During the past weeks, the trade and trade media have been buzzing with the latest news on synthetic diamonds, in particular with the alleged attempt by a company to submit gem quality synthetic diamond without for identification and grading to a leading tem lab, allegedly to have them identified and graded as natural diamonds.
Of course, any misrepresentation of any diamond or gemstone in any business transaction is a severe transgression of the rules that regulate our business worldwide, i.e. the rules and regulations as set out by the bourses we diamantaires are members of and those of our umbrella organizations, the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA).
However, it is however absolutely necessary to keep our heads cool and not to give in to any knee-jerking reactions and actions, samples of which we have heard and seen in the market in recent weeks.
With diamond supplies dwindling and polished prices rising, gem quality synthetic diamonds are and will be part of the diamonds that are sold throughout the diamond supply line, and consumer are increasingly aware of their availability in the market. And me says this clearly: synthetic diamonds are a legitimate product, that, when properly disclosed in the supply pipeline, will have a permanent place on the menu of jewelers worldwide.
Because synthetic diamonds are here to stay. Most of the companies that produce synthetics produce and will produce them for the other applications than jewellery use, in particular for the electronics industry.
In his presentation at "The Future of Diamonds" conference organized by the Accredited Gemologists Association (AGA) in Las Vegas on May 31st, Robert Linares, founder of Apollo Diamonds, said the production of synthetic diamond, especially by means of Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) would only grow. The needs of the semiconductor industry are huge and they need CVD diamonds in wafers as large as 25 mm. by 10 mm. Linares is one of the scientists who helped develop the CVD technology and is involved in research that will allow electronics and optics technology to move beyond the limitations of silicon based devices.
In particular Linares noted that soon, the market will have plenty of colorless, clean, CVD rough that will be difficult to identify, due to characteristics that are very close to those of natural diamonds. He noted that the success and appreciation of synthetic diamond in the jewellery market will therefore hinge on how well the proper disclosure procedures are observed in the industry supply pipeline. These rules are laid out unambiguously and crystal clear in the rules of the International Diamond Council (IDC) that each and every member of one of the 28 bourses affiliated to the WFDB is committed to. Any of these members violating these rules, is a candidate for expulsion from his or her bourse.
However, I am not so concerned about our end of the supply pipeline - the recent alert issued by the International Gemmological Laboratories (IGI) and the ensuing developments are proof how fast our industry can react. We'll deal with the rotten apples.
But what concerns me much more is the effect this can have on the lower end of the pipeline, on the consumers. If - not yet when – lose their confidence in natural diamonds and diamond jewellery, we're toast.
The consumer has - even within the luxury product market – endless alternatives.
We need the consumer.
More than ever.
Let's not forget that.
Stephane Fischler, Chairman