Scio Diamond’s new CEO—its third in as many months—says the lab-grown diamond manufacturer is forging ahead with its plans to produce colorless and pink diamonds.
“We are very interested in the gem business,” says Michael McMahon, the Greenville, S.C.–based company’s former chief operating officer who on Feb. 1 was appointed CEO. “It is in our strategic plan to be in the market noticeably in the next 12 to 18 months.”
While its predecessor, Apollo Diamond, concentrated on colorless gems, the new company plans to produce both pinks and white stones. But he didn’t have many other details, particularly regarding costs.
“We don’t have a set pricing structure,” he says. “If you call us today and ask what kind of stones we have, we price them individually. But when I compare our technology to [our competitors], our cost structure is far less.”
Still, McMahon says that mass-producing diamonds isn’t as easy as many believe it to be.
“It will take everyone a long time to start putting out the quantity that will really impact the world out there,” he says. “I don’t think it will be an issue until our great-grandchildren.”
“The sensitivity of growing a top-notch white diamond is still very hard,” he says. “Mother Nature has been doing it for two million years and she’s still having trouble.”
McMahon says he can’t comment on the rotating door in the company’s executive suites beyond what has appeared in the public company’s financial filings.
Those papers say that on Nov. 30, the company’s first president and CEO, Joseph D. Lancia, resigned, along with chief financial officer Charles G. Nicholas. Stephen D. Kelley, the former chief operating officer of Cree, replaced him on Dec. 5. Kelley then announced his resignation on Jan. 24, and was replaced by McMahon.
Still, despite all the turnover, McMahon says the company “has never lost its focus.”
In 2011, the company purchased the assets of another lab-grown diamond manufacturer, Apollo Diamond. Also in February, Scio appointed the former head of Apollo, Robert C. Linaires, to its board. Its current chairman, Edward S. Adams, is Linaires’ son-in-law.