Luxury jeweler Graff Diamonds pays $7.5 million worth of Bitcoin in ransom to Russian hackers

A damaging ransom attack has forced luxury British jeweler Graff Diamonds to pay $7.5 million worth of Bitcoin to a group of Russian hackers, a London lawsuit revealed.

In case of failure to pay, a group of hackers threatened to leak the private data of jeweler’s high-profile clients. Graff is known for its famous clientele, including Oprah Winfrey, the Sultan of Brunei, and royalty from the Middle East.

Graff is suing its insurer, Travelers, for refusing to cover the ransom, which is how more information about the hack came out. Graff is maintaining that the payout should have been covered by insurance.

The hack happened in September 2021, with ransomware group Conti taking responsibility and leaking data. The attack was somewhat unusual, with Conti issuing an apology to Graff’s clients from Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Qatar while also threatening to leak more data.

“We found that our sample data was not properly reviewed before being uploaded to the blog,” the hackers wrote back in October. “Conti guarantees that any information pertaining to members of Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Qatar families will be deleted without any exposure and review. Our Team apologizes to His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman and any other members of the Royal Families whose names were mentioned in the publication for any inconvenience.”

Among the leaked data was private information on celebrities like David Beckham, Oprah Winfrey, and Donald Trump, The Daily Mail reported last year.

In November, Graff ended up paying half of Conti’s initial demand, which was $15 million worth of Bitcoin. The cryptocurrency was transferred to a Bitcoin wallet at a time when the digital currency was around its all-time high of $69,000.

“The criminals threatened targeted publication of our customers private purchases,” a Graff spokesperson said. “We were determined to take all possible steps to protect their interests and so negotiated a payment which successfully neutralized that threat.”

According to the spokesperson, Graff is “extremely frustrated and disappointed by Travelers’ attempt to avoid settlement of this insured risk. They have left us with no option but to bring these recovery proceedings at the High Court.”

Graff was founded in 1960 by billionaire Laurence Graff, who is now worth $5.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index.

By Anna Golubova  Kitco News

Diamond Prices Slide Amid Economic Uncertainty

Las Vegas… Diamond market sentiment received a boost from the Las Vegas shows, which demonstrated robust US demand. However, polished prices declined amid a weak global economic outlook and a rise in inventory levels.

The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat diamonds slid 1.8% in June but increased 7.4% between the beginning of the year and July 1.

RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™)
June1H 2022Year on year
July 1, 2021, to July 1 2022
RAPI 0.30 ct.-1.0%0.2%-1.6%
RAPI 0.50 ct.-1.6%4.1%5.0%
RAPI 1 ct.-1.8%7.4%16.8%
RAPI 3 ct.-0.8%9.7%22.2%

Trading in Las Vegas reflected jewelers’ strong liquidity after a profitable 2021. Activity slowed once the fairs ended and dealers headed for vacations at the beginning of July.

There were also renewed fears of a recession; the US economy shrank 1.6% in the first quarter, and the latest data showed inflation at 8.5% in May. Consumer confidence dropped 4.5 points in June to its lowest level since February 2021, according to The Conference Board.

Chinese demand was low as well following Covid-19 lockdowns in April and May. The lack of buyers meant local jewelers had sufficient inventory for the short term.

Polished inventory in the midstream grew in June. The number of diamonds listed on RapNet rose 4.3% during the month to 1.87 million as of July 1. The high volume came despite the Russian sanctions that limited Alrosa’s rough sales and took an estimated 30% of global production off the market. Russian rough shortages are expected to impact polished supply in the coming months; manufacturers have so far been working with goods from before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Other miners are capitalizing on the new rough-market dynamic. De Beers’ June sales rose 36% year on year to $650 million after a price hike of 8% to 10% on smaller rough — a category Alrosa usually dominates.

We predict that traceable, ethical diamonds will sell at a premium to Russian diamonds as Alrosa goods reenter the market. While US jewelers are upbeat after the shows, there are political and economic headwinds that will likely disrupt the industry in the second half.

