Yes, many in the industry remain wary of lab-grown diamonds, and events like the report of a fake GIA inscription certainly don’t help matters. But at the same time, we are swamped with announcements of new companies entering the business.
Lab-grown certainly seems to have become a bandwagon that many in the industry are merrily climbing on board.
There’s even an attempt to form a virtual lab-grown diamond bourse, called the Lab Grown Diamond Network. Principals include Diamond Foundry veteran Alon Ben-Shoshan, as well as mined diamond companies that “have chosen not to publicly list their names.”
“I probably see a new lab-grown diamond offer/pitch/ad once a month, from someplace in the world,” says Tom Chatham, one of the pioneers of the created market. But he feels he’s seen this movie before: “In the 1990s we had many companies claiming to produce emeralds…and some did, but they failed at the marketing end. Many of these newcomers are just resellers and will fall by the wayside.”
Indeed, even with all these new brands, the number of companies actually producing the gems has not noticeably increased. So it’s mostly the same producers aiming their output at a greater number of channels.
“There is still only a handful of capable producers in both HPHT and CVD,” Chatham says. He adds that while anyone can buy a diamond press, that doesn’t mean they will be able to produce diamonds reliably. The predecessor companies to Scio and Pure Grown spent millions perfecting their technologies.
Ben-Shoshan agrees, adding: “I suspect that almost every lab out there is still operating at a loss.”