This piece originally appeared on The New York Times:“Clarifying What Makes a Diamond” on Dec. 7, 2017.
To the Editor: Re “Atelier Swarovski Turns to Man-Made Gems” (A Cut Above, Jewelry, Nov. 22):
Diamonds have fascinated generations with their natural origin, beauty, durability and value: finite, billion-year old gemstones. More than just chemicals, diamonds involve preciousness, authenticity and heritage. Just as one cannot compare an original painting to a reproduction, one cannot compare a diamond to a manufactured replica.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has specified that “diamond” should always imply “natural diamond” and that synthetics cannot be called “diamonds” nor “gemstones.” The diamond industry is subject to strict environmental scrutiny and governmental regulations, whereas synthetics are manufactured in factories using large amounts of fossil-fuel generated power.
Also, the diamond industry prioritizes transparency, with many mining companies including De Beers, Alrosa, Rio Tinto, and Dominion Diamonds featuring responsible provenance as a core trait. Synthetic manufacturers provide scant information about product origins or supply chain.
Times and technology certainly change, but the inherent allure of a diamond does not.
The author is the C.E.O. of the Diamond Producers Association.