Cultured Shock

In May, the Gemological Institute of America’s New York City lab identified a near-colorless 1.05 ct. CVD-grown diamond, the largest ever submitted to GIA. The pear-shaped gem received a G color and I1 clarity grade.   

“Clearly, CVD synthetic diamonds of better quality and size are being produced as the growth techniques continue to improve,” GIA wrote in an e-brief.

While this stoked fears that a new entity was producing man-made diamonds and not disclosing them as Federal Trade Commission guidelines require, Apollo Cultured Diamonds—the only company known to produce colorless synthetics—claimed the stone.

“The diamond was submitted anonymously and without attribution to the GIA by a party that is currently exploring a strategic transaction with Apollo Diamond Gemstone Corporation,” said Apollo CEO Bryant Linares in a statement. “As part of its due diligence, that party independently had the diamond cut and submitted to the GIA for grading and certification.”

However, Linares stressed that the company is committed to disclosure: “Prior to offering the 1.05 ct. pear-shaped diamond for sale, the ­Company will place a unique laser inscription on the diamond. This ­particular cultured diamond is emblematic of the diamond crystal that we are now producing, and we expect to produce even larger and higher-quality diamonds as our proprietary process continues to improve.”

Still, others were skeptical. GIA described the gem’s dimensions as 9.81 mm x 5.95 mm x 3.06 mm, which would make it pretty flat, noted cutting experts. Said one: “It would look much better if it were around a 0.65-pt. stone.” —Rob Bates

Campbell in the Soup

British supermodel Naomi Campbell allegedly received a “blood
diamond” from former Liberian president Charles Taylor—and now she’s
been subpoenaed. Campbell must testify or show “good cause” why she
cannot, said a U.N. special court. Failure to comply could lead to
seven years in jail and a fine of 5 million Leones (about $1,200 U.S.).
So far, Campbell has not indicated that she will appear.

Mia Farrow recently told ABC News’ Nightline that when she and Campbell
visited South Africa in 1997, Taylor was charmed by the supermodel.
“[Campbell] said during the night some men came to her door and she,
half asleep, had opened the door and it was representatives of
­President Charles Taylor and they had given her a huge diamond,”
Farrow said.

Prosecutors now say Taylor was the force behind the
diamond-fueled civil war in neighboring Sierra Leone. He is being tried
by the United Nations’ Special Court for Sierra Leone on 10 counts of
war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In an interview with
ABC, Campbell maintained: “I didn’t receive a diamond, and I’m not
going to speak about that,” and punctuated the comment by storming off
the set. Yet the court is eager to establish a firm link between Taylor
and the “conflict diamond” trade. (Hence, Campbell’s subpoena.)
Campbell told Oprah ­Winfrey she didn’t want to testify because ­Taylor
“has done some terrible things and I don’t want to put my family in
danger.” —RB