De Beers claims it doesn’t need to disclose treatments to its lab-grown diamonds, placing itself at odds with many synthetics traders pushing for full transparency in the sector.
The company’s synthetics brand, Lightbox, applies post-growth enhancements to its colored lab-grown diamonds, it confirmed with Rapaport News. However, it doesn’t need to tell consumers, because the processes don’t affect the value, and are just one more step in a man-made technological process, a spokesperson argued.
“Our colored (pink and blue) stones are manufactured by a combination of modifications to the synthesis conditions and treatments after synthesis,” Sally Morrison, chief marketing officer at Lightbox, wrote in an email to Rapaport News last week. “Lab-grown diamonds are a manufactured product, and as such it really doesn’t matter how many stages there are to the overall manufacturing process, or whether these comprise separate stages of synthesis and post-synthesis treatment.”
The company also has no problem with the wider lab-grown trade treating diamonds without disclosure, though Lightbox doesn’t enhance its own white stones. Those items come out of its presses with good-enough color, enabling it to keep the cost down by avoiding an extra manufacturing phase. Many other producers do improve the color of their white stones through processes such as High Pressure-High Temperature (HPHT). Morrison refused to specify which enhancement methods Lightbox used.
“All HPHT treatments really do is add cost and complexity to the manufacturing process,” Morrison noted. “This may in part explain why some other lab-grown-diamond manufacturers charge higher prices than Lightbox.”
Still, the production cost is roughly the same for Lightbox’s white, blue and pink stones, despite the extra stages involved in the latter two colors, Morrison noted. That’s one of the reasons the company sells everything at $800 per carat, rather than charging more for colored stones, she said.
De Beers’ stance on disclosure places the company as an outlier in the debate on whether such transparency is necessary in the lab-grown sector.