What’s in a Name Again?

It never ceases to amaze me how often this industry debates the same issues over and over—sometimes for decades—without solving the problem. Here we are again, fighting over what to call a lab-grown diamond. Haven’t we already had this discussion about emeralds, rubies, sapphires, et cetera? Natural-diamond dealers want any non-natural diamond to be called synthetic. Lab growers, fearing negative consumer reaction to the word, want the stones to be called anything but. Let’s examine the word synthetic. Merriam- Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary has multiple definitions, but the one most relevant to this discussion reads: “of, relating to, or produced by chemical or biochemical synthesis; esp : produced artificially.” Meanwhile, the gemological definition of synthetic is “chemically, physically, and optically identical to natural.” In pharmaceutical science, syntheti
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