Tempelsman: Consumers Mixed on GE POL Pricing

October 14, 1999

Tempelsman: Consumers Mixed on GE POL Pricing

Leon Tempelsman, president of Lazare Kaplan International, whose subsidiary POL distributes GE POL treated diamonds, told an audience of jewelers attending the PrimeTime show in Las Vegas that the company already communicated directly with consumers in focus groups about the treatment.

Consumer focus group participants were divided about the pricing of the product, Tempelsman said. He said some participants thought the high-tech treatment and the rarity of the treatable Type II diamonds was worth paying a premium. Others reportedly said GE POL diamonds should be priced below comparable untreated gems because the treatment alters the color grade of a diamond.

During a question-and-answer session, a jeweler suggested POL consider marketing the jewelry in which GE POL diamonds are set in order to aid in their identification, especially when placed in bezel settings. (The only identification techniques provided to retailers is the laser inscription of the GE POL name on the diamonds' girdle.) Tempelsman agreed that added indentification was a good suggestion. In response to another question, he said GE is not planning to patent the GE POL treatment, due to concerns that unethical companies could copy the undetectable process without disclosing it to the public.

Tempelsman said before the treatment is applied, most of the diamonds are top brown with others generally within the brown family. He acknowledged the concerns of the industry that the GE/POL treatment might have a psychologically negative effect on the publics perception of diamonds, but said he was optimistic that this would not happen. He cited a five-year-old article in a news magazine which carried the headline "Precious No More." This hadn't affected diamond sales, he said, and added he thought the same would be true for GE POL diamonds.

- by Peggy Jo Donahue