‘Cultured’ Clash

The debate between De Beers and the synthetic-diamond industry over the use of the term cultured is an exercise in the transparency of self-serving motives. Cultured is a clearly more marketable descriptor for the product than synthetic and its use, therefore, threatens the mined diamond industry just as it pleases the new diamond growers. Not coincidentally, the same motives are in play over the decision of the Gemological Institute of America to grade synthetic diamonds. A GIA grading report legitimizes the product as a diamond, providing a powerful marketing tool for the growers and apples-to-apples competition for De Beers. Ultimately, it will be consumers who will determine the success of the cultured diamond product. And consumers today, when they are in the market to buy a diamond—as is the case when they’re in the market to buy just about anything—insist on and get the

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