Last year, I argued that the best term for lab-grown diamonds may be non-mined. That is scientifically accurate and also gets across the stones’ main selling point. Many diamond growers regularly label natural stones mined diamonds to take advantage of consumers’ negative opinions on mining.
Lately, I have noticed a few people and companies using the term non-mined. I have no idea if it’s because of my post. Regardless, perhaps it’s time to even the scale.
For a long time, the leaders of the natural industry have labeled lab-grown diamonds synthetics. They argue, as do GIA scientists, that the term is scientifically accurate. (One definition: “noting or pertaining to compounds formed through a chemical process by human agency, as opposed to those of natural origin.”) But lab growers hate that term, and many consumers clearly believe it means fake, which these diamonds are not.
Certainly, synthetic can mean a lot of different things in a lot of different contexts. While synthetic amethyst is chemically the same as the real thing, synthetic hair and synthetic leather are not the same as their natural counterparts. Some growers now explicitly argue that their products are not synthetic.
Perhaps it’s time to give up that battle. The natural industry can call those diamonds factory-made. Or machine-produced.