It’s going to get worse, before it gets better. After weeks of quiet contemplation, last week it became known that some 600 lab-made diamonds were submitted, undisclosed, to IGI for grading. The concern was that it was not an isolated case and more undisclosed goods are in circulation.
Wednesday night, Chaim Even-Zohar published more disturbing details about this case in Diamond Intelligence Briefs. The 600 stones were but a part of a much bigger assortment on offer. Many undisclosed lab-made diamonds are smaller goods, the kind not usually graded. That means that buyers won’t ever know that mixed into the parcels are undisclosed lab-made diamonds.
Such goods are set into jewelry as side stones or in a pave setting. Several folks on the technical side of the industry suspect that some of the smaller yellow diamonds set in jewelry are undisclosed lab-made diamonds.
Even-Zohar goes further and names Su-Raj Diamond & Jewelry in New York City as the company that sold the goods at their natural diamonds value without disclosing their lab origin. Even-Zohar reported that the Gemesis fulfillment center in New York is housed in the very same offices as Su-Raj NY and quotes Gemesis CEO Stephen Lux as stating that the center is located in premises owned by Su-Raj NY.
The family of Jatin R. Mehta, Chairman of Su-Raj Diamond & Jewelry reportedly holds a 50.01 percent stake in Gemesis USA. Even-Zohar goes on to highlight the gap between expected factory production and revenue, showing that much of Gemesis’s production is unaccounted for – if the figures are accurate.
Last week the call to the industry was to not let go. Avi Paz, president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, is convening a meeting on this issue next week. He is rallying the heads of exchanges and umbrella organizations and other industry bodies to act swiftly and effectively.
The Diamond Manufacturers & Importers Association of America also responded. “We are fearless on this issue. We can’t turn our backs on this issue. If we do, it will come back to us and might be worse,” Ronald Friedman, president of DMIA, told us, as he was getting ready for the Las Vegas show.
HRD Antwerp reminded the trade it developed a portable device, the D-Screen, that distinguishes natural from potentially lab-made colorless or near-colorless polished diamonds. Checking goods on whether they are natural or not should become just as much a routine as brushing your teeth.
The meetings, declarations and device offerings are good and important first steps, but more is needed. Much more. If a very large lab-made production was sold in New York, and the sellers knew what they are selling without disclosing it to the buyers, fraud was committed.
The next step should be, must be, calling in the FBI and demanding a thorough investigation. This is not to get the guilty party into jail but rather to protect the many thousands of innocent traders who unwittingly become criminals themselves when they pass on the undisclosed synthetics to their clients.
This way, the diamond industry, natural and lab-made, could shake this monkey off its back – and do business without fear of a damaged reputation, or worse, become unwittingly a partner to crime.