Additional information is available at www.diamonds.net.

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Report: Russia to Impose Zero VAT on Diamonds

“The government has approved amendments to the Tax Code, said Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev 

230 carat diamond Russian miner Alrosa
Alrosa Rough Diamond

According to media reports quoted by Rough & Polished, Russia’s Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev said during the Cheboksary Economic Forum that the government of the Russian Federation “approved the introduction of a zero VAT rate on rough and polished diamonds.”

“The government has approved amendments to the Tax Code, which provide for the introduction of a zero VAT rate on rough and polished diamonds,” he said on the sidelines of the Cheboksary Economic Forum.

Diamond Mine snow Russia

This decision, he reportedly added, “will facilitate growth in demand for investment diamonds within Russia.”Credit: Alrosa

Source: israelidiamond

Russia hits back at attempts to ‘politicise’ its diamonds

Alrosa rough diamonds
Alrosa rough diamonds

ussia condemned what it called a push to “politicise” its diamonds over the conflict in Ukraine and said attempts to question its compliance with the international diamond certification scheme were “totally unfounded” and “far-fetched”.

The Kimberley Process, a coalition of governments, the diamond industry and civil society responsible for certifying diamonds as conflict-free, is split over a push by Ukraine and others to expand its definition of conflict diamonds to include those funding aggression by states.

The KP Civil Society Coalition (CSC) and some member states sought to discuss whether Russia’s diamonds were helping to fund the war in Ukraine during a KP meeting in Botswana last week.

“The Russian Federation absolutely condemns the orchestrated attempts of CSC, backed by absolute minority of some Western participants, to politicize the work of the Kimberley Process by deliberately distorting or even openly replacing its basic principles,” Russia’s finance ministry said in an emailed statement. It did not specify which principles it felt were being distorted or replaced.

The CSC did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

The KP defines conflict diamonds as those that fund rebel movements seeking to overthrow legitimate governments, a narrow definition that many have sought to widen since the KP was founded in 2003.

Russia, which was KP chair last year, has “championed” work on revising the definition of conflict diamonds for the past five years, the finance ministry said, and it is committed to continuing talks on the definition.

“We therefore call on our opponents to refrain from further speculative accusations, abstain from political demagoguery and concentrate on the substantive work of the KP,” the finance ministry said.

The KP makes all decisions by consensus and the rift over Russia and Ukraine could jeopardise its effectiveness.

Source: miningweekly

Disruptor’s Dilemma: Has Lightbox Legitimized Lab-Grown?

Lightbox

When De Beers first introduced its Lightbox lab-grown jewelry brand in 2018, the diamond world sat up and took notice. The mining giant had long been outspoken about its belief that synthetic stones were neither special nor unique. And despite having entered the field itself, the company still holds by that sentiment. Since first making waves throughout the trade, it has done its utmost to create a clear distinction between the two types of stones, touting natural diamonds as a higher-value, engagement-worthy offering, and positioning Lightbox’s products in what brand CEO Steve Coe delineates as “the accessibly priced fashion-jewelry space.”

But a look at the market four years on suggests that this message may have been lost in translation.

The opening gambit

After the initial shock of the Lightbox announcement wore off, the general theory in the natural-diamond industry was that the brand was De Beers’ strategy for negating the perceived threat of lab-grown. Understood but unspoken in its marketing was that Lightbox aimed to create an alternative stream for synthetics — one that wasn’t bridal and wasn’t in that price range.

“I think there was a great opportunity for lab-grown diamonds that De Beers didn’t want to pass up,” says Dick Garard, president of the International Grown Diamond Association (IGDA). “They thought they had a marketing strategy there…. They came out with a pricing structure, and the intent was to drive the pricing down to that point. I think their overall intent was to help augment their mined-diamond business.”

Jewelry consultant Pam Danziger also took Lightbox’s debut as a warning shot to synthetics — a way of reframing them as a lesser alternative to natural stones, not as a luxury product.

