It’s true. Diamonds, the most sought-after precious gem, especially during holidays such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day, can be grown in a lab and sold to the public, thereby negating the worldwide monopoly that De Beers has on the diamond market.
I should be certain to make the point that lab-grown diamonds are actual real diamonds. They are not cubic zirconium or moissanite, which are cheaper diamond substitutes that can be identified as fake with the naked eye. They are also not diamond stimulants, which are meant to replicate the clarity and sparkle of real diamonds, but are made of something entirely different. Diamonds made by man are genuinely authentic real diamonds.
A Different Kind of Diamond
The concept of making gems with science isn’t new. Lab grown rubies and other precious gems have been in the jewelry market for years. For half a century, man-made diamonds have been produced. General Electric produced the first one in 1954. Ever since, they have been put to good use as “industrial diamonds,” and can be found in watches, drill bits, and at the tip of a surgeon’s scalpel.
Only recently have large, gem quality stones been produced. The De Beers cartel is so displeased that they are currently spending millions to discredit man-made diamonds, the “Gem Defensive Program.” This silly named propaganda machine is launching advertizing proclaiming the superiority of natural diamonds and developing and distributing machinery that can detect if a diamond is “too perfect.”
De Beers even went as far as to petition the US Federal Trade Commission to essentially make it illegal for diamond manufactures to market their diamonds as real. De Beers prefers the term “synthetic” which is remarkably similar to “stimulant,” a word used to describe fake diamonds.
The old guard is using an emotional appeal to promote their product. One De Beers executive went as far as to suggest that if a man truly loves a woman, then he would only give her a gem made by nature.
“Like hell!” retorts Carter Clarke, a retired brigadier general and founder of Gemesis, one of the leading diamond produces. “If you give a woman a choice between a two-carat stone and a one-carat stone and everything else is the same, including the price, what’s she gonna choose?” he said in an interview with Wired Magazine. “Does she care if it’s synthetic or not? Is anybody at a party going to walk up to her and ask, ‘Is that synthetic?’ There’s no way in hell. So, I’ll bite your ass if she chooses the smaller one.”
The manufactured diamond industry instead prefers the term “cultured diamonds,” bringing to memory the migration from “natural” pearls to those that are “cultured.” When first introduced, cultured pearls were shunned as well. Today, they make up 95% of the entire world’s pearl market.
Natural Diamonds are Blood Diamonds
Setting the recent Leonardo DiCaprio movie aside for the moment, it has already been established that De Beers controls the global diamond market. But, another one of their dirty secrets is that labor used in their mines in Africa is similar in conditions that one would find on a Southern cotton plantation in the United States before the American Civil War.
In addition, De Beers deals locally with war lords, drug lords, representatives of the coal mafia, and terrorists, specifically in the Congo. These forces of evil then use their De Beers provided diamonds to finance murder, terror, rape, war, and genocide.
Suffice to say, that any purchase of a diamond that was in any way involved in the De Beers cartel is indirectly supporting the illegal activities that De Beers all too eagerly turns a blind eye to.
Lab Grown Diamonds Are Better
Not just a tagline, it’s actually true. The only way to tell the difference between a natural diamond and one grown in a laboratory is to look for a lack of imperfections. The man-made stones are virtually flawless; while even highest quality mined diamonds aren’t nearly as perfect.
“[Cultured diamonds are] too perfect to be natural,” said one opponent to the manufactured diamond industry in an a story in Wired Magazine. “Things in nature, they have flaws. The growth structure of this diamond is flawless.”
Shopping for Diamonds
Though they are better, they are difficult to find in stores. The De Beers cartel is partially responsible for retailers’ refusal to carry them. Another factor is the relative youth of the industry and the lack of public knowledge.
Posing as a potential customer, I inquired at a Jared jewelry store if they carried lab-grown diamonds.
“Oh, you mean cubic zirconium,” the manager responded?
“No,” I replied. “I am talking about actual diamonds grown in a laboratory.”
“Maybe you mean moissanite; I think they’re made like that.”
“No, I mean real diamonds made by human beings. GE made the first one over fifty years ago.”
Her response was unsurprising. “You know, I just don’t believe that’s possible. People can’t create a diamond, only nature can, and it takes millions of years.”
After I showed her an Associated Press article about the emergence of cultured diamonds, she suggested that what I was presenting to her was an elaborate forgery.
At a Zales department store, the conversation didn’t go any better, in fact it was worse. The manager went on a screaming tirade about the “sin” of providing diamonds made in a lab, and then refused to sell any of “his” diamonds to me for merely mentioning manmade stones. I suppose that’s better than pretending that they don’t exist, in a way.
Consumer’s best bets are to look on the Internet. Apollo Diamond and Gemesis, two leading pioneers in the industry, both have websites that provide potential customers with information about how to purchase their products.
Be prepared to pay the price of a diamond, though, or close to it. No labs are currently mass producing gems. Last year only 400,000 carats were grown in a lab, versus an astounding 140 million that were dug out of the ground.
The price of Apollo Diamond’s colorless and near colorless stones are approximately 18% less than their mined counterparts. Gemesis, which specializes in developing color stones that occur rarely in nature, sell their diamonds for 80% less than natural diamonds. That’s still a lot when a yellow one carat diamond can sell for $22,000.
The Next “Fur”
With an enormous amount of diamonds mined each year, they are not rare or uncommon. Tens of millions of additional carats could be mined each year if De Beers were not so interested in controlling the value of the gems.
With a diamond made in a lab, buyers are getting the real thing, and its value is not artificially inflated, and the buyer and owner surely know that their diamond is not a blood diamond. Not is the mined diamond industry in danger of imploding as the natural pearl industry did years ago, mined diamonds could potentially become the next “fur” due to the horrors that diamonds unleash on the world.