Lifestyle: Laboratory Creates Gem-quality White Diamonds
A Florida-based company reported that it has produced high-quality, colourless, lab-created diamonds. Diamond industry representatives are debating whether this is a “game changer” in how colourless diamonds are sourced and priced.
Gemesis Diamond Company is selling its diamonds on its internet site directly to consumers and through retailers. It has been producing lab-created fancy coloured diamonds (primarily yellow diamonds) for some time, with limited acceptance by the jewellery industry and consumers. But the production of colourless diamonds, by far the most widely used diamonds in the world, with what it calls “excellent colour and clarity,” could give jewellery retailers, jewellery designers and consumers a real choice when specifying diamonds. (In this case, the term “colourless” is used to describe what are also known as “white diamonds”, meaning diamonds that are not coloured. It is not describing the “Clarity” grading standard for diamonds, one of the 4Cs.)
Gemesis colourless diamonds are all certified as Type IIa, the purest type of diamond, almost or entirely devoid of chemical impurities. Less than 2 per cent of the world’s diamonds produced naturally are Type IIa. Many of those diamonds are among the most widely sought after in the world, including the “Elizabeth Taylor Diamond,” formerly known as the “Krupp Diamond,” a 33.19-carat Type IIa diamond that was recently auctioned by Christie’s.
There will be confusion with calling these diamonds synthetic diamonds. This would be wrong. These are actual diamonds that are formed in a laboratory as opposed to being created naturally. The explanation above is not how many in the industry view this. Anything grown in a lab is considered synthetic. This will probably never be settled. But the bottom line remains that these are diamonds. They are not to be confused with diamond-like substances such as cubic zirconia and moissanite.
In addition to the quality of diamonds, another selling point the company is eager to push is that lab-grown diamonds are “conflict-free,” meaning they were not mined in areas where there is a potential for human rights abuses as well as large-scale environmental impact. The diamonds are accompanied by certificates from International Gemological Institute.
The company, located in Lakewood Ranch near Tampa, says colourless diamonds are priced according to their overall quality and colour, in the same manner as mined diamonds. The largest diamond available on the Gemesis website, a 1.05-carat round diamond with J-colour, VVS2 and “very good” cut, is priced at US$4,837.04. A similar diamond on the Blue Nile website with a Gemological Institute of America certificate is priced at US$6,238, an approximate US$1,400-difference.
Stephen Lux, Gemesis president and CEO, said in a statement that price alone will not be the only selling point of these diamonds.
“The value proposition to consumers is tangible. It’s not only about price, but about getting the purest and highest-quality diamonds,” he said. “Add to that environmental responsibility and the ability to unequivocally know your diamond’s origin and we have a very special product offering.”