“De Beers tried to tell the consumer what lab-grown diamonds were for,” she says. “They said it’s for fashion, not for anything serious. It was like they were trying to exert market control and keep lab-grown in a separate lane.”

Of course, a company as big and well-known as De Beers can’t rock the boat without creating some far-reaching ripples, and it did — just not necessarily the ones it may have been expecting.

Stamp of approval?

If De Beers’ subliminal strategy was to create an invisible barrier around the space where lab-grown was supposed to reside, the plan did not unfold as it was meant to. Rather than decreasing interest in synthetic diamonds as a viable alternative to natural, the company’s move into the space solidified lab-grown’s legitimacy among trade members and consumers alike.

“[De Beers] kind of heightened the awareness and desire for lab-grown diamonds,” explains Adrienne Fay, vice president of Warren Buffett-owned jeweler Borsheims. “Maybe it was an unintended consequence, rather than a misstep, that by trying to point out that this is a product inferior to mined diamonds, it sort of highlighted the fact that it’s actually a product very similar to mined diamonds, and that there is a demand for it.”

The De Beers name on lab-grown jewelry became the ultimate stamp of approval for customers, agrees Eileen Hopman, owner of Hopman Jewelers in Elkhart, Indiana. Whenever she saw doubt from shoppers about the validity of synthetics, she says, she would whisper the magic words: “Even De Beers is selling lab-grown.” From there, the purchase was usually a fait accompli.

Traders, too, have taken the De Beers move as an endorsement, reports Mark Clodius, owner of Clodius & Co. Jewelers in Rockford, Illinois.

“It certainly prompted overall approval throughout the industry, and quite dramatically,” he says. “It achieved so much publicity that it was hard for jewelers to ignore it.”

“What De Beers has…been successful at is having price consistency among diamond growers.”

Adrienne Fay
Vice President, Borsheims

The bridal boom

Fay, Hopman and Clodius are among the jewelers that were already carrying lab-grown diamonds before the launch of Lightbox. From the brand’s debut in 2018 until a year later, the retailers saw a big jump in growth, with sales doubling or better every year after that.

Consumer surveys appear to support this trend. The number of bridal shoppers who feel a natural diamond is important has gone down, according to a 2021 survey from wedding website The Knot. Nearly one quarter of all engagement ring purchases last year featured a man-made center stone, it found — an increase of 11% over two years. Another study, this one by jewelry insurance business Brite & Co., confirms that lab-grown is gaining on natural when it comes to bridal appeal: The market share of synthetic-diamond engagement rings grew to more than 28% in 2021 from 19% the year before, while average spending rose 9%, not far behind the 12% increase that mined stones enjoyed.

Despite the data, however, De Beers insists it will not hop on the lab-grown engagement train and says it still sees synthetics functioning most promisingly in fashion. The lower price point of that segment “opens up a very exciting opportunity for a much higher level of repeat purchases,” says Coe. “There are some retailers out there that are pushing the [engagement] avenue very strongly…but we see the big opportunity for lab-grown elsewhere.”

Still, by setting a bar and sticking to it, Lightbox might be missing out. The bulk of lab-grown sales at Borsheims are for bridal, and synthetics make up approximately 60% of engagement ring purchases at Clodius. Hopman, who first began carrying them as an alternative to natural stones, says they’ve become her bread and butter, making up 90% of all engagement center stones she sells. The lab-created gems have become so popular with her buyers that she has stopped carrying natural diamonds unless they’re preset in a piece she really likes.

“Like De Beers, we were initially promoting them more for fashion jewelry versus engagement rings,” she explains. “But more people came in and wanted bigger diamonds, and as the prices for mined diamonds began to increase, they were stuck settling for either a smaller diamond or a lesser-quality stone. And we began showing them the lab-grown. Once we let them know the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had sanctioned them as real diamonds, they took off.”

“There are some retailers out there that are pushing the [engagement] avenue very strongly…but we see the big opportunity elsewhere.”

