Lab-Grown Diamonds and the Federal Trade Commission Guidelines

Article by Anna-Mieke

Like many early adopters of lab-grown diamonds the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC), Federal Trade Commission (FTC)  and De Beers put a lot of unethical roadblocks in the way to prevent lab-grown diamonds from becoming mainstream. 

The first few years of MiaDonna were very difficult. Not only was I starting a business and attempting to be the first retailer exclusively selling lab-grown diamonds, but we had to create a new industry. There were people that wanted to see me fail, so I spent many years being sued and ridiculed for being an advocate for diamond consumers and spreading the word about this amazing new technology.

 

Look how far we have come, a yellow 0.25ct lab-grown diamond in 2006 next to a 6.28ct lab-grown diamond in 2016.

Look how far we have come, a yellow 0.25ct lab-grown diamond in 2006 next to a 6.28ct lab-grown diamond in 2016.

Many of the previous FTC guidelines were set forth by the earth-mined diamond industry with little to no input from the lab-grown diamond industry. They attempted to limit our marketing ability and to degrade them to consumers as “artificial” and “synthetic” diamonds, which could not be further from the truth.  Today marks a significant milestone for the lab-grown diamond industry and the work done by the trailblazers of this industry is paying off, finally. 

 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) no longer defines a "diamond" by using the term "natural" because it is no longer accurate to define diamonds as "natural" when it is now possible to create products that have essentially the same optical, physical, and chemical properties as mined diamonds."

In the revised FTC Guides, the Commission cautions marketers that it would be deceptive to use the terms "real," "genuine," "natural," or "synthetic" to imply that a lab-grown diamond is not, in fact, an actual diamond.

 

We would like to thank everyone that also put forth their time and effort into changing the FTC guidelines. To the change makers of this industry, Carroll and Tom Chatham of Chatham Created Gems, Martin Roscheisen of Diamond Foundry, IIa Technologies, The International Grown Diamond Association (IGDA) and the consumers of lab-grown diamonds,  thank you.

IGDA's Secretary General, Richard Garard said, "The FTC revisions have taken an overall view of the industry, weighing it with consumer confidence and fairness. We believe the new Jewelry Guides, which align with 21st century facts, are critical for consumer clarity. They give mined and grown diamonds equal grounds to market their unique offerings to the customers, and customer gets legitimate diamond options and a right to choose."

I will continue my mission to ensure that our industry is fairly and honestly represented in all areas of consumer and trade marketing.  If the earth-mined diamond industry put as much time and money into stopping conflict diamonds as they do trying to stop our industry, the world would be a much better place. Above or under the ground, a diamond is a diamond and this is a huge win for the lab-grown industry. We are headed in the right way and we are proud to a part of this history.