Young Shoppers Take Shine to Lab-Grown Diamonds

Pandora’s abandonment of mined diamonds has apparently not hindered its standing with younger consumers.

Speaking to the Financial Times (FT) Tuesday (May 7), Alexander Lacik, CEO of the mass-market jeweler, said younger buyers helped fuel a boom in lab-grown stones that had led to a decline in sales of mined diamonds, and helped the company best its luxury rivals.

Lab-grown diamonds are opening up the industry to new consumers, he said, as these stones are usually about a third of the cost of the alternative.

“People are discovering that a diamond is a diamond. It’s a different value proposition, and people are voting with their wallets,” Lacik told the FT. “Older customers are more wedded to mined diamonds. Younger ones are more open to lab-grown.”

The report notes that Pandora became the first major jeweler to move to a lab-grown-diamond-only strategy in 2021 as it pushed to expand its offerings beyond the charm bracelets and necklaces for which it had been known.

The company nearly doubled its sales of lab-grown diamonds in the first quarter, increasing revenue by 87%, the FT said.

Gen Z’s embrace of lab-grown diamonds makes sense in light of PYMNTS Intelligence research showing that this age group — more so than other younger consumers — is most likely more likely to point to buying an expensive retail product as their main financial goal than to mention paying for an upcoming event or show.

“In fact, consumers in this group are seven times as likely to prioritize the former as the latter,” PYMNTS wrote last month.

By contrast, millennial and bridge millennial consumers were the most likely to list paying for an event or show as their top goal.

“By 2030, barely five years from now, Gen Z will represent a third of the workforce. Their disposable income is projected to increase by sevenfold and their spending by sixfold as their incomes rise and they begin to benefit from the $90 trillion transfer of wealth headed their way from parents and grandparents,” PYMNTS CEO Karen Webster wrote recently.

“For that reason, Gen Z is the generation that all businesses are courting — they are their future workers, customers, business partners and investors.”

At the same time, this age group is also struggling to make ends meet, with 59% of Gen Z consumers living paycheck to paycheck, despite half of them not paying rent or mortgage.

“With such a financial cushion, the question remains as to why these young adults struggle to live within their means,” PYMNTS wrote last month. “One answer: Gen Z consumers cite splurging on nonessential items as a top reason for their financial lifestyle.”

Source: pymnts.com

AGTA Bans Lab-Grown Diamonds, Gemstones at GemFair

The American Gem Trade Association announced that, starting at Tucson next year, exhibitors will not be allowed to sell lab-grown diamonds or colored gemstones at the AGTA GemFair.

National Jeweler received a news release on AGTA’s decision via email Wednesday morning. The release also was posted on the AGTA website, though it had been removed by Wednesday evening.

AGTA CEO John W. Ford Sr. said the news release was “pulled by error,” and would be reposted today.

According to the release, AGTA’s new rule bans the display of loose gemstones or jewelry “comprising non-natural gemstones, ones that are man-made, synthetic, or lab grown.”

AGTA said its dealers can still sell lab-grown gems if they are disclosed, but only natural gems can be made available for purchase at GemFair.

The association said it enacted the ban to “thwart potential confusion,” confusion it sees happening in the lab-grown diamond industry and fears will affect the colored gemstone industry, even though lab-grown colored stones have been around for more than a century.

When asked what led to the belief that confusion was occurring, or could occur, in the colored gemstone market, Ford said in an email to National Jeweler, “Look no further than the chaos created by synthetics in the diamond industry … Our action is also in response to considerable concerns voiced by AGTA membership in relation to the adverse effects that synthetics could also potentially cause in the colored gemstone industry.”

While the AGTA’s decision has made headlines, it does not seem poised to have a big impact on AGTA GemFair exhibitors, few of whom sell lab-grown gemstones anyway.

In his email, Ford said out of the 260 exhibitors of loose or set gemstones at the 2024 AGTA GemFair Tucson, only two list that they sell synthetic gemstones in the AGTA Source Directory.