Steve Coe
CEO, Lightbox

The price is right

One thing De Beers has managed to do, Fay believes, is contain the price of lab-grown, though not at the $800-per-carat level that Lightbox charges. Not even at the $1,500-per-carat price tag of its Finest line, which includes synthetic stones with a higher color range of D to F.

“De Beers, because they’re such a behemoth, they’re going to have an impact,” asserts Fay. “I think what De Beers has managed to disrupt, and been successful at, is having price consistency among lab-grown diamond growers.”

The figures seem to prove her right. Within six months of Lightbox’s arrival on the scene, the average discount for a 1-carat lab-grown diamond grew to 42% of the equivalent natural stone — up from 29% in January 2018, just before the De Beers brand launched, according to data that Reuters cited from industry analyst Paul Zimnisky. Meanwhile, wholesale prices for synthetics fell 13.3% from 2019 to 2020, according to online marketplace Virtual Diamond Boutique.

Clodius and Hopman are currently selling lab-grown engagement rings at approximately 50% to 70% of their natural counterparts’ prices, depending on the cut and carat weight of the stone, and the price they pay their lab-grown suppliers has dropped since 2018. However, they’re a bit more hesitant to attribute the latter development to Lightbox. So is Zimnisky.

“I believe it’s the overall fundamentals of the market that are pressuring lab-grown diamond prices — particularly the supply side of the equation — not Lightbox per se,” Zimnisky says. “Perhaps the Lightbox launch a few years back has accelerated this trend, but when you really look at the supply fundamentals of the space, how many new producers have entered the space in the recent past, I think it’s more production growth and production improvements that have accelerated supply [and] most heavily weighed on prices.”

“It was like [De Beers was] trying to exert market control and keep lab-grown in a separate lane.”

Pam Danziger
Jewelry consultant

Down the line

What does the future hold for lab-grown, and will De Beers play a role in how it gets there? The answer depends on whom you ask.

“Will lab-grown diamonds fall into fashion? Yes,” says the IGDA’s Garard. “But will they also still fall into bridal and high-end? Absolutely. And supply is too tight to meet demand currently, so to have a carat sell for $800? I think that’s a bit low.”

Zimnisky disagrees: “Ultimately, I think the Lightbox price point is the right level for the lab-grown diamond product in general. Sometimes I think it’s too low, and sometimes I feel that it’s too high, so that’s probably a sign that it’s just about right — for now, at least. However…in five years’ time, this price point will probably seem too high. I think we’ll see $500 per carat or less in 10 years’ time. Longer-term, I think the price point is what will ultimately relegate the product to more ‘fashion’-oriented — more so than marketing efforts.”

Source: Diamonds.net

Russia Crisis Puts Diamond Marketing in Jeopardy

The Natural Diamond Council (NDC) is facing a massive budget cut in 2023 unless the industry steps in to compensate for the loss of Alrosa’s financial contribution, CEO David Kellie told Rapaport News.

“We’ve probably been impacted more than anybody [by sanctions against Russian diamonds] in as much as Alrosa was almost half of our funding,” Kellie said in an interview on Thursday. “I want people to understand that we are facing this financial shortfall, and it’s up to the industry to figure out whether we want to be successful or not.”

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent sanctions placed on Alrosa, in March the miner suspended its membership of the NDC, which is mandated to promote natural diamonds on behalf of the industry. The company also stepped down from the NDC board and notified that it would cease all financial contributions.

Alrosa accounted for 45% of the NDC’s $70 million annual budget. De Beers contributes an equal amount, and the remaining members — Lucara Diamond Corp., Arctic Canadian Diamond Company, Petra Diamonds, Rio Tinto and RZM Murowa — make up the rest. India’s Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) also contributes.

The loss of Alrosa’s estimated $31.5 million will not affect the NDC’s 2022 budget since it receives funding in advance of its spending plans, Kellie noted. Rather, it impacts the group’s plans going into 2023, “leaving us with a significant challenge for next year,” he stressed. “We need to resolve this by October time to have visibility as to what our strategy will be for next year.”

