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Sunday, May 25, 2014

AGA and NCDIA To Host Discussions on Lab-Grown Diamonds

A 2.02-carat round lab-grown diamond with J color and VS 1 clarity by Gemesis. It sells for $16,927.60.

Lab-grown diamonds are a hot topic right now. There are two issues dominating the industry.

The most important is what to call these diamonds. The industry has been pretty successful pushing the word “synthetic” as a way to identify them for consumers but it has always been controversial as these gems are real diamonds grown in a lab and the word “synthetic” means fake. “Lab-grown” is the term I use to identify these diamonds because I think it is more accurate. This goes against the every diamond and gem organization that has written rules for the industry to follow as they prefer using “synthetic.”

The other issue is that some diamond dealers are mixing less costly lab-grown diamonds with mined diamonds. Both the Gemological Institute of America and De Beers, and probably others, have built machines that they say are capable of detecting these diamonds.

Regardless of the controversies and the fact that many in the traditional diamond industry see them as a threat, lab-grown diamonds are here to stay and will continue to be a greater part of the diamond and gem mix, as laboratory techniques become more accessible and less expensive.

There will be at least two organizations that will address the issues of these diamonds for the trade during the Las Vegas jewelry shows, which begins Tuesday and runs through June 2.

The Accredited Gemologists Association will host a four-hour panel discussion beginning 1 p.m. on May 29 at Platinum Hotel. Speakers are James Shigley, research fellow of the Gemological Institute of America, Tom Chatham, president, Chatham Created Gems; Dusan Simic, president of Analytical Gemology and Jewelry Laboratory, and Ronnie VanderLinden, president of the Diamond Manufacturer's and Importers Association (DMIA) and Diamex, Inc. For more information got to www.accreditedgemologists.org.

Shigley will provide information on identification techniques for lab-created diamonds, and Dusan Simic will present breaking news on affordable options now available for identifying mounted as well loose diamonds, including melee sizes. Tom Chatham, a respected grower, will give a producer's insights into current and projected production estimates, while diamond dealer Ronnie Vanderlinden will share his thoughts on why he, a well known natural diamond dealer, decided to sell lab-grown diamonds as well as natural. In addition, the Q&A session will be extended to allow attendees to play a more interactive role in creating an in-depth discussion and understanding of the market and where it is headed.

Meanwhile, the Natural Color Diamond Association will host its own panel discussion on lab-grown diamonds and discuss how they affect the trade as part of the education program at the JCK Las Vegas jewelry tradeshow at Mandalay Bay. The session will be held May 30 at 1 p.m. The panelists will discuss policies regarding synthetic diamonds, whether they are relative today and potential solutions to any outstanding issues.

The panel will include Cecilia Gardner, president, CEO and general counsel of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, Charles Stanley, president of Forevermark US, Ronnie Vanderlinden, president of the Diamond Manufacturers & Importers Association, James Shigley, Gemological Institute of America Research Fellow, and Thomas Gelb, NCDIA education director.

Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes website.

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