lab made diamonds,

  • A Diamond By Any Other Name Just Isn’t As Sweet

                                                                                      

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    Last week I came across aNY Times articlethat breaks down the elements that actually make a diamond. This short article got me thinking about the difference between man made vs. naturally occurring diamonds, and the confusion around both. Below I’ve shared my thoughts on this.

    A man made or lab made diamond is omitting the timelessness and everlasting value a naturally occurring diamond possesses. It takes away the precious scarcity and value that has made today’s diamonds so popular and desired. Although to the naked eye, these so-called diamonds may look similar, they are quite fake and unfortunately do not hold their value. Also, rarely talked about is the fact that these man made “diamonds” actually give off a blue hue.

    Imagine years later passing down a lab made stone...one that no longer holds its value due to how common it is to create. Now imagine passing down a family heirloom diamond, one that no matter how old or dusty it becomes, remains timeless. A prized treasure for generations to come. It’s the scarcity and naturally occurring timeless beauty you are purchasing when you seek out a precious diamond gem.

    As this article states, “Just as one cannot compare an original painting to a reproduction, one cannot compare a diamond to a manufactured replica”. In order to be called a diamond it must be naturally occurring.

    Trends around diamond shape, diamond settings, and gem color may come and go, but the beauty that is of a true diamond is everlasting.

    Have questions or comments? Share them them below, we’d love to hear from you.

    -LB

  • The Good, the Bad & the Ugly: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About The Diamond Industry

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    You’re about to make the biggest purchase of your life, yet wish you could clarify a few questions and clear up a few rumors you have heard about the diamond industry as a whole. Well look no further because we’re debunking some of the common misconceptions in hopes you breathe a sigh of relief.

    Myth: Diamond mining is terrible for the environment

    Reality: Considering little to no chemicals are used during diamond mining, (which would otherwise be harmful to the staff’s health), diamond mining is generally less harmful to the environment than other types of mining. Additionally, the orebodies used in mining are vertical not horizontal, ultimately affecting less of the surrounding area. Many companies have established protected habitats adjacent to their operations, often times larger than the mining operation itself.

    Myth: There is a high chance that you could buy a conflict diamond

    Reality: One of the most popularized myths of all is the issue of conflict diamonds — or “blood diamonds”. During the brutal civil wars in Sierra Leone and Angola in the 1990s, the diamond industry has made great strides given what this time unveiled. Since the introduction of the Kimberley Process (KP) certification scheme and the World Diamond Council (WDC) System of Warranties, more than 99.8% of the world’s diamonds are certified conflict-free, with the support of 81 countries.

    Today the industry is mostly self-regulated, and various countries have additional layers of government regulation in place. The UK’s Government Diamond Office, for example, works closely with HM Revenue & Customs, the European Commission and civil groups to combat illicit diamonds.

    Additionally, there are voluntary and self-regulation systems that are effective in maintaining the diamond pipeline. Like most jewelers, we want to ensure our customers have the confidence to know that our source of supply is conflict-free. Additionally, may jewelers subscribe to the Responsible Jewelery Council, De Beers’ Best Practice Principles, and the Signet Responsible Sourcing Protocol.

    Myth: The diamond industry is a monopoly, owned by De Beers.

    Reality: The good news is no one company has had controlled the market for decades. This myth dates back to the 1980’s when De Beers did indeed control over 90% of the supply chain and was almost wholly responsible for marketing diamonds, having developed its famous “A Diamond Is Forever” slogan in the 1940s. This also led to the perception that De Beers “invented” the diamond engagement ring, when in fact the first was recorded as early as 1477 byArchduke Maximillian of Austria, who commissioned the very first diamond engagement ring on record for his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy.

    By the 1990s, the market for new mining companies opened, breaking the hold that De Beers and Alrosa had on the industry and ushering in a new wave of diamond discoveries in Angola and Canada, according to Pouroulis.

    Today De Beers company share of the diamond market is closer to 35%, while five other companies divide the remaining 65% of diamond share.

    Myth: Diamond mining individuals and communities are mistreated and at-risk

    Reality: To first understand why this myth is so false, you must first understand how the mining process works and how much diamond mines actually help strengthen a community. The isolated nature of diamond mines means the workforce lives close by and develops a community spirit, which the diamond industry supports by investing in hospitals, schools, training and bursary programs.

    For example, 33% of Botswana’s GDP comes from diamond mining, and an estimated five million people globally have access to health care thanks to diamond revenues, according to diamondfacts.org.

    Today’s mining is not done by hand but is quite automated with miners moving millions of tons of rocks per year. Miners operating large earth loaders in open pits or underground would never even see a diamond.

    Myth: The diamond industry is secretive and closed to outsiders and not to be trusted.  

    Reality: This myth simply stems from a place of fear. The high-value nature of diamonds may be to blame for the presumption that the industry is filled with inaccessible people and organizations, more comfortable with secrecy than transparency. The reality is there is a whole spectrum of hard-working people all at different levels of financial success. Just like any business, success in the diamond industry is all dependent on how a business has been built.

