3 Questions for…Richard Garard

Richard S. Garard, CEO of Morrisville, N.C.–based equipment manufacturer Microwave Enterprises, was recently appointed secretary general of the International Grown Diamond Association, the just-formed umbrella organization for the lab-grown diamond industry. Here, Garard talks with JCK about how he feels that lab-grown diamonds fit into the larger industry picture.

What are the goals of the new group?

Garard: To properly represent the grown diamond industry, to be clear about the properties, the material itself, and to help grow the industry.

What do you think the industry needs to know about the lab-grown diamond business?

Garard: This is an add-on market for the industry. For the foreseeable future, we are a small portion of diamond output. I don’t think we are going to replace mined diamonds, but consumers will have a choice over whether they want a mine-grown diamond or lab-grown diamond. For the industrial and scientific fields, they need the consistency that is available through producing diamonds in the lab.

Sometimes there appears to be an adversarial relationship between the natural and mined industries. How do you attempt to bridge that?

Garard: I hope it’s not adversarial. When the mined diamond supply goes down, we hope that lab-growns fill some of that void. We intend to coexist, but we want to do it on an equal playing field.