“Since sending out over (260) 2025 AGTA GemFair Tucson renewals, we’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response from the vast majority of our exhibitors, greatly outweighing any negative responses,” he said.

Related stories will be right here …

In its news release, AGTA also noted that lab-grown gemstones lack the value inherent to natural gemstones, which are rare and sometimes inimitable.

“AGTA felt that it needed to be crystal clear to buyers that when they attend an AGTA show, they know that they are only shopping mined natural gems from the earth,” said Kimberly Collins, AGTA board president and owner of Kimberly Collins Colored Gems.

“AGTA dealers pride themselves in sourcing superior gems that are rare, beautiful, and natural.”

AGTA also notes that “synthetic gems are not minerals.”

The association said it recognizes two definitions of the word “mineral”—that of the British Geological Survey, defining a mineral as “a naturally occurring substance with distinctive chemical and physical properties, composition, and atomic structure” and that of the U.S. Geological Survey, which defines a mineral as a “naturally occurring inorganic element or compound having an orderly internal structure and characteristic chemical composition, crystal form, and physical properties.”

“The definitions are essentially the same, but the keyword in both that is important is use of the word ‘natural,’” said AGTA board member John Bradshaw.

“It’s important to indicate that synthetic gems are not considered minerals, because minerals are natural, and synthetics are not.”

Source: Nationaljeweler

UK synthetic diamond firm told ads cannot describe diamonds as ‘real’

Ads for synthetic diamond jewellery have been banned after the UK company behind them, Skydiamond, did not make it clear they were not real.

Even though the strapline of the newspaper advert was the “world’s first and only diamond made entirely from the sky” and a social media ad said “love is… a diamond gift made from the sky”, there were complaints from the National Diamond Association.

The advertising regulator upheld the complaints and concluded that the ads were misleading and said they could not appear again in the same form, including on the company’s website without, better explanation.

Skydiamond, the trading name for The Sky Mining Company Ltd, was told by the Advertising Standards Authority not to use the terms “diamonds”, “diamonds made entirely from the sky” and “Skydiamond”, and not to describe its synthetic products “without a clear and prominent qualifier”.

The firm was told by the ASA that it must use terms such as ‘synthetic’, ‘laboratory-grown’ or ‘laboratory-created’, “or another way of clearly and prominently conveying the same meaning to consumers” and were not to use the claim “real diamonds” to describe synthetic diamonds.

Sky Mining said both the ads and extensive information and graphics on its website set out that their diamonds were manufactured in a laboratory, with detailed information on the production process on its website.

The company said the very brand was built on the premise that their diamonds did not come from the earth and do not have the negative environmental impacts associated with diamond mining, with all components required sourced from the sky: atmospheric carbon dioxide (as a source of carbon), rainwater (as a source of hydrogen) and renewable energy from solar and wind power.

As explained on the company’s website, Skydiamonds are made from carbon dioxide and hydrogen extracted and produced using proven industrial processes and combined to form methane in a biological process, with methane fed into chemical vapour deposition machines in which diamonds developed at a high temperature over 14 days.

It says for every carat of Skydiamond produced, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by 99.79% compared to mined diamonds, and that compared to growing diamonds in a laboratory, mined diamonds produce 4,383 times more waste, use 2.14 times the energy and 6.8 times as much water.

The ASA acknowledged that further information on the Sky Mining manufacturing process appeared on About Us pages of the website among other pages.

“However, in the absence of a clearly worded and prominent qualification such as ‘synthetic’, ‘laboratory-created’ or ‘laboratory-grown’, or another way of clearly and prominently communicating the same meaning, we considered it was still ambiguous as to whether the diamonds were synthetic or not,” the regulator said.

Source: proactiveinvestors

Brilliant Earth Reports Record Revenue for 2023

Brilliant Earth’s sales grew 4% year on year to $124.3 million in the fourth quarter amid a record number of orders.

