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“Synthetic” or “Earth Mined”- is either a derogatory term?

DejaWiz

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Garry H (Cut Nut)

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Why earth mined anyway? In the colored stone world, where lab grown stones have been around for a while, I think the gem labs usually go by “natural” and “synthetic”. E.g. natural ruby vs synthetic ruby.

Exactly. But i agree not to use the word synthetic because for some reason diamond people are not as smart as gemstone people.
David and others who are marketing LGD's are using 'Earth' to appeal to peoples environmental concerns.
This is unfounded because it is trading off. That is negative marketing. It is derogatory and attempting to focus on a missproven concept: that LGD's are enviromentally friendly.
 

goldnsilver

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To be honest, when I first heard "earth-mined" I really thought fleetingly that we might have started digging up diamonds on Mars or something, hence the need for distinction.

And for some reason "synthetic" is increasingly reminding me of replicants in Blade Runner (1982).

I really don't know why this whole business is taking my mind to outer space...
 

Rockdiamond

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David and others who are marketing LGD's are using 'Earth' to appeal to peoples environmental concerns.
Garry, all due respect- because we agree 100% that selling Factory Produced Diamonds based on environmental superiority to mined diamonds is being disingenuous.
But I just made the point in my post above that my "sales pitch" for our Natural Diamonds is reminding people they are from the Earth- we use the phrase on our site.
If a consumer asked me about the environmental impact compared to mined diamonds, I'd answer honestly that both have negative impacts.
Please don't lump me in with those who lie about it.
 

icy_jade

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Exactly. But i agree not to use the word synthetic because for some reason diamond people are not as smart as gemstone people.
David and others who are marketing LGD's are using 'Earth' to appeal to peoples environmental concerns.
This is unfounded because it is trading off. That is negative marketing. It is derogatory and attempting to focus on a missproven concept: that LGD's are enviromentally friendly.

Ok I just find it odd that man made ruby is labeled “synthetic ruby” but man made diamond is labeled “laboratory grown” but I guess fine with whatever the industry says. If “natural” is removed from cert and replaced with earth mined, then I think it’s a step too far. Otherwise is all marketing fluff imo.

 

Wink

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I have generally said mined, or lab to differentiate origin but other terms are understandable and not offensive to me. As for synthetic, I guess it comes down to word association: how did you first learn/hear the word synthetic? In my case, it's synthetic hair, versus human hair. Because of that association, I'm hesitant to use synthetic for lab stones, mostly due to a layperson's likely misunderstanding of what it means, as correct as it may be to use synthetic in this case.

I first learned the use of the word synthetic while a student at the GIA in 1975.

I was taught that the word synthetic was only to be used for gems that had the same physical, chemical and optical characteristics as the natural gem they were copying.

It always made sense to me, and whenever I discuss such products with clients, I make sure to explain what a synthetic is.
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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Ooh!
Please tell some more :mrgreen2:
Marketing people took over the debate.
The margins on LGD's are so huge and attractive (because they sell 'off' the rarity of natural diamonds that are rare in bigger sizes.
So people in that nascent industry are throwing huge money on advertising - especially to millenials who make up most of the engagement ring market.

So the marketing is designed to appeal to Gretta T etc.
And that means attacking mining, blood diamonds, De Beers old monopoly stories etc and all things to do with the natural diamond market. They are taking advantage of the fact the product they produce costs so little that Light Box diamonds are selling at half price = $400 per carat.
We see people quoting tens of thousands of dollars for diamonds that will eventually be selling for a tenth of that.

On the other hand there are knowledgeable people buying LGD diamonds for themselves for fun with their disposable income who do not care - the number of PS folk buying Light Box diamonds and having fun with resetting them is great.
The geeky types who love the idea of the technology - that is great and a real serious marketing opportunity.

And for the record, my Vera has a treated blue diamond and some of the last remaining Chatham pink woman made diamonds (I believe a lot of the people in that Ukrainian factory were women). So do not shoot me - I am simply messaging that the messages discussed in this thread are about underhanded marketing trickery.
If anyone wants to engage me further I will just re-post this post.
 

John Pollard

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@Rockdiamond ,

It occurs to me that if you'd posted your thread one year ago I would have shared your position.

