JVC Disputes the Name ‘Cultured’ for Diamonds

Lab-grown diamonds from Gemesis in Sarasota, Fla., are being marketed as “cultured” diamonds, but the Jewelers Vigilance Committee says that label is “of concern.”

“The term ‘cultured diamond’ does not signal to the consumer that the diamond is laboratory created,” says JVC executive director Cecilia Gardner. “I’m just concerned it’s insufficient.”

She notes that cultured pearls “are cultivated in the sea. It’s an organic process. There is nothing organic about creating synthetic diamonds in the laboratory.”

So far, though, JVC hasn’t decided if it will take action. “We will have to see what their marketing materials look like,” Gardner says. She notes the “Federal Trade Commission is a little concerned about the word ‘synthetic’ [as well.] They think the consumer might not know what it means. They have suggested that you use phrases like ‘lab-created’ or ‘lab-grown.’ It’s clear that it means something created in the lab and not the natural product.”

General Carter Clarke, president of Gemesis, notes that the treatment will be disclosed on EGL reports that accompany the diamonds. He says the FTC has “given no indication that the word ‘cultured’ was misleading. They neither blessed it nor did they rule it out. It’s sort of in limbo. We think the general public will understand that man had something to do with these diamonds, just as man had something to do with the making of cultured pearls.” He noted that De Beers executive Andy Bone recently used the words “cultured diamond” in a story for Forbes.

“It’s not an issue we will fall on our swords for, but we feel ‘cultured’ is more appropriate for the consumer,” Clarke said.