The 18% increase in individual orders offset a 12% decline in the average value per sale during the three months that ended December 31, the retailer said last week. Net profit for the period fell 69% to $1.9 million.

Engagement rings were one of the top sellers for the company, with demand for those above $10,000 increasing year-on-year in the fourth quarter, Brilliant Earth CEO Beth Gerstein said last week in an earnings call, transcribed by Seeking Alpha. The average sales price for engagement rings was up 4% year-on-year during the three months.

Additionally, new campaigns featuring celebrities and influencers brought in consumers. The launch of Brilliant Earth’s Sol collection, in partnership with Emmy-nominated actress Camilla Morrone, proved popular, with productivity “far outpacing” that of prior collection launches, Gerstein explained. The company’s new lab-grown Capture collection, made with synthetic diamonds manufactured using 100% renewable energy, also “resonated strongly” with consumers, it said.

For the full-year, sales rose 1.5% to $446.4 million, while net profit dropped 75% to $4.7 million.

Brilliant Earth expects sales for the first quarter of 2024 to reach between $96.5 million and $98.5 million, ranging from a decrease of 1% to growth of 1%, chief financial officer Jeff Kuo noted on the earnings call. For the full year, net sales are anticipated to rise 2% to 5% to between $455 million and $469 million.

Source: rapaport

Detecting Lab-Grown Diamonds That Deceive

As Guy Borenstein gears up for Stuller’s Bench Jeweler Workshop in March, there’s one hot topic that will be addressed for the fifth consecutive year: synthetic diamonds.

There’s no shortage of available equipment to detect lab-grown diamonds. According to the Natural Diamond Council (NDC), there are about 40 instruments on the market that aim to discover natural versus synthetic diamonds.

“Five years ago, I asked attendees how many were screening for lab-grown diamonds [LGDs] and one hand went up,” says the director of gemstone procurement for the Lafayette, Louisiana-based manufacturer. That number has grown as the years passed, but “the majority are still not checking,” he adds.

Considering the recent number of undisclosed synthetics sent to labs, retailers should be more vigilant. In the last two months, four labs — comprising one in Italy and three, including the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), with US outposts — have reported incidents of synthetic diamonds submitted for grading under the guise of being natural. The labs, with their multitude of testing instruments and scientific savvy, have the manpower and resources to uncover the truth, but what about retailers, small manufacturers, and dealers? Other than sending every diamond purchased either over the counter or from a jewelry maker to a lab, what can the rest of industry do to guard against unknowing purchases of synthetic diamonds? Screen, baby, screen.

Marc Altman of B&E Jewelers in Southampton, Pennsylvania., started selling synthetics only last year, but has encountered them in newly manufactured goods sold to him as natural and in the engagement rings of unknowing clients. In the case of the new jewelry, he suspects it was an honest error.

“It was one ring,” he says. “It was a big order, and my assumption was that they also made jewelry with LGDs.”

Thanks to his GIA ID100 screening tool, he was able to spot-check trays of new finished jewelry. In the case of individual client rings, he’ll use a polariscope and the ID100 to determine if a diamond is natural or synthetic. In the last three weeks, he’s taken in two rings for resizing that were set with lab-grown and not the natural diamonds that clients thought they had. These examples are why screening goods on intake is critical and reveals deficiencies in disclosure by others at the time of sale. These are lawsuits in the making.

“If I didn’t [screen], my reputation would be at risk,” he says.

Fraud or flub?

Recent high-profile lab incidents aside — like the 6-carat synthetic laser-inscribed as a natural the International Gemological Institute (IGI) examined, or the pink, yellow and brown lab-grown diamonds posing as natural that Gem Science Laboratory (GSI) received — not every facility sees the spike in undisclosed synthetics as deliberate by fraudsters.

As a percentage of all diamonds examined, the number submitted as natural that turn out to be lab-grown is miniscule, says IGI CEO Tehmasp Printer.

