Synthetic diamonds are spreading across China and the rest of Asia. De Beers, one of the world’s largest monopolist, is very concerned, as it’s threatening their more or less established inflated market. So, as lab-grown diamond manufacturers in China are making 160,000 to 200,000 carats of gem-quality diamonds every month, De Beers invests tens of millions to build methods on identifying such stones to differentiate “fake” from “real”.
Right now a team of scientists in De Beers lab is conducting researches to find the difference between “fake” lab-grown diamonds and natural ones. The monopolist hopes to develop high-tech machine, capable of differentiating the one from another. Will this machine work outside De Beers labs — is a big question.
But there’s more to it. Chemically these stones are equal. Lab-produced diamonds are made from diamond “seed”, from which the new crystals grow under the high heat and pressure in a microwave chamber. No diamantaire in the world can see the difference using naked eye. And customers learn about the origin of the stones mainly by seeing the price tags, which are significantly lower, than those of natural diamonds.
And this leads us to the explanation of why De Beers is worried so much, which is well said by Georgette Boele, a coordinator of precious metals strategy at Dutch bank ABN Amro: “The arrival of lab-grown diamonds has challenged the widely-held assumption that diamond prices could only increase”.
Inflated prices can’t remain inflated forever. Sorry, De Beers.