diamond industry.”

At the time of publication, neither Tenenboim nor Berkovits had provided an explanation as to why the fake photograph was supplied.

Various attempts to contact d’Almeida have been unsuccessful.

More reading
The lab-grown diamond report: All that glitters

 











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