“Ten years ago, 95% of parcels were contaminated,” he continues. “Today that number is reduced to half a percent. Initially, some did try to push LGDs as naturals and then labs learned how to ID the material. Now, there are mistakes and errors, but most are not intentional. No manufacturers are polishing LGDs and naturals in the same space; it’s done separately. The problems occur when parcels are given out for memo, and then there is a little switch here and there by mistake.”

Other incidents aren’t as clear. A recent GSI discovery involved mounted brown diamonds with linear graining and polished surfaces “to try to pass it as natural,” maintains Debbie Azar, cofounder and president of GSI. “While initial gemological observations would suggest they were likely natural, our advanced testing processes revealed they were CVD [chemical vapor deposition lab-grown diamonds] almost immediately by looking at their optical defects.”

No matter the intention behind the incidents, GIA takes each one — and steps to avoid them — seriously. For example, nearly every synthetic diamond that comes in for a report is inscribed as such. It also recently unveiled a same-day service for report confirmation of GIA-graded diamonds with or without markings. The service is offered to combat fraudulent inscriptions and for now is free.

“We should all be doing everything possible to ensure consumer trust,” says Pritesh Patel, GIA senior vice president and chief operating officer. Patel is responsible for lab operations. “One is not more vulnerable than another in the trade; everybody should be vigilant,” he cautions.

IGI screening parcel. (IGI)

Identification struggles

One of the toughest tasks in effectively screening jewelry today is the large quantity of small stones. The labs can handle it, but it’s tedious.

“Our biggest challenge is testing items encrusted with micro-pavé — jewelry set with 0.005-carat and smaller diamonds,” says Angelo Palmieri, president of GCAL by Sarine. “The challenge predominantly revolves around exercising patience.”

Then there are the hidden halos of diamonds; only visible diamonds can be easily checked on finished jewelry, so the trade must remember to flip pieces on their sides for inspection.

“We see as many naturals in LGD-set jewelry as we see LGDs in natural diamond jewelry,” adds Palmieri. “We see this happen with everybody, from high-end brands to sightholders. We’re not seeing 50% wrong — we see cases where one is natural or LGD. It doesn’t look intentional; it looks like it’s hard to keep track of the melee.”

Azar, too, is familiar with this wearisome process.

“Pieces with smaller diamonds and melee can be extremely time-consuming and the work is intricate,” she says. “We screen thousands of diamonds each day and we are detecting undisclosed laboratory-grown diamonds every day. They are usually in mounted goods where the mounting obscures full observation of the diamond.”

The solution? Enhanced quality controls such as constant and repeated testing when diamonds are loose and once they’re set. “Most companies don’t want to put in the hard work (and patience) that comes with thorough and complete testing,” observes Palmieri.

IGI screening lab. (IGI)

Tools and techniques

Like Altman, other retailers can use a microscope, polariscope and GIA’s ID100 in store — they’re compact and not too cost prohibitive.

Labs have myriad methods, including custom machines and proprietary research, to uncover the truth. There are also common methods used by all labs, like “Raman and photoluminescence spectroscopy” and “basic gemological testing,” among others, notes Palmieri.

GIA even has a facility in New Jersey devoted solely to the study of lab-grown diamonds to stay ahead of their developments. “GIA spends a tremendous amount on research,” notes Patel.

GIA Gem Instruments Polariscope. (GIA)

Lab consensus is that one instrument isn’t enough. Multiple tools and experienced operators are necessary to reveal undisclosed synthetics.

“Each instrument has its own advantages and limitations,” says Palmieri. “No one machine can give you all the answers.”

Azar urges the trade to adopt a deductive process for distinguishing between naturals and synthetics. For example, does it have garnet crystals? Then it is “definitively natural,” she says. But if a diamond has no inclusions or is type IIa, send it to a lab for testing. For mounted goods, “all bets are off because of the complexities,” she adds.

