Gemesis Will Oppose CIBJO on 'Cultured' Diamonds

November 19, 2004

Gemesis Will Oppose CIBJO on 'Cultured' Diamonds

Synthetic diamond maker Gemesis Corp. says it will oppose CIBJO's questioning of the use of the term "cultured" diamonds to describe synthetic diamonds, according to a press release.

"Consumers worldwide may see their newfound access to fancy-colored diamonds eroded," says Gemesis, of Sarasota, FL. It opposes trade association CIBJO's involvement in a case brought before a Munich, Germany, court regarding the use of the German word for cultured diamonds – zuchtdiamanten – to describe the product. The German court banned use of the term in Germany.

"Gemesis has consistently demonstrated our commitment to protecting consumers and retailers through our identification initiative," says David Hellier, president of Gemesis. "Consumers and retailers worldwide are embracing their new-found access to amazing fancy-colored diamonds through the breakthrough technology developed by Gemesis."

Gemesis also complained that the World Federation of Diamond Bourses is undermining consumer confidence in synthetic diamonds by calling for laboratories to refrain from issuing grading reports for synthetic diamonds. WFDB passed a resolution at its recent congress to this effect. "These activities directly impede consumer access to cultured diamonds and the well known benefits they provide, including the fact that they are environmentally and socially responsible," says Gemesis.

"Gemesis will continue to protect consumers and retailers through education and disclosure. The court of consumer opinion, not trade association resolutions, will decide the success of the cultured diamond category," concludes the Gemesis statement.

Gaetano Cavalieri, head of CIBJO, spoke about the cultured diamond issue during the Antwerp Diamond Conference. "Proper disclosure demands that unambiguous terminology is used. The German court [which banned the term cultured diamonds] said the term cultured diamonds was misleading. In the future, the court added, the company can only refer to laboratory created diamonds as diamonds if the word is immediately preceded by one of the modifying adjectives– 'synthetic' or 'artificial.'

"In reaching their decision, the judges relied on the terminology and definitions contained in the CIBJO Diamond Book, which many of you know is one section of the three-part CIBJO Blue Book, which we believe is the most comprehensive guide to nomenclature in the greater jewelry industry."

In the U.S., the world's largest jewelry market, the term "cultured diamonds" hasn't been challenged in court. Cecilia L. Gardner, the executive director and general counsel of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee in New York City, told CIBJO the FTC Guides address the use of the term "cultured" only as applied to pearls. "However, It is the view of the JVC that the use of the term 'cultured' as applied to diamonds without additional information about how the product was created is insufficient disclosure to describe the true nature of a synthetic or laboratory grown diamond," says Gardner.

by Peggy Jo Donahue & Robert Weldon, G.G.

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