It seems to me that recent events and the diamond industry's reactions – or lack of them – concerning the undisclosed submissions of synthetic diamonds to some grading labs, require us all to reflect deeply on the issue.
Let us begin by reiterating that the equipment supplied by the leading research centers for the detection and identification of synthetic diamonds is indeed efficient and trustworthy. We can at any time identify synthetic diamonds and separate them from mined, natural diamonds.
We have built rules to grade one of "nature's own" and most unique minerals. A mineral so unique that it has become the most precious store of human emotions and a symbol of long-lasting relationships.
These rules only reflect a way to help measure value versus rarity. But the grading rules are aimed at determining market value – they do not and can never grade the level of emotional content. Each and every diamond has in itself the power to affect us beyond mere reason.
Our industry, as a type of virtual "conveyer belt" to the end-consumer, must once again find the vocabulary and most importantly, the level of passion required in this unique business to bring the message from the depth of the earth to the depth of one's soul.
It is correct that the present short-term view from above is not a pretty one. Pushed like any other commodity, surfing on future scarcity, rough prices are being driven at high speed by a handful of speculators powered partly, it is reported, by "creative" credit lines. While at the same time too many talented people are being squeezed and pushed out, one might conclude that with all the expressions of urgency about the need for marketing, cynical short-term opportunists seem to be firmly in the driver's seat.
Where collective action is needed, based on shared experience, to build what looks indeed like a very promising future, we see instead amnesia as a management tool of choice. Markets are indeed very strong drivers of wealth, but when infected by corrupt practices and greed they become highways to value destruction.
Coming back to synthetics: knowingly selling an undisclosed, man-made product as a natural one is, as mentioned time and again, a breach of our bourses' internal by-laws. But please, let us put our cards on the table: the only appropriate terminology that describes such a practice is "criminal conduct". And the organizations that should be dealing with it are our industry, with the instituting of strong disciplinary action, and law enforcement agencies in the countries in question.
I do not wish to dwell on any pre-supposed value of synthetics, the consumer will eventually be the judge of that. But the consumer will act swiftly and without looking back if we fail in our duty to protect and nurture his confidence in us.
We must avoid the mistakes of the recent past, where there has been a lack of long-term vision as well as acting according to narrow and short-term agendas. Instead, let us agree on what needs to be done and unite our efforts to this end.
Stephane Fischler, Chairman