De Beers has provided its rough-diamond clients and Forevermark partners with guidelines on how to operate in the lab-grown market if they wish to continue tapping into its branding.
The mining company, which in 2018 forayed into gem-quality synthetics with the launch of its Lightbox brand, is demanding businesses make full disclosure about their product, segregate synthetics from their natural supply, and do not make unproven claims about either category. The “Statement of Principles” outlines the legal structures companies with lab-grown diamond units must have if they wish to use the sightholder logo, as well as the procedures and training they are required to implement to avoid contamination or misleading marketing.
While De Beers already had rules mandating disclosure and other best practices, the new principles “ensure there is no room for doubt” about how clients may use the sightholder logo, explained David Johnson, head of strategic communications for De Beers. Some of the rules form part of De Beers’ contract with clients, allowing the miner to penalize those who flout them, while others are only recommendations.
“We believe the principles within the document set out a responsible approach, and that they are important for ensuring people can make clear and informed choices about what they are buying,” Johnson added.
The document refers to lab-grown diamonds as “artificial” products that “do not have the same inherent, naturally occurring characteristics or enduring value” as natural diamonds. The miner continues to define diamonds as a natural mineral in line with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
De Beers sent the guidelines to clients earlier this month, as numerous sightholders have launched lab-grown businesses under separate entities and trading names.