By Michelle Graff
michelle-graffLike most releases, it was heavy on flowery language but short on information.

Is this new “diamond mine” (as it was so cleverly dubbed) producing colored diamonds in addition to whites? What is the quality of the stones being grown there, the annual production capacity in carat terms, the percentage of gem-quality vs. industrial diamonds being produced?

How does the microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition process (MPCVD) being used in this facility differ from the standard CVD process for growing diamonds? And will the diamonds be marked in some way, as Gemesis diamonds of a certain size are laser inscribed ?

I had many questions about this new facility as, apparently, did fellow journalist Rob Bates. I also received about the same amount of answers, which is to say, zero.

In the meantime, Israeli journalist Chaim Even-Zohar published this article on IIa Technologies. In it, Even-Zohar links this “new” synthetic diamond facility to Gemesis, which I had suspected to be the case and asked the company about directly. But, like my other questions, this never was answered.

All frustrations aside, there is no denying that lab-grown diamonds are making more and more noise in the industry as of late. It will be interesting to gauge retailers’ reactions to these stones in the coming years, starting with the jewelry shows this summer, where there will be at least two companies selling synthetic diamonds.

Here in the United States, we’ve seen Gemesis make a push onto the red carpet, pledge to plant trees for Earth Day and, now, exhibit at the upcoming JCK show, the largest jewelry trade show in the U.S. market.

Gemesis supposedly was scaling back on its wholesale distribution when it launched its website and began selling direct to consumers but apparently the company sees an opportunity in this area.

When asked about its presence at JCK, Gemesis said that it has been “extremely encouraged” by retailer and wholesaler interest in lab-grown diamonds and sees its “targeted trade advertising” (the company had an interstitial on a competitor’s website) and participation in the trade show as a “natural progression.”

In Tucson, longtime gem-grower Tom Chatham debuted the “Eternal Flame” collection, his line of bridal jewelry featuring lab-grown diamonds.

Chatham admits there are some barriers to overcome for lab-grown diamonds in the bridal jewelry realm. He said he knows his collection of synthetic stones break a couple of “very major, old-fashioned rules about engagement rings,” both in terms of their styling and their story.

It’s harder, he admits, to sell lab-grown diamonds as engagement rings because, as he puts it, you “don’t want to give your fiancée a stone that was made yesterday.”

But he said he thinks his collection will be a success in the long run, adding that the Las Vegas shows will be its “first really good test.”

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