By Michelle Graff
Stuller is now selling lab-grown diamonds. “We want to give jewelers every option they need to thrive and many of our customers already offer these diamonds with great success,” Stanley Zale said of the company’s decision to deal in the man-made stones.
Lafayette, La.--Stuller Inc., one of the largest jewelry manufacturers and suppliers in the United States, announced this week that it has added lab-grown diamonds to its product mix and, in fact, has been selling the stones since before the holidays.

Stuller is starting with a small assortment of the stones--as of Tuesday afternoon, the company had only 20-some lab-grown diamonds listed on its website, and Stuller’s Vice President of Diamonds and Gemstones Stanley Zale confirmed that that represents the entirety of what Stuller has available right now.

However, he said demand has been “stronger than anticipated” so far and that Stuller is continually adding more inventory.

Once available in limited quantities and sizes, lab-grown diamonds are becoming more mainstream as technology has improved to the point that diamond growers are able to produce steady streams of the stones, which are, in turn, getting picked up and sold by a growing number of suppliers and retailers.

Rogers & Hollands and Robbins Brothers both sell lab-grown diamonds. Over the summer, Helzberg Diamonds launched a pilot program offering white, yellow and pink lab-grown diamonds in select stores in four states, Virginia, Florida, Illinois and Arizona. Helzberg did not respond to inquiries about the current status of the program by press time.

Also, just last month, a total of 11 diamond growers announced the formation of the International Grown Diamond Association, a group designed to educate the public and stoke demand for the stones, in much the same way the world’s biggest diamond miners hope to buoy demand for natural diamonds via the Diamond Producers Association.

Zale said, in the end, Stuller opted to add lab-grown diamonds to its product mix because it wants to give jewelers’ choices.

“Whatever they are choosing, changing or creating with Stuller they can decide what center stone works best for their customer,” he said. “It might a natural diamond, a ruby or an emerald, a Forever One moissanite or even a lab-grown diamond.

“We’re here to help our customers succeed as jewelers.”

Stuller is sourcing the stones from a number of diamond growers though it declined to give the names of specific companies, noting that it is not its practice to name vendors except in cases where the merchandise is branded.

The lab-grown diamonds are being sold as loose stones and range in size from 0.34 to 2.15 carats, F to K and VS1 to I2, ranges the company views as the “sweet spot” for color, clarity and size, Zale said.

They are, for the most part, 50 to 60 percent cheaper than comparable mined diamonds listed on RapNet and come with a report from the Gem Certification and Assurance Lab (GCAL), the New York lab run by Don Palmieri, and a unique inscription on the girdle.

Stuller said its lab-grown diamonds are kept in a separate vault, stored and shipped in a distinct blue acrylic box, and always are handled separately from its mined diamond inventory.

Zale also noted that Stuller has been screening all diamonds weighing more than 0.20 carats for the possibility of being lab-grown for several years now.

For smaller diamonds, the company purchased one of De Beers’ Automated Melee Screening machines in 2014 and Zale said they follow De Beers’ recommended screening protocol for its use.

“But,” he added, “melee screening is a challenge, so we also look to our suppliers to provide assurances and warranties that they are not using lab-grown (diamonds).”

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