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.