Dror Yehuda, president of Yehuda Diamond Company — formerly a maker of clarity-enhanced diamonds — shifted to manufacturing diamond detectors around 2015. That’s the year, he maintains, that lab-grown diamonds came to market with gusto. “The vast majority of my customers stopped carrying my Yehuda diamonds and moved to LGDs,” he reveals.

As a result, Yehuda built the first Sherlock Holmes detector, which is in its fourth generation. Three models now exist to accommodate a variety of needs and budgets.

To date, he has sold over 15,000 detectors worldwide.

“The second generation was tested by project Assure and was the only detector other than [De Beers’] SynthDetect that detected 100% of the LGDs,” says Yehuda.

The Assure Directory from the NDC is a resource for anyone trying to determine what instruments to purchase. Assure provides results of independent testing of a “wide range of diamond-verification instruments,” according to Samantha Sibley, technical educator at De Beers Group Ignite in the UK, which spearheads De Beers’ corporate approach to innovation.

Assure tests instruments for “diamond accuracy, referral rates, speed, and natural false positive rates [i.e., does the instrument pass any synthetic diamonds as natural?],” she continues. “The latter is the most crucial measure, and all De Beers verification instruments have a 0% false positive rate from both Assure 1.0 [2019] and Assure 2.0 [2022].”

Big Sherlock. (Yehuda Diamond Company)

Model behavior

Manufacturing house Stuller takes extreme precautions to safeguard against undisclosed synthetics. The firm has 62 pieces of screening equipment and 40 associates to run them. It even has an in-house GIA lab for melee analysis (Stuller staffers aren’t even allowed inside).

Starting at a quarter of a point, Stuller tests every diamond individually, screening more than 5 million units a year. Each stone is tested by at least two different technologies so one “can compensate for the weakness of another,” adds Borenstein. “In a year, 50,000 units out of 5 million go to the lab for further tests.”

The onus is on Stuller to test because of Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations.

“Every player throughout the supply chain should test,” he urges. “We are still catching undisclosed stones on a daily basis, so just imagine how many of those are filtering into the market in an area with no screening at all.”

GIA iD100 instrument. (GIA)

Jay Seiler of Jay Seiler Jewelers in Duluth, Minnesota, is a risk taker. He has a Presidium tester to weed out cubic zirconia and moissanite when he buys gold, but no other equipment in-house to test diamonds. Why? He’s a private jeweler now after years of operating a big store. His clients are largely older, known to him, bought diamonds before the advent of lab-grown, and 90% of his work is custom. Still, what about the new diamonds he buys? Therein lies the risk.

By the time someone faces an undisclosed synthetic, however, it’s likely too late. “You won’t be able to defend yourself in court,” says Borenstein.

“Disclosure is not as explicit as it should be, and that will be a huge challenge for retailers in a few years,” says Palmieri.

Source: Rapaport

DCLA is the only laboratory in Australia that has tested every diamond submitted from inception.

Are Lab-grown Diamonds Sustainable?

Human-made diamonds come with an appealing claim: Manufacturers say the stones are produced ethically using renewable energy. But many of the products do not meet that claim or their producers do not confirm the electricity sources they use. And, laboratory diamonds require a lot of electricity to produce.

In the United States, lab-grown diamond sales increased 16 percent in 2023 from 2022, says Edahn Golan, an industry expert. The stones cost much less than natural diamonds.

Bario Neal is a jewelry store in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It uses lab diamonds. All of the stones are either made with renewable energy or neutral use of energy through the carbon credit system. Credits pay for activities like planting trees, which capture carbon.

Social media posts show Millennials and Generation Zs proudly explaining the purchase of their lab-grown diamonds for sustainability and ethical reasons. But the sustainability of production is questionable. A high number of manufacturers are not transparent, or open, about their operations.

Many of the manufacturers are in India, where about 75 percent of electricity comes from burning coal. The companies use words like “sustainable” and “environmentally-friendly” on their websites. But they do not release reports on the environmental effects of their operations.