Now in his third year as NDC CEO, Kellie is appealing to others in the industry to support the organization and enable it to build on the strong growth experienced last year. The jewelry sector saw double-digit growth in 2021, exceeding pre-pandemic levels, by most reports. The spike in demand also had a positive ripple effect on the rest of the diamond and jewelry market.

“I think we’ve proven what we’re capable of doing since launching the Natural Diamond Council, and the impact of consumer demand on our industry,” he explained. “The last year and a half has demonstrated that the whole value chain is dependent on consumer demand.”

The NDC launched in mid-2020, rebranding from the Diamond Producers Association (DPA) as the body responsible for category marketing and driving consumer interest in diamonds. It shifted from a reliance on one central advertising campaign toward continuous content creation suitable for all platforms, particularly social media.

Now, after Alrosa has withdrawn its funding, the NDC needs more stakeholders from the industry to fill the void, Kellie pointed out. A fraction of revenue from various points in the supply chain would massively change the ability of the NDC to drive consumer demand, he noted.

The organization is still considering how companies can contribute, as well as the general appeal it is making, which would have to align with its legal structures and bylaws. Currently, funding could be via a voluntary contribution by corporations or through retail partners investing in their locality by using the NDC’s marketing assets — an avenue that has grown over the past two years, Kellie said.

He is calling on the industry to demonstrate leadership to drive consumer demand for diamonds.

“It’s a case of how we are going to keep this incredible industry moving forward,” he stressed. “My view remains that we are half the size that we should be if we look at the industry as part of luxury and not as a commodity. I would love to continue to drive this industry forward and to build it to what I believe it should be.”

The NDC is currently shooting its 2022 campaign, which will be unveiled around September, ahead of the holiday season. Kellie declined to confirm whether actress Ana de Armas had signed as ambassador for natural diamonds for a third year.

Source: Diamonds.net

China backs Russia in opposing bid to redefine conflict diamonds

Russian rough diamonds

China has joined Russia in opposing an effort to redefine conflict diamonds to include those sold by individual nations, as a rift between Western and pro-Russia nations jeopardizes the process for certifying rough diamonds as conflict-free.

Ukraine, Australia, Britain, Canada, the European Union, the United States and civil society groups were pushing to place Russia on the agenda at this week’s Kimberley Process (KP) meeting in Botswana and to broaden the KP’s definition, under which only gems funding rebel movements are “conflict diamonds”.

Russia, the world’s biggest producer of diamonds, has said the situation in Ukraine has “no implications” for the Kimberley Process.

China agrees that the Ukraine issue falls outside the scope of the KP, the country representative told the meeting, according to three sources. China joins Belarus, Central African Republic, Kyrgyzstan and Mali in backing Russia’s stance within the body, which seems unlikely to come to any agreement.

“It’s clear that this is posing really an existential crisis for the Kimberley Process,” said Hans Merket, a researcher at Belgian non-governmental organisation IPIS, who is a member of the civil society group.

“It has become impossible to even discuss the KP’s problems and shortcomings, let alone that there would be any room for convergence on how they can be addressed.”

China’s KP representatives did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

The KP certification scheme, designed to eliminate the trade in so-called “blood diamonds”, was set up in 2003 after devastating civil wars in Angola, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, which were largely financed by the illicit diamond trade.

The Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition and some member states have been arguing to broaden that definition for years, but it is difficult to do as the KP makes decisions by consensus.

Jacob Thamage of Botswana, the current KP chair, said that more participants now believe reform is needed.

Source: mining.com

Small diamond miners want big licence holders built in so they can grow sector together

Namaqualand, South Africa

Small diamond miners want to lock arms with all stakeholders through the South African Diamond Producers’ Organisation (Sadpo) to recover a large number of lost jobs and to realise the full potential value of alluvial diamonds.

