While panelists at a recently held conference of Accredited Gemologists Association voiced some concerns about challenges faced regarding Lab-grown diamonds, Tom Chatham, President of Chatham Created Gems & Diamonds, a lab-grown gems producer, mentioned that resistance to Lab-grown diamonds comes from psychological fear of change. Dismissing the hype created about undisclosed lab-growns in the market, Chatham emphasized that there are very few producers in the world who can grow high gem-quality diamonds. His point is also supported by a recent NMDC report that diamond mixing is exaggerated and the lab-grown diamond production is a miniscule proportion of the world rough production (Appx. 350,000 carats compared to over 125 million of mined roughs)
Chatham also mentioned that they don’t want to hurt the mined diamonds market. There is ample opportunity and market for lab-grown diamonds and mined diamonds to coexist. Ronald VanderLinden, President of Diamond Manufacturers and Importers Association, says that market has great possibility and since most of the diamond mines will exhaust in 20-25 years, he recommends to embrace Lab-grown diamonds, which “will be part of our future”, rather than the existing tweaking of Diamond Source Warranty Protocol so retailers demand not to buy lab-grown gems.
Dr. James Shigley from GIA and Dusan Simic, President of Analytical Gemology and Jewelry lab were both of the opinion that there are enough checks, balances and technology that exists to counter any undisclosed mixing and assured the Industry about diamond identification.
While debates on the lab-grown diamonds will continue, there has been indications of rising acceptance and popularity of lab-growns owning most to increased awareness and education.
Source: Bates, R. (2014) “AGA Addresses Lab-Grown Diamond Issue in Las Vegas”, JCK Magazine