Can the natural and lab-grown diamond industries really get along?

Rob Bates

The natural and lab-grown diamond industries are now openly feuding with each another, and some are calling for a ceasefire. Take this blog post from Melvin Moss:

The fact is that laboratory grown diamonds exist and their properties cannot be denied. They are a jewelry product just as Pandora is a jewelry product. Laboratory grown producers have a right to market their product and the natural diamond industry has no right to try to impede their legitimate marketing. Equally important, laboratory grown producers must market their diamonds responsibly and not attack natural diamonds. There is room in jewelry stores for new products but there is no room for negativity concerning diamonds.

It is hard to disagree. Yet that might not be as easy as it seems. For one, there is little overlap between the companies that produce man-made diamonds and those that mine naturals. Both sectors have no obligation to help the other.

To the contrary, they both have reasons for the current cold war to continue.

– From the natural side:

The natural business currently has had the field all to itself. Just like any legacy industry, it doesn’t want to split some of its already-struggling business with a newcomer.

Miners also have to grapple with the raison d’etre of lab-grown diamonds: They are the same product as naturals, just produced in a different way. Whatever the fundamental truth of that proposition, the natural business is unlikely to concede the point. It’s a threat to its business model. It may not be a large threat, but why take that chance? You are ultimately gambling with the fate of not just an industry, but the livelihood of several countries.

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Source JCK Online