Time and again, traditional diamond industry factions keep grumbling about the issue of undisclosed synthetics (incorrect reference for Lab-grown diamonds). How realistic and accurate are these issues, is the matter of different tangent in diamond & jewelry industry. However, apparently in a first of its kind, San Francisco-based Ada diamonds, a Lab-grown diamond jewelry retailer, have found undisclosed mined diamonds in parcels of Lab-grown diamonds.
Ada diamonds found numerous undisclosed mined diamonds mixed into multiple parcels of Lab-grown diamonds. These undisclosed mined diamonds were 0.01 carat to 0.06 carat, DEF, VS+ fancy shaped melee stones. Detected using longwave and shortwave UV light, the undisclosed mined diamonds were discovered in 2 separate batches and were received by more than 1 supplier.
On their discovery, these undisclosed mined diamonds were sent to Gemological Institute of America (GIA), who subsequently confirmed the mixing of undisclosed mined diamonds in parcels of Lab-grown diamonds.
Post the detection of these undisclosed mined diamonds, Ada diamonds is enhancing the screening of all parcels it receives to ensure their supplies are free from mined diamonds. Though the company has refused to share the details of the suppliers and have not initiated any legal actions yet, it is manifestly engaging itself with the suppliers of these undisclosed mined diamonds, returning the stones; ensuring future supplies are free from mixing of mined diamonds.
Though this development may seem bizarre and has been termed as ‘troll’, by an author of another publication, the company denies the same. It was only a matter of time before such mixing happened. Lab-grown diamonds are now increasingly preferred by consumers for being conflict-free, eco-friendly, ethical and socially conscious. People have started to realize the benefits of this sustainable alternate choice of diamonds.
While at the same time, in spite of systems like Kimberley Process, conflict diamonds (also popularly known as blood diamonds) are still entering the global supply chain. And it is incentivizing for unscrupulous suppliers to mix conflict diamonds and environmentally damaging mined diamonds into parcels of Lab-grown diamonds, which are now favoured by consumers. Ada Diamonds is however not sure of the motive behind this and states that it can either be a malicious act or an honest mistake.
We reached out to Jason Payne – Founder and CEO, Ada Diamonds, to find out more about the discovery of these undisclosed mined diamonds. Here are the excerpts from the e-mail interview.
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1) BDI: From whom and where did you receive the mentioned parcels containing undisclosed mined diamonds?
Jason Payne – Founder and CEO, Ada Diamonds (Ada): We’re not sharing the specific suppliers; however, we did receive undisclosed mined diamonds from more than one supplier.
2) BDI: What was your role in receiving and screening the said parcels? Did you buy it from someone, to make retail sales?
3) BDI: Do you screen all the parcels you receive from your vendors?
Ada: Yes, and we are also implementing expanded screening to ensure that all our jewelry contains only lab diamonds as well.
4) BDI: It is mentioned that the undisclosed mined diamonds were confirmed by GIA. Can you please share the details and GIA website links etc. for the same?
Ada: We sent the suspicious and non-suspicious diamonds to GIA’s for their melee screening service and the suspicious diamonds were verified as mined diamonds.
5) BDI: Through which diamond detection equipment/ techniques were you able to detect those undisclosed mined diamonds? Can you please elaborate on the same?
Ada: Longwave and Shortwave UV light. A gemological lamp that has both LW and SW UV lights that is primarily used for field work to discover fluorescent minerals.
6) BDI: Can you please share the number and details (4Cs) of those undisclosed diamonds? Were there any peculiar similarities between the undisclosed mined diamonds and Lab-grown diamonds in the parcel?
Ada: Diamonds ranged from a 1mm round to 0.06 ct fancy shaped diamonds. Stones were DEF VS+.
7) BDI: Was the parcel of diamonds HPHT or CVD diamonds? How were the grades ascertained? Did they come with some certificate?
Ada: CVD. Non-certified goods.
8) BDI: When did you detect those undisclosed mined diamonds?
Ada: Earlier this month [May 2017]
9) BDI: You have mentioned that you look forward to collaborate with various institutions like DPA. Can you please explain how does that collaboration work and what are your expectations from DPA?
Ada: Mixing of mined and lab diamonds is bad for both the mined diamond industry and the lab diamond industry. We hope that DPA, IGDA, and the independent gemmological laboratories work together to validate all diamond testing equipment on the market today. It’s very bad for consumer confidence for $13 unreliable ‘snake oil’ tools to be sold a ‘diamond testers.’ We hope to see affordable and accurate detection tools available at a price point that all jewelers can afford.
10) BDI: After detection of those undisclosed mined diamonds, have you initiated some legal proceeding or are planning to do so?
11) BDI: Post detection, to whom did you report these undisclosed mined diamonds?
Ada: After GIA verification, we engaged the suppliers of the undisclosed mined diamonds to return those stones and ensure that future purchases from those suppliers are free of mined diamonds.
12) BDI: Mined diamond players think that this is a troll or a prank and are apparently not taking it seriously. Would you like to comment on this?
Ada: No, we are not trolling the trade. It is very important to myself and my clients that all of our diamonds are grown, not mined.
13) BDI: Can this be a deliberate plot to malign Ada diamonds or Lab-grown diamonds?
Ada: It is possible that it was a malicious act. It’s also possible that it’s an honest mistake with a few mined diamonds that were in a sieve, corner of a sorting tray, or diamond scoop.
While digging into this issue with my supply, I uncovered an interesting rumor:
Lab grown diamonds have killed demand for clarity enhanced and HPHT annealed diamonds, and today lab grown melee has a higher market price than these treated mined diamonds.
According to a trusted source, there are HPHT facilities in Asia that are using their presses to anneal cheap brown mined diamonds, and then selling them as HPHT treated CVD grown diamonds, as these fake ‘lab grown’ diamonds fetch a higher price than the current market price.
Thus, it’s possible that this is a case of financially motivated deception.
Regardless of why this happened, it will not happen to Ada again. Going forward, we’ll be sending all of our melee to GIA for screening to ensure that it is 100% as described, and encourage other jewelers to be the same. It’s quite reasonably priced and worth it for the peace of mind that all of your diamonds are of the origin you believe them to be.
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Though we sought more info and opinion on this incident, but some of our follow-up questions remained unanswered till the time of going to press.
As the possibility of such instances increase in future, it is important that all Lab-grown diamond players should become more vigilant about their supply chains to ensure that they are free from mined diamonds. International Grown Diamond Association (IGDA) has an important role to play here.