“The role of Sadpo is to take on those big conversations and make sure that we not only have the right regulations, but also the right and the best relationships between the key stakeholders, not just government, but also that the big licence holders like De Beers are built in, so that we can grow the sector together and create jobs,” new Sadpo CEO Yamkela Makupula told Mining Weekly in a Zoom interview. (Also watch attached Creamer Media video with introduction by Sadpo chairperson Gert van Niekerk.)

As has been reported by Mining Weekly, the average value of the mines in which Makupula is personally invested is around $3 000/ct and sometimes upwards of $3 000/ct.

Sadpo has regularly pointed out that alluvial diamond mining has the potential to uplift rural communities in some of the poorest parts of South Africa by creating much-needed employment along with wealth.

It is an organisation set on taking the burden of compliance, bureaucracy and organised crime off the shoulders of small operators to enable them to do what they know best – find diamonds.

There has been a 90% decline in the number of small South African alluvial diamond miners. In 2004, there were 2 000 of them employing around 25 000 people compared with the current situation of only 200 small operators employing 5 000 people.

Makupula spoke of most of the communities around the well-endowed Middle Orange River, for example, being doomed without alluvial diamond mining, which has a potential lifespan of another 100 years, especially in the West Coast, and contributes a reported 25% of diamond gross domestic product.

“We’re hoping with the new proposed policy that is coming from government that we can start looking into some of the quick wins,” Makupula said.

In the past few months, Makupula and Van Niekerk have been speaking to the key licence holders on the West Coast and found the biggest issue to be illegal mining.

“We’ve been on sites where you walk in with a licence holder who is not able to do anything,” said Makupula.

The licence holder would be with them but fearful because of the visibility of guns.

“It’s organised crime that is affecting a lot of people who ask how they are going to enter this industry when it’s that risky,” she said, adding that current bureaucracy results in it taking more than a year to go through a licence application process, at a cost of about R200 000, with no guarantee of operation owing to organised crime.

Mining Weekly: When will the sharp decline in small South African diamond mine operators be reversed from its lowly 200 operations employing only 5 000 people?

Makupula: We’re hoping with the new proposed policy that is coming from government that we can start looking into some of the quick wins… we need to be able to get to a point where the one blanket approach is no longer on the table. I’ll just give you an example where Sadpo got involved with a previously disadvantaged individual who was actually looking for a mining permit on a 5 ha farm. When we looked into the process, we found that he had to pay R130 000 to get the licence. It took him 13 months to 15 months and that was with Sadpo involved on a day-to-day basis, assisting. That needs to go on the table. Our people don’t have R200 000 odd that they can put up front before they even open doors. Those are the types of issues that we are having and that are now affecting the employment rate.

What steps are being taken to ensure that diamonds are recovered in a responsible manner that protects the environment?

Currently, I can safely say, from all the meetings that we’ve had with our members, that we are not using any chemicals to extract our diamonds. We have been very compliant from a health and safety perspective. Hence, you have not seen a lot of issues coming specifically from our sector. That for me speaks volumes and from a rehabilitation perspective, we’re very compliant. Whenever an issue arises, Sadpo quickly speaks openly to its members to ensure compliance when it comes to our health and safety.

What will Sadpo do to encourage operators to make use of state-of-the-art geological modelling, novel earthmoving and screening techniques, and the latest recovery technology?

I’d love to think that at some point we will get to where our members are using this modern technology because this beautiful technology has quick turnaround times and is coming right across the world. But the reality for us is that we’re dealing here with small operators, who, by doing things the old school way, have the opportunity to create more jobs in communities. But also from a funding perspective, this new technology and machinery needs a lot of upfront funding. Sadpo has been doing research with the Council for Geoscience to see how we ensure that proper due diligence is done in some of our own operations for us to still be able to use the state-of-the-art technology, but in a much more affordable way.

How large is your own shareholding in active alluvial diamond operations?

