I am a bit confused about CIBJO’s recent decision to only endorse the word “synthetic” for lab-grown gems.
I was not at the conference, and don’t know what the reasoning was behind this decision. But the labels “man-made,” “lab-grown” and “[company]-created” quite clearly communicate what the product is to the consumer – far more so than “synthetic,” or for that matter, “cultured.”
At this point, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has okayed “lab grown,” and “man-made,” as have most other groups and industry bodies. (There is still debate over “cultured,” which has also been basically green-lit by the FTC, so we’ll avoid it for now.) CIBJO shouldn’t lag behind, especially since the organization has taken such a leap forward in stature and profile in the last decade. If the lab-grown people can just ignore its edicts, that hurts its relevance.
Obviously, natural diamond miners feel somewhat threatened by the lab-grown/synthetic industry, and there is good reason for that. But I do think the “mined” industry has a case to make for itself. Yet it will only prevail if it touts the positive aspects of its product – not by hanging the ugliest name possible on the competition.
Whether everyone likes it or not, synthetic diamond producers are not going away – and someday leading natural producers may even get into that market. It’s in all our interest to make them feel part of this industry, rather than in opposition to it.
Anyone from CIBJO’s Diamond Commission is welcome to respond, either by email to me (which I will post) or in the comments…