From today and onward, the diamond industry and trade can stop screaming foul. During the past decade(s), the diamond industry has been discussing, arguing and sometimes been kicking and screaming foul against the tendency to call synthetic diamonds….indeed, diamonds.
Throughout the years, I have witnessed grown men and women getting worked up and all emotional, arguing passionately that synthetic or lab-grown diamonds cannot be called diamonds, because they just aren’t. Their arguments were driven by emotion, not by reason.
This contrary to their colleagues in the colored gemstones industry and trade, which since the late 19th century has dealt with ever growing varieties of synthetic counterparts of gemstones, not only of the Big Three – Emerald, Ruby and Sapphire – but also of countless other popular colored gemstones.
The diamond industry, however, has been extremely privileged as until quite recently, it never had to face such challenges. Add to that the industry’s insular character and, let’s admit it, a good measure of complacency and an exaggerated feeling of self-importance, and you have the makings of a real panic attack when a challenge such as synthetic diamonds comes around.
As we all know, the industry did not handle that panic attack very well. In the past decade, the industry has done all it could to disparage synthetic diamonds and those who create, handle and deal in them. In addition, it has made no significant efforts to try and understand how these new products could find their niche in the market and failed to make a real, genuine and honest effort to enter into dialogue with the synthetic diamond business community. Had the diamond industry done so, it could have prevented many of the unsavory practices we are currently witnessing and battling, such as the mixing of synthetic diamonds into parcels of melees.
The same is probably true for the consensus on nomenclature, now unilaterally introduced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). For those who missed the news: For the first time in 22 years and after a six-year consultation and editing process, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has published its revised Jewelry Guidelines. Click here to download the FTC guidelines in pdf format.
International gem and jewelry umbrella organizations such as the International Diamond Council and CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation have spent endless – and truly laudable – efforts and man hours in trying to reach consensus on nomenclature for synthetic diamonds. While these efforts have led to success, I have never understood why – except for the term ‘cultured’ and ‘cultivated’ – the diamond industry was so passionately opposed to one particular term opposite another particular term. What’s wrong, for instance, with “man-made?”
And now all those endless discussions have been brought to an end, expertly and convincingly, by the Federal Trade Commission as it published its revised Jewelry Guides.
For those who wish to argue that the IDC Rules and CIBJO’s Diamond Book outrank the FTC rulings, think again. The USA is still the largest market for diamonds and any rulings coming from the USA have a good chance of being adopted, globally. And let’s face it – the new FTC rules make utter sense.
If you want to read a quick but overview of the FTC’s new guides, read “8 Key Changes the FTC Made to the Jewelry Guides” an excellent piece written by Michel Graff, on National Jeweler.
For those who want to read a piece written by a – rather smug – synthetic diamond producer, have fun!