Cupid Diamonds, for example, says on its website that it produces diamonds in “an environmentally friendly manner.” But it did not answer questions about the sustainability of its operations.

Solar energy is quickly expanding in India and there are some companies, such as Greenlab Diamonds, that use renewables in their manufacturing processes.

China is the other major country producing laboratory diamonds. The largest makers did not return requests for comment. They also did not release details about their electricity source.

More than half of China’s electricity came from coal in 2023.

Paul Zimnisky is a diamond industry expert. He said few companies are honest about their supply chains and their use of renewable energy.

Zimnisky said a lot of companies claim to make an “environmentally-friendly product when they aren’t really doing anything that’s environmentally friendly.”

How it is made

Lab diamonds have been in production around seventy years. Producers treat carbon to high pressure and high temperature. The idea is to copy the natural conditions that form diamonds underground. But, nature spends at least one billion years to make a diamond. Lab diamonds are complete in a few weeks.

In the past, the stones were used mostly in industries like stone cutting, mining and dentistry tools.

Over time the laboratories, or foundries, have gotten better at making stones. Production costs have dropped as technology improves.

Companies now can manufacture as many stones as they want and choose their size and quality.

Diamonds, whether lab-grown or natural, are chemically identical and entirely made out of carbon. Experts can identify between the two using lasers to examine their atomic structures.

Marketing battle

The lab diamond is competing in the same market as natural stones. Worldwide, lab-grown diamonds are now 5 to 6 percent of that market. And, the public battle for customers has begun.

The natural diamond industry and some experts argue that lab-grown diamonds will not hold value over time.

Zimnisky predicts that natural diamonds will continue to sell in the thousands and tens of thousands of dollars for engagement rings.

And the human-made stone?

“Five to ten years into the future, I think there’s going to be very few customers that are willing to spend thousands of dollars for a lab diamond,” he said.

Page Neal said she co-founded Bario Neal in 2008 to “create jewelry of lasting value that would have a positive impact on people and the planet.”

She added: “We want to only work with materials that we feel like our clients would be proud to own.”

I’m Dan Novak.

Dan Novak adapted this story for VOA Learning English based on reporting by The Associated Press.

Lab Urges Caution over Surge in Undisclosed Colored Synthetics

Gemological Science International (GSI) has issued a warning to the trade after coming across a “notable increase” in jewelry set with pink, yellow and brown lab-grown diamonds posing as natural.

The jewels, which have been submitted to the lab for grading, often contain synthetic stones mixed in with natural colored diamonds, Debbie Mazar, president and cofounder of GSI, explained Tuesday. Many of the undisclosed synthetics were type IIa, with a single nitrogen atom, and ranged in size from melee to 1 carat.

Additionally, some of the lab-grown diamonds were intentionally cut to mimic natural ones, GSI noted. The GSI observed several with fractures, pinpoint clouds, polish-overs and distinct brown grain lines, features found in natural diamonds, which would potentially enable the fraudulent stones to pass standard gemological evaluation, GSI said.

“The challenge arises as most jewelry-screening equipment in the market is designed to screen white, near-colorless diamonds,” Azar explained.

The advanced technology in diamond growth is contributing to increased success by growers in replicating natural diamonds more and more, GSI added.

GSI’s warning comes on the heels of several from other labs. In December, Italian grading lab Gem-Tech cautioned that it had encountered a number of lab-grown stones circulating bearing fraudulent inscriptions from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) for natural stones. Last month, the International Gemological Institute (IGI) examined a 6.01-carat lab-grown with a GIA laser inscription for a similarly cut natural, while the GIA reported it was taking steps to combat the recent influx of lab-growns bearing fraudulent inscriptions from the lab by offering same-day report verification.

Source: Rapaport

IGI Detects 6-Carat Lab-Grown Diamond With Fake Inscription

The International Gemological Institute’s laboratory in Tel Aviv recently detected a 6-carat lab-grown diamond that someone apparently was hoping to pass off as a natural stone.

