Q: Do you sell or plan to sell lab-grown diamonds in your store?
“This is a hot topic which was addressed in part at the recent AGS Conclave. Right now, we’re seeing the slight opening of the Pandora’s Box. The industry first saw the commoditization of diamonds with price controls and price listings. Now we have lab-grown diamonds. The GIA recently stated, in some recent batch testing of natural diamond melee parcels, some were showing a mixture of about 1 percent being lab grown. People may not be doing this purposely, but it is happening in the supply chain. And, when jewelers melt down scrap jewelry and float the stones and then re-purpose them, there are no checks and balances regarding how these [melee synthetics] go back into the system [supply chain]. I have sold synthetic diamonds in the past, but do not carry them as part of my inventory. In our market there are lots of advertisements for synthetic diamonds, so it’s a necessary evil we’ll have to deal with as customers that request them are shopping with cost savings as a motivating factor. To me the cost saving between a customer buying a synthetic diamond vs. a mined diamond is very similar to selling them a clarity-enhanced mined diamond to non-clarity-enhanced mined diamond. The savings to the customer is about the same. Do we try to dissuade people from buying a synthetic or clarity-enhanced diamond, no. But the retailer and his staff should present all options to the customer to honor their requests for such a product or to be in line with their budget.”