    It’s not uncommon for society to expect to see businesses reporting on their social activities, financials and stakeholders to increase transparency and trust. This shift in societal expectation has created major changes in the diamond sector for the better - more transparency and more trust.

    You might also be pleased to know that diamond retailers such as De Beers are not sitting on stockpiles of diamonds nowadays, but instead build up inventory before making a sale as any retailer would.

    Have a question that wasn’t addressed above? Leave us a comment below!

    ~ LB

  • The True Value of a Man-Made “Diamond”

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    History has a funny way of repeating itself, and the man-made diamond industry is no exception. If you’re familiar with the simple rules of supply and demand, then you understand that as supply goes up, demand goes down. Applying this same rule to man-made diamonds, you can quickly  understand why it will be hard for them to maintain their long term value.

    From the Experts

    But don’t just take our word for it, on Dec. 21, 2018, a Reutersreport quoted analyst Paul Zimnisky as saying lab diamond prices had softened considerably. Another report fromBain & Co. stated the “Production of lab-grown diamonds has risen dramatically and will continue to do so, though their prices will likely continue to fall.”

    This report mentions that “It costs $300–$500 per ct. to produce a CVD lab-grown diamond, compared with $4,000 per ct. in 2008, and calculates that the retail price of gem-quality lab-grown diamonds has fallen by about half in the past two years, while wholesale prices have fallen threefold. It forecasts that trend will continue as efficiencies increase, new competitors enter the market, and the product gets “commoditized.”

    As the manufacturing technology for these lab-made diamonds improves, the stones’ prices will decrease. One jeweler remembers when cubic zirconia was $800 per ct. Created gems are, like created diamonds, chemically the same as their mined counterparts. But their values are very different.  Unlike the earth, which has a limited supply of diamonds, factories can mass-produce these stones, and that will drive prices down in the long run. (JCK)

    Held to the Same Standards

    If these man-man diamond resellers are selling their goods as diamonds, or, put another way, if man-made diamonds we’re true diamonds, then they should: (JCK)

    • Be under the Patriot Act: Under the Patriot Act, dealers who sell more than $50,000 in precious stones, gems, and jewelry are required to maintain an anti–money laundering (AML) program and conduct appropriate due diligence, including fully identifying business partners and monitoring transactions.
    • Disclose information about the specific location: where the diamonds are produced
    • Disclose the treatment that was required:It’s no secret that an overwhelming majority of lab-grown diamonds are treated by either electron irradiation or high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT). (UPDATE: Some commenters disagree with the phrase “overwhelming majority.”)
    • Disclose whether some stones in a piece are natural: Some consumers clearly prefer man-made gems. They shouldn’t buy mined diamonds believing they are lab-grown, and vice versa.

    But What About the Environment?

    There is a common misconception that lab made diamonds are more eco-friendly. You see in order for a lab made diamonds to be created, it actually involves more chemicals and electricity consumption and is worse for the environment than those that are naturally occurring. Not to mention unregulated laborers. This topic rarely touches on the other side- the communities in Africa that heavily rely on the diamond business for their wellbeing - it is often their family business. “Tens of millions of people rely on the diamond industry for income, among them the poorest people on earth trying to make an honest living. There are an estimated 1.5 million artisanal miners digging for diamonds in Africa, and they support another 7 million people with their earnings. Advocating synthetics as an ethical substitute for natural diamonds threatens the livelihood of those diggers.” (Rapaport)

    Ethically Sourced Only

    At La Bijouterie, we never work with conflict diamonds. We strictly work with ethically sourced GIA certified diamonds, and you will receive a GIA certificate and appraisal with your jewel. We’ve worked in the diamond wholesale business for generations and only work with trusted and ethical sources.

    If you are against buying diamonds, or perhaps a diamond is simply not in your repertoire of jewelry taste, then you may enjoy looking at a sapphire, emerald, ruby, or other colored diamond gems. We are happy to walk you through our selection of precious stones to help you find the one that speaks to you.

    Closing Thoughts

    At La Bijouterie, it has always been our primary goal to help customers start their journey to marriage with a wise diamond purchase- creating a tangible symbol of their love,  and a ring that makes sense financially. After generations in the diamond business, one thing is certain. If we cared more about our profit margins than our customers and our integrity, we would sell man-made diamonds, as the sell price to actual cost ratio is much greater than the profit made on the sale of a diamond. But this is not what our company values or what we’ve based our business model on, especially since we know a man-made diamond does not hold its value. As your personal jeweler, this is not a financial decision we would advise upon. Let it be known that we are not against man-made diamonds, but instead, are against their value, (or lack thereof). Read more about this topic.

    Only a natural diamond has the rarity that supports its economic and emotional value. Consumers use diamonds as a symbol of love for that very reason. We all want to feel special, unique and rare, especially in our relationships, and a diamond communicates that message. (Rapaport)

    ~ LB