• Former Shinola President Leaves Lab Grown Venture

    Former Shinola president Jacques Panis (pictured) has stepped down as chief executive officer of lab-grown seller New World Diamonds, which he has headed since last year. Erik Abraham, managing director of CITGCapital, said that “nothing has changed” with the Troy, Mich.–based e-tailer,despite Panis’ departure. The company has not announced hisreplacement. Panis, who was with Shinola for its first decade, left the watch manufacturer in 2018. He has headed New World since July 2018. He is leaving the site to become head of Mary’s Brands, a subsidiary of BR Brands, which owns a variety of cannabis-based products, including Mary’s Medicinals, Mary’s Nutritionals, Mary’s Methods, and Mary’s Tails. New World is owned by Combine International, which also owns Caribbean jewelry chain Little Switzerland. Combine was founded by Shrikant Mehta, a former growing partner of Scio Diamond. It sells lab-growns with reports from IGL as well as other gem labs. Combine eventually seeded CITG, which has now has a variety of holdings, including an oil and gas exploration company. (Image courtesy of BR Brands)

    February 7, 2020
  • The Golan Q4 2019 Diamond Market Report–LGD

    A year of declining LGD prices has ended with wholesale prices of loose goods rising in the fourth quarter. The price increases andmarket for LGD-set jewelry is almost everything the diamond industry feared: rising prices of +1-carat goods, rising demand for bridaljewelry, and a feeling among most mid- and downstream players that they need to be in the game.Among loose diamonds, the strongest demand was focused on lower clarity 1.00-1.99-carat rounds. Demand was driven by large USretailers catering to price-point conscious consumers. Placed against shortages drove up prices of these items, at times doubling in Q4 vs.Q3. Wholesale prices of the very top larger rounds, such as D color VVS1, actually declined, emphasizing that interest is focused on price andnot necessarily quality, which raises questions about product positioning. It is possible that while consumer interest in larger LGD goods isrising, the major push by retailers is developing towards a lower cost niche. This would fulfill the diamond industry’s hopes of segregatingLGD as a low-cost item. At this point, however, it is too early to assess, especially since LGD is truly…

    January 20, 2020
  • WD Sues 6 Lab-Grown Diamond Companies Over Patents

    On Thursday, the Carnegie Institution ofWashington and M7D Corp.—the legal name of WD Lab Grown Diamonds—sued sixcreated-diamond companies for allegedly violating Carnegie’s patents forgrowing and enhancing diamonds with the chemical vapor deposition method. The suits, filed yesterday in SouthernDistrict of New York federal court, target three pairs of related lab-growndiamond companies: Pure Grown Diamonds, based in New York City, and IIaTechnologies, based in Singapore; Fenix Diamonds, based in New York City, andMahendra Brothers, based in India; and ALTR Inc. and R.A. Riam Group, bothbased in New York City. The three suits, which use similar languageand make similar claims, allege that the companies are infringing on twoCarnegie Institution patents, to which M7D holds the license. The first, patent number 6,858,078, issued in February 2005, lays out a method for producing CVD diamonds using a microwave-plasma process. The second, patent, RE41189, reissued in April 2010, covers a method for improving a diamond’s visual qualities using high-pressure, high-temperature treatment, a process sometimes called annealing. Diamonds grown with chemical vapor deposition that haven’t been treated are known as “as-grown.” According to the three complaints, the patentsat issue are “well-known…

    January 10, 2020
  • Is There a Resale Market for Lab-Grown Diamonds?

    Last week, at the urging of a commenter, Ilooked into Kay’s and Jared’s policy for lab-grown diamond upgrades andtrade-ins, now that both of those chains are selling them. Suffice it tosay, it’s not the same as for naturals. Here’s Jared’s: Our diamond trade-in and upgrade services allowyou to take any diamond jewelry (excluding lab-created diamonds) you no longerwear and trade it in for a brand new one. Kay’s site has similar language. And so doesone of the biggest lab-grown diamond sellers online, Brilliant Earth. Lab-grown manufacturer Diamond Foundry hastraditionally touted its “forever 100% value guarantee”, which“guarantee[s] the value of your diamond forever” with a “free lifetimeupgrade.” At press time, JCK could not find the guarantee stilllisted on its site. The company did not respond to requests for commentabout the guarantee’s current status. (UPDATE: After this piece wasposted, Diamond Foundry emailed it’s “still offering” the guarantee butthe site “is focusing more on B2B sales right now so it is not currentlylisted.”) This is a thorny issue for the lab-grown diamond world. Given that technology cheapens over time, and created-diamond production isn’t limited by nature, most believe that synthetic prices will drop. In fact, that…

    October 25, 2019
  • Lab-Grown Diamonds Get Ready for Their Eco Close-Up

    Six lab-grown diamond companiesand retailers have signed up for a pilot program thatwill audit their environmental, social, and governance performance againstpre-set criteria.   If theypass, their diamonds will be certified by SCS Global Services as sustainablygrown, though it’s possible that label will change.                         Onlyindividual diamonds will bear the certification, after they have been trackedand traced from grower to the retailer. So, for example, it’s possible a ring’scentre stone will carry the SCS certification, while its side stoneswon’t. (Just like a centre stone sometimes carries a GIA report, while its sidestones don’t.) Thepilot, commissioned by the newlyformed Lab-Grown Diamond Council, will involve four growers—GreenRocks, Goldiam USA, Lusix, and WD Lab Grown—as well as two retailers, HelzbergDiamonds and Swarovski. The newscomes after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in April warned eight lab-grown diamond sellers against using generalenvironmental benefit claims, like eco-friendly and sustainable, which areprohibited by the the agency’s GreenGuides. Interestingly,none of the lab-grown diamond sellers that werecautioned by the FTC are participating in the pilot program. In fact, most ofthe participating companies have shied away frommaking eco claims in the past. “Theseare companies that want to do the right thing,” says Stanley Mathuram, vicepresident for SCS, which…

    October 9, 2019