The 6.01-carat, pear-shaped synthetic diamond was fraudulently inscribed with the Gemological Institute of America report number for a G-color natural diamond of the same size and shape, but with a few key differences, IGI said in a news release issued Tuesday.

First, the lab said, photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy, which is now widely used by grading labs to separate natural diamonds from lab-grown stones and to identify diamond treatments, shows a wavelength peak of 737 nanometers in the diamond (see chart below).

This is an indicator that the diamond was grown in a factory using the chemical vapor deposition process.

IGI photoluminescence spectra
The photoluminescence spectra for the 6.01-carat lab-grown diamond recently examined by the International Gemological Institute

Second, when examined under a microscope, IGI graders saw a carbon inclusion where the feather was indicated on the clarity plotting diagram in the GIA report.

They also noticed a cloud inclusion, resulting in IGI giving the lab-grown diamond a lower clarity grade than VVS1, the clarity grade of the natural diamond.

Lastly, there was a discrepancy between the depth of the diamond IGI examined and the depth noted on the GIA report.

“Everyone in our industry must be vigilant,” said IGI CEO Tehmasp Printer, who took over as head of the lab in October after Roland Lorie retired.

“As attempted fraud increases, the need for ongoing verification is a necessary step to protect consumers from purchasing misrepresented gems and jewelry.”

Source: Nationaljeweler

Lab Growns and Natural Diamonds “Will Coexist”

IGI Diamond Grading Certificate
Antwerp, Belgium – IGI Diamond Grading Certificate

Lab growns and natural diamonds will coexist in the future, says Vipul Shah, chairman of the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC).

He was speaking at the IIJS Signature, which opened in Mumbai on Friday (5 January 2024).

“With natural diamonds, there is an aspiration, whereas lab-grown diamonds are for affordability, and for fun and fashion,” he said.

“So, it’s a completely different segment … It is not going to be that one is going to take over the other,” he said.

He noted that the supply of natural diamonds would reduce over time, with no new mines due to open and some deposits reaching the end of their lives.

He said the lab grown and natural consumer bases would complement each other.

“Natural diamonds are for those who have a desire for diamonds and they’re getting diamonds,” he said.

“Also, if you are looking for investment, you will choose natural diamonds. So, the idea is that once first-time buyers start with lab-grown diamonds, they will aspire to buy natural diamonds.”

Source: IDEX

Hong Kong Busts $64M Diamond Scam

Hong Kong authorities have arrested four people suspected of running a money-laundering syndicate that falsely declared synthetic diamonds as natural.

The operation, which authorities codenamed “Gem Crusher,” was the first money-laundering case using transnational diamond trading the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department has detected, the government organization said Thursday.

On December 19 and 20, customs raided eight premises across multiple areas in Hong Kong, including residential and business locations. So far, authorities have frozen HKD 8.2 million ($1.1 million) in assets belonging to those in custody.

Hong Kong customs officials were alerted to the scheme earlier this year and launched a financial investigation, exchanging information with authorities in India, the department explained.

Members of the crime syndicate had established diamond-trading companies in both Hong Kong and India. Throughout 2021, the syndicate exported low-value lab-grown diamonds from Hong Kong to India with fictitious declarations presenting them as high-value naturals.

The purpose was to “transfer significant amounts of suspicious funds from India to Hong Kong,” authorities alleged. The suspects laundered around HKD 500 million ($64 million), the department claimed.

During the raid, customs seized a “large quantity of suspected synthetic diamonds, a small quantity of natural diamonds, about HKD 1 million [$128,055] in cash, a number of mobile phones, computers, company [seals], checkbooks, bank cards, bank documents and trading documents” from the four suspects, authorities said.

The four men — believed to be the “masterminds, ring leaders and members” of the syndicate — were arrested on suspicion of “dealing with property known or reasonably believed to represent proceeds of an indictable offense.”

The investigation is ongoing, and further arrests cannot be ruled out, customs noted.

Souce: Diamonds.net