Why BDB may lift ban on Lab-grown Diamonds

Lab-grown Diamonds
[Image Courtesy: MGS Architecture, Bharat Diamond Bourse]

In 2015, Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) became the second diamond exchange after Israel Diamond Exchange, to impose ban on Lab-grown Diamonds from its trading floors (Though it allowed trading of Lab-grown diamonds in the same building). In 2017, there were some talks in the media that BDB may consider lifting this ban. However, after getting inundated with inquiries and pressure from the industry, BDB clarified that it is not lifting the ban and its President Anoop Mehta was misquoted by Rapaport.


And now, according to a recent media report, BDB is again contemplating to lift the ban and allow trading of Lab Created Diamonds on its trading floors, within next six months.



What changed to prompt BDB even consider lifting the ban?


BDB President Anoop Mehta said “We have received representations from a number of our members on (allowing the trade of) synthetic diamonds and we will discuss this at the board level before convening an EGM to allow the same in the next five to six months”


The justification of the 2015 ban was the apparent stories of mixing of Lab-grown diamonds with Earth-mined diamonds. While in most of the cases these remained only ‘stories’,


according to Anoop Mehta “We are now considering approving lab-grown diamond trade because they’ve become easy to identify with technology advancements and adequate machines available with the trade to identify and certify them.”


This justification again doesn’t seem right, considering there were ample and affordable detection machines already available.



So, what’s the real reason?


Two hypotheses – One, the industry including the diamond exchange were earlier myopic in their vision and now considering the real demand from consumers for Lab-grown diamonds, have realized where the future direction of the industry is.


Second, after De Beers launched its Lab-grown diamond jewelry line – Lightbox, it is pushing BDB to lift the ban so that its Lab-created stones can be traded on the floors.



Is De Beers capable of doing this?



So, is the rest of the industry fool?

Definitely not. But they indeed have been blindsided, manipulated and dominated by likes of De Beers over all these decades.


Has De Beers done this before?

Yes. It has monopolized the industry and strong arm-twisted its own sightholders in past who even thought of venturing into Lab-grown diamonds.



But why then De Beers itself forayed into Lab-grown diamonds?

It was always invested in Lab-grown diamonds since decades, through its subsidiary – Element Six. It wanted to first sell off its mined diamonds as much as it can, and when the time is right and market for Lab-grown diamonds evolves, officially venture into and again monopolize the Lab-grown diamond market.


So, everyone is just following the herd?

Probably yes.


Including BDB?

Seems like that.



There are more hypothesis about the reasons why BDB may consider lifting the ban on Lab-grown diamonds, and couple of them are actually quite intriguing but we don’t want to get into that yet.


Industry veteran David S. Geller makes a point that keeping all traditions and marketing gimmicks of love, rarity etc. aside, jewellers should consider business economics and start selling Lab-grown Diamonds since that is what the customers want.


By banning Lab-grown diamonds from its floor, BDB made a mistake in the first place of robbing consumers of ethical choices. Hope that its decision to lift the ban or not is based on logical and economic reasons, keeping future of all stakeholders in mind, and not under pressure from few players and experts with vested interests.


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