The letter from the Natural Diamond Council, the U.K.’s National Association of Jewellers, and the London Diamond Bourse said the eight-minute segment used “misleading terminology and outdated misconceptions about natural diamonds [that] pose a threat to consumer confidence which impact the ten million people whose livelihood is supported by the industry.”
The groups noted that a show voice-over hailed lab-grown diamonds as “bling without the ethical or environmental baggage.” But, they contended, “it is not possible to make a simplistic general statement [about environment impact] across a category of products. Each company within the industry has a range of production processes, geographical locations, power sources, productivity capabilities, and sustainability-focused practices. Each organization needs to clearly report on these practices and verified by third party.”
They also said the show ignored the positive impact that diamond production can have on local communities. “[In] the Northwest Territories in Canada, natural diamonds contribute to 24% of the regional GDP…[and have] contributed over $24 billion to the economy,” the letter said. “For Botswana, natural diamond wealth has been transformed into free health care for all citizens and free education for all children.”
By calling Kimaï’s products “diamonds” without a qualifier, Dragons’ Den ignored guidelines for how to describe lab-grown diamonds, according to the letter. U.K. authorities and jewelry groups require that lab-grown diamonds must be described with one of three modifiers: synthetic, laboratory-grown, or laboratory-created.
(In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission requires a modifier such as lab-grown, lab-created, or [brand]-created. The FTC removed synthetic from its list of recommended terms in 2018, but declined to disallow its usage.)
“When consumers unknowingly purchase a laboratory-grown diamond due to lack of clear disclosure…they are at immediate risk for being taken advantage and incurring future financial harm on the resale market,” said the letter. “Over 60% of laboratory-grown diamonds are produced in China and India. Wholesale prices have declined due to mass production with falling production cost—between 2016 and 2023, prices have decreased by over 70%.”
During Kimaï’s two cofounders’ appearance on the show, “dragon” Steven Bartlett agreed to pay £250,000 for a 3% stake in the company. Cofounder Jessica Warch told JCK what the experience was like here.
Neither Kimaï nor the BBC responded to requests for comment by press time.
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