Diamonds: De Beers on Synthethics, Screening & More

De Beers’ Confidence Game

With increasing reports of synthetic diamonds being passed off as natural, De Beers has warned its 82 sightholders that selling lab-grown diamonds without noting their origin “threatens consumer confidence” and “may be a criminal offense.”

De Beers also sent its clients info on its Automated Melee Screening device, which is being sold by the De Beers-owned International Institute of Diamond Grading and Research.

The machine screens stones as small as 0.01 ct. to 0.2 ct. and can screen an average of up to 360 stones per hour. While the machine can detect if a stone is non-natural, it does not screen for treated stones, De Beers said. Sightholders must pay $25,000 per year to lease the device, totaling $75,000 over three years. Deliveries will start in March 2014.

The company seemed to dismiss demand for lab-grown diamonds on a consumer level. “Our extensive consumer insight research repeatedly shows that when it comes to life’s most important moments, consumers want natural diamonds,” CEO Philippe Mellier said in a statement.

Shoe Gaze

Move over, Christian Louboutin. Antwerp World Diamond Centre may have created the ultimate luxury shoe. On Dec. 4, the industry group unveiled what it calls the “World’s Most Expensive Shoes,” boots covered in diamonds totaling 1,550 cts., valued at $3.1 million. The paisley-patterned black leather ankle boots are decked out in 39,083 natural fancy colored champagne, gray, and pink diamonds. Designing the boots and selecting and setting the diamonds took some 30,000 hours, the organization said.

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