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Synthetic diamonds
Synthetic diamonds

Experts join synthetic diamond debate

Australian diamond experts have spoken-out about the decision to change the way synthetic diamonds are labelled.
In response to last week’s ruling, the diamond experts have weighed-in on the effects the decision will have on their industry, as well as the jewellery industry as a whole.
In a statement released last week, CIBJO announced they, "will now accept the terms 'laboratory-grown diamond' and 'laboratory-created diamond', as well as the previously acceptable term ‘synthetic’ to describe non-natural diamonds".
Lonn Miller, managing director, Miller Diamonds, is not a fan of synthetic diamonds. “They don’t tell a story, they are romance-less and they do not even resemble a natural diamond in their rough laboratory-created state,” he said.
Miller was not surprised by the decision and doubted whether it would have much effect on his industry.
“There will always be a market for natural diamonds and there will be a place for synthetic diamonds,” he said.
Garry Holloway, managing director, Holloway Diamonds, agreed that the decision would not have a major effect on either market.
“Synthetic diamonds are a different market to natural mined diamonds,” the high-end retailer said.
While the new names might have the potential to confuse some buyers, Holloway said confusing names for synthetic diamonds were commonplace in the industry.
“Visit any shopping center in Australia and you will find many stores offering synthetic gems with names that make me shudder,” he said.
Holloway said despite the confusion, he did not believe the labels would cause any major conflict in the industry.
“Is anyone being ripped off and getting defrauded? I doubt it. If they are, then it gets settled pretty harmlessly.”
Asked what affect the CIBJO decision will have on natural diamonds and synthetic diamonds, Holloway said, “None – the big challenge for synthetic diamonds is to create colorless diamonds that are cheaper than natural mined diamonds. And one way this will probably come about is the creation of pre-formed shapes, grown to reduce the time required to cut and polish the finished article,” he explained.
Holloway predicted, “This (pre-formed shapes) will probably bring about highly mechanised polishing set-ups like those Swarovski use for their extremely high quality CZ enabling the polishing of thousands of stones at once on huge barrel wheels with each facet taking seconds.”
Robin Sobel, director, Protea Diamonds, held similar views to Holloway and Miller.
“I don’t think it makes any difference what they call the diamond as long as it’s disclosed to the consumer and the retailer,” he said.
Sobel is a supporter of synthetic diamonds, but said the product has struggled to establish credibility competing against natural diamonds.
“I tried to sell them here but no one could understand the pricing as they are priced at the same price as white pique goods,” he said.
CIBJO’s decision was made at the 2010 Congress in Munich, bringing the organisation in line with the position adopted earlier by other major industry groups.
The organisation had previously declined to align itself with other organisations on the issue of alternate labels for non-natural diamonds.
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