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WD Lab Grown Looking for Funding, Sources Say


WD Lab Grown Diamonds, one of the first companies to mass-produce synthetic gemstones with the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) method, is looking for new investment and possibly a buyer, sources say.

The Beltsville, Md.–based company has been the subject of much market chatter lately, though it’s largely stayed silent. Company spokespeople, as well as the principals of financiers Huron Capital and Tree Line Capital Partners, didn’t respond to queries from JCK. WD’s social media accounts—including those for its brand, Latitude Diamonds—have stopped posting.

A company employee did text one customer that WD is pivoting toward technical applications for diamonds, which it sees as having “the most impact on the world and financial return for our investors.” It will continue to do “special things” for gem customers, the message said.

Still, its gem business apparently remains active: One retailer tells JCK he ordered diamonds from the company last week and “everything went like normal.”

WD Lab Grown did raise eyebrows when it didn’t exhibit at JCK Las Vegas in June. The company joined the Plumb Club in 2022 and was supposed to exhibit at this year’s pavilion. But it dropped out before the event, leading the Plumb Club Association to sue for breach of contract in New York State court. (At press time, WD had not filed a response to the suit.)

Several employees left WD in March, according to posts on LinkedIn. In May, Tom Hitselberger, its chief financial officer for the past two years, left for Treliant, a consulting firm. The Plumb Club lawsuit lists his replacement as Mel Hansen.

Like many lab-grown companies, WD has had to deal with the general downtrend in lab-grown gem prices and an increasingly crowded field that has seen most diamond growing migrate to India and China. (Lusix, the highly touted Israeli producer, was also a no-show in Las Vegas this year.)

In 2020, WD sued six other lab-grown companies for alleging violating its patents. While it settled with some of those companies, it lost its case against Fenix Diamonds—and at press time, appeals in that case were still wrapping up.

In December, Mike Grunza, an operating partner of Huron Capital, took over as WD chief executive from Sue Rechner, who had served as CEO since 2019.

The company—which goes by the corporate name M7D—was founded as Washington Diamond Corp. in 2008 and used technology developed by the Carnegie Institution of Washington. It was purchased by Huron Capital in 2019. In 2021, it acquired a Chicago-based tech-oriented diamond grower, J2 Materials.

Top: The Plumb Club Pavilion at the JCK Show in Las Vegas (photo courtesy of the Plumb Club)

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By: Rob Bates

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