I am operating in the Middle Orange River. That’s where my operations are. I’m a 30% shareholder. It’s alluvial. I’ve been there now for a year and also with a tender house in Schwarzer-Reineke, where I’m also a 30% shareholder. In the Middle Orange River, we have about five to six operations. We are on the middle tier, plus 500 people from a job perspective, and so that’s where I’m at. It’s been exciting. I’m still a new player in the industry and enjoying the growth of it. I have been dealing with regulations for most of my career life, not just in South Africa, but also in Angola and Ghana. I’ve been dealing with communities of work as an economic adviser in Parliament, from a rural settlements perspective, advising traditional leaders, and various other committees. That’s where my background comes from and my personal belief is that the regulations, the policies, they’re as guidelines. They give an operator an understanding of what needs to be done to comply, but I’m a big believer for all of that to happen, it comes down to people and relationships, and we can grow this country, as long as we don’t do it dividedly.

ALLUVIAL SOURCE

In officially announcing her appointment as CEO, Van Niekerk described Makupula as an international businesswoman who is currently the head of Africa growth strategy of international law firm Diaz, Reus & Targ and a former partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

As has been explained by Nastoplex shareholder and CEO Lyndon De Meillon, the source of the diamonds in the alluvial terraces of the Middle Orange River is mainly Lesotho, where the highest value per carat kimberlites are situated, and also the famous kimberlites in the Kimberley area.

Attrition during river transport, De Meillon pointed out, had ensured that the best quality stones were preserved in the terraces downstream of Douglas.

The area is well known for its exceptional white stones and regularly produces the highest value per carat stones sold in the world on an annual basis.

It is also a source of colour diamonds, and pinks and vivid yellows are often also recorded.

In terms of carats per hundred tonnes, the deposits can only be described as ultra-low grade, and the operators in this area are a special grade of entrepreneur with a high appetite for risk, while being exceptionally skilled at low-cost earthmoving.

See interview here: miningweekly

What is a ‘lab grown diamond’ ?

Laboratory grown rough diamonds

What is a ‘lab grown diamond’ ?

Laboratory grown diamond term is still a source of confusion for many diamond buyers and jewellers.

Natural Diamonds have been high coveted and sort after for thousands of years.

Diamonds have always been a status symbol for the elite and super wealthy, only becoming available to the general populations after large discoveries and marketing by the De Beers group.

The demand for mined diamonds has grown over the past century, At same time the source of new ground to mine has become ever increasingly hard to find or work.

This created the need for a scientific way to create alternatives. Enter Lab grown diamonds, or laboratory created diamonds.

Many Jewellers and most consumers are still confused about the process of creating a diamond, and how these stones actually differ from mined diamonds.

Laboratory grown diamonds are precisely the same in every way to mined diamonds but one. How the diamonds carbon bond grows under heat and pressure.

The growth structure of the carbon in natural mined diamond is haphazard and mixed with elements other than carbon. Nitrogen is the most common.

Lab grown are pure carbon for the most part, with distinctive growth structures visible under high magnification in gemological equipment available at the worlds notable laboratories.

How Can You Tell the Difference Between Lab Grown Diamonds?

Short answer is you can’t.

Lab grown diamonds are visually indistinguishable from natural diamonds, Not even and expert can tell the difference without gemological tasting equipment.

DTC Diamond View at the DCLA Laboratory Sydney

While some differences in old HPHT Lab diamonds can be identified under a special microscope, there’s nothing obvious about a lab grown diamond.

So how can a laboratory tell the difference?

Almost all natural diamonds contain traces of nitrogen, This is actually what gemologists use to screen out potential lab grown diamonds for further testing.

The actual gemological test requires state of the art gemological equipment. No counter top testers can prove the origin.

Are lab grown as durable as natural ?

The fact is lab grown diamonds are identical natural diamonds in strength, most of which have no flaws which could cause durability issues.

So as to the question Is a Lab Grown Diamond a Real Diamond ?

Polished lab Grown Diamond at the DCLA

Answer is, Yes, lab grown diamonds are 100% as real as diamonds that have been mined from the earth.

Not only are they identical in every single way except origin, they have all the same optical properties as mined diamonds.

DCLA remains the only laboratory in Australia that guarantees, every diamond ever graded has been tested for origin and all known treatments.