Safeguarding the Public Trust in Diamonds By Bill Boyajian

This recent series on synthetic diamonds was designed to introduce these products to the consuming public, and to identify the ethical issues surrounding accurate promotion and representation of them. In a world focused on transparency, social responsibility, and truth in advertising, it is vital that man made diamonds are properly identified and accurately represented to the jewelry-buying public.

To facilitate this transparency and to eliminate the possibility of ambiguity, leading members of the diamond and jewelry trade have developed elaborate systems to clearly identify DSC_0733their gems and jewelry, and to safeguard the public’s trust in their products. For example, Gabriel & Co., a leading designer-manufacturer and supplier to thousands of retailers, assures its clients that the diamonds mounted in their jewelry pieces are compliant with the Kimberley Process, which ensures they are conflict-free. In addition, all natural diamonds that Gabriel & Co. uses can be verified through its stringent sourcing and tracking processes, ensuring proper identification.

Many retailers are hesitant to offer synthetic diamonds to their customers as a less expensive alternative to natural diamonds. A big part of their concern is whether increased production of manmade diamonds will drive the price (and the value) of the product down, and not serve the long-term interests of their customers. Time will tell whether synthetic diamonds will make a significant impact in the marketplace. For now, manmade diamonds represent only a fraction of 1% of the total diamond jewelry market, although that percentage is growing annually.


The Ethics and Transparency of Manmade Diamonds By Bill Boyajian

Growth in the production of synthetic diamonds in recent years has heralded new considerations for an industry focused primarily on selling natural, mined diamonds. At least one synthetic diamond company, Diamond Foundry, also supported by movie star Leonardo DiCaprio, is claiming that manmade diamonds are a more ethical alternative than natural diamonds.

Such claims raise questions about the way synthetic diamonds are currently marketed and whether it is misleading to present them this way to consumers.  Staunch supporters of “fair trade” diamonds and the millions of artisanal diamond diggers, whose livelihoods depend on natural diamond mining, take serious issue with such claims.

Notwithstanding the need for accurate promotion and marketing of synthetics, an even more fundamental issue is one of proper identification and transparency of the product itself. The natural diamond industry has throughout history been challenged by manmade look-alikes, numerous treatments and deceptions of the gem, and, more recently, the scourge of “conflict diamonds,”

To facilitate greater transparency, leading members of the diamond and jewelry industry have taken specific steps to protect themselves and the public. For example, Gabriel & Co. has maintained a serialized tracking system for all of its fine diamond jewelry pieces throughout its many years of doing business.

It’s a new dawn, and ethical issues need to be managed properly by every member of the jewelry industry. Every dealer, designer, and retailer must be responsible and accountable for the use of clear and unambiguous nomenclature with synthetic diamonds. Ultimately, it is the consumer’s opinion that counts, and that is why the trade must disclose properly, describe accurately, and demand equity and ethical behavior in order to maintain the public’s confidence and trust in diamonds.

An Introduction to Manmade Diamonds By Bill Boyajian

Introduction to the series. A note from Gabriel & Co.:

Gabriel & Co. has long supported clear, accurate, and unambiguous disclosure of natural mined diamonds as well as all man-made and treated gem materials. In support of full disclosure, Gabriel & Co. has chosen to use only natural diamonds that can be verified through our stringent sourcing and tracking processes. 

This series of articles on synthetic diamonds is designed to educate and inform readers on the importance of proper knowledge and disclosure of man-made diamonds. The diamond industry has long strived to create an industry standard for natural diamonds formed over millions of years and are now mined with conflict free processes, transparent sourcing and valid tracking principles – the same industry standards should be created for man-made diamonds that support full disclosure.

Gabriel & Co. has invited Bill Boyaijian, graduate gemologist, former president of the GIA, and founder and CEO of Bill Boyajian & Associates as a guest blogger to write a series of articles for  “Are Diamonds Forever” blog. This blog’s intention is to inform consumers on what they are actually purchasing to better suit their needs. You can also find more on the subject by going to http://www.jckonline.com/2016/03/29/history-and-technology-behind-lab-grown-diamonds.


When Mary Frances Gerety of the advertising agency, NW Ayer, famously coined the slogan “a diamond is forever,” she may not have imagined that diamonds would one day become manmade creations. But progress and technology wait for no one. And so it is with even the hardest – and arguably one of the most beautiful – substances known to humankind.

In 1954 Tracy Hall of General Electric Corporation created the first industrial-quality synthetic diamond. Since then, the wheels of heavy machinery (and even delicate tools and equipment), have rolled on the massive production ofiStock_000061720418_Small synthetic diamond. Yet the human quest to create larger and better quality manmade diamonds began, and though it has taken decades to perfect their gem-quality production, they are now a factor to deal with for the natural diamond trade, and an emerging alternative for the diamond buying public.

Diamonds are made up of almost 100% pure carbon, and under tremendous heat and pressure form diamond crystals of potentially great value. So for years these precious stones have been copied in appearance by numerous “look-alike” gem materials, some natural, but most manmade. Many people are familiar with the common imitation, Cubic Zirconia (also known as CZ), a manmade product that looks like diamond, but doesn’t replicate the unusual and lasting qualities of a true diamond. CZ is best referred to as an “imitation” of diamond.

Manmade diamonds (synthetics) have essentially the same optical, physical, and chemical properties as their natural counterparts. To be sure, they ARE diamond, yet made by man. Perhaps even Mary Frances Gerety would appreciate that.


About Bill Boyajian:

Bill is a Graduate Gemologist and expert in the diamond and gemstone trade.  He is the former long-time president of the Gemological Institute of America, and is currently founder & CEO of Bill Boyajian & Associates, Inc. His company consults for a wide variety of businesses in the gem and jewelry industry, specializing in leadership, business management, organizational development, family transition, and succession planning. Bill is the author of Developing the Mind of a Leader – Your Path to Lead and Inspire People. He is a sought-after business coach, advisor, and speaker, and can be reached at bill@billboyajianassociates.com.