Stephen Lux, who served as CEO of lab-grown diamond producer Gemesis for the past six years, has resigned from the company.
“While I can’t get into too many specifics as to the reasons for my decision to leave, it is fair to conclude that the joy of building something special with the growing sales of the lab created diamonds has been overshadowed by the other ‘distractions,’” Lux told me. “The internal situation had made it difficult to focus on the long term objectives of the company.”
Lux’s resignation caps off what should have been a triumphant year for Gemesis, which in March announced it was finally selling colorless gems on the Internet. Instead, it’s been a year filled with, as Lux put it, distractions, given the undisclosed synthetics that appeared in Antwerp and the buyout of remaining shareholders by Winsome (formerly Su-Raj) chairman Jatin Metha for a fraction of their investment. Many of the main investors and board members are now gone from the company, and Lux is one of the final dominoes to fall.
Gemesis did not have a response at press time.
It’s also worth noting that in the last month, another prominent lab-grown diamond producer, Scio Diamond (the former Apollo) also changed CEOs. Steve Kelley has replaced Joseph Lancia, who headed the business for a little over a year. Kelley, interestingly enough, was the former chief operating officer with Cree, the company that originally produced moissanite. Kelley did not return a call from JCK at press time.
So what can we make of all this? Lab-grown diamonds still have undeniable potential, and one of these days a company will be able to build a real business out of it. But it’s looking like that might take a while.