Last week, I received a release from IIa Technologies, which at first glance appeared to be a new company based out of Singapore that produces lab-grown diamonds. The release included some pretty impressive boasts. It uses a new process: Microwave Plasma Chemical Vapor Deposition! It can produce to specifications! It is the world’s biggest diamond grower!
But what got me a little more interested in this company is its seeming connection to Gemesis Corp., even though it never acknowledges or references Gemesis in its company history.
Certainly, the connections appear to be there. IIa Technology’s board includes Vishal and Sonia Mehta, both of whom were involved in Gemesis. There’s a LinkedIn profile that calls Gemesis “the former name” of IIa. It is also based in Singapore, where Gemesis has an office, according to a speech by the country’s prime minister (who calls Gemesis an “Indian company”). And finally, look at that IIa logo. The exact same insignia can be seen on the Gemesis site.
I’d like to have you think finding those links was the result of hard-core investigative reporting, but really, it took about 20 minutes tops. Even though IIa’s press release repeatedly talks about gem diamonds, it does seem a little more oriented toward producing diamonds for industrial uses than Gemesis. And the two companies do have different PR firms—neither of which have answered my queries about any connection between Gemesis and IIa. In fact, IIa sent me a release, and then told me to send some queries. I did, and then the PR people told me they wouldn’t answer any questions about the company. Gemesis told me last week it would get back to me but hasn’t as of yet. (UPDATE: Gemesis has now declined comment, saying it is a private company, albeit one that may have two PR firms.)
I have no idea what this means for Gemesis, which is still doing business under that name. But we have talked about problems in the lab-grown sector, and here is another one worth discussing. Many years ago, someone involved in the “created” business told me a wise thing. He said, it’s in the companies’ interests to make the industry comfortable with the product, because people only buy products they are comfortable with.
And yet, with synthetic diamonds, it hasn’t really worked out that way. We are continually told, particularly by the media, that they will “destroy” the rest of the industry. They are generally sold with some reference to conflict diamonds, which makes the rest of a jeweler’s inventory look suspect. And of course, when a company is mysterious and won’t answer basic questions, that doesn’t help. Nor does it help when a package of undisclosed synthetic diamonds shows up in Belgium.
For the last several months, Gemesis has proven a lot more interesting for its behind–the–scenes machinations than for its diamonds. Perhaps this new company is an attempt to have a fresh start. But it doesn’t look like the people involved have learned much from the past.