Your words in red would have been mine in July, 2020.
I promise- like MQS- and most others in this discussion , I do not perceive “Earth Mined” in any derogatory sense.
I ( personally) do not derive any negativity whatsoever in the term Earth Mined....of course, we're not that luxurious
Based on this totally unscientific thread.....no one seems to have a negative connotation with the term Earth Mined- while "Synthetic" has garnered some negative reviews...

That was then. This is now.

@Garry H (Cut Nut) - - - your 'opponent' ;-) - - - was kind enough to inform me of the situation when I casually used the term with him. I was confused by his comment at first, too. Then I asked around. It's a thing. I already told about studies costing millions in CSR research which agree with what G has told us.

That's why my position changed. I don't need to use it. If there's even a shade of a chance, I choose not to risk offense.

It reminds me of the old musicians' joke: What's the difference between a normal fellow and a gentleman? A: Both of them know how to play the saxophone. The gentleman chooses not to.
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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I struggled before with the musician joke John.
But I like your red explanation. And I remember that conversation earlier this year.

In the olden days Earth Diamonds would have sounded great.
But the combination of Earth and Mined has negative connotations for many younger folk who are concerned about the environment.

I am very concerned about the environment too and I am approaching 70. David Attenbourogh (sp?) is mid 90's.
But using hot terms to specific groups is what I hope David can understand.

how is Earth Diamonds David>
 

John Pollard

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I struggled before with the musician joke John.
In this thread's context:

Q: What's the difference between a normal fellow and a gentleman?
A: Both of them know the term 'Earth mined.' The gentleman chooses not to use it.

:cool2:

David's an accomplished musician so I was pulling his tail. He didn't flinch.
 

Rockdiamond

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Thank goodness Garry has never been and never will be my opponent ( he'd whup my butt)
I think it seems that some believe it's fish or cut bait.
John, you never answered my main point about the term- and more importantly, consumer knowledge.
If a consumer is aware of both, wouldn't they want to know which one came from the earth?
Kind of like Farm Raised, or Wild Caught- but don't get me started on the decimation of the seas by both sorts of operations....
So maybe it's not the terminology that's offensive.
There are unscrupulous diamond sellers- and there have been forever.
There are honest diamond sellers- and there have been forever.
It's going to be the same with Lab Grown Diamonds.
Probably, like now, the bulk of them to be sold by a few Mega sites, and whatever B&M Jewelers that can hang on.
There are already database LG sellers chopping margins to the level where service is impossible.
Why can't a seller sell both, or either promote the great things they offer, without using negative tactics in any way?

If a seller is offering both, how in the world is "Earth Mined" - or "Lab Grown" offensive to the audience that already knows both exist?
I hate to put it in these terms.. if those who find the term offensive can't see past it, it's more of an over-sensitivity on the readers part- especially here in the Lab Grown section of Pricescope- everyone reading this is familiar with both mined and fabricated diamonds.
John- if you were working on both sectors of the business and of course you'd want to honestly represent both....what terms would you use?
In showcases for example- if a jewelry store is selling both- how should they label them?


About the comparisons to Rubies and other human fabricated gemstones... and them being called Synthetic...I don't like the usage there either....
 

Rockdiamond

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Oh - and once and for all- if you have a problem with the saxophone after listening to the late great Clarence Clemmons, well......

All the musicians reading this got the Sax joke ( and about 25% of the drummers)
 

Karl_K

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this thread is making want to go outside and yell earth mined...earth mined 10 times just on general principles.
*grin*
 

DejaWiz

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this thread is making want to go outside and yell earth mined...earth mined 10 times just on general principles.
*grin*

Have a beer while you do that, Karl...the ingredients come from the Earth, too!
 

DejaWiz

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no beer
Earth pepsi...earth pepsi.....!!!!!!!


I hope they try one more attempt at the Lab Grown Pepsi.
The post-growth treatment sure seemed to improve color and clarity. A lot!

002048830.jpeg
 

Philmc99

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Marketing people took over the debate.
The margins on LGD's are so huge and attractive (because they sell 'off' the rarity of natural diamonds that are rare in bigger sizes.
So people in that nascent industry are throwing huge money on advertising - especially to millenials who make up most of the engagement ring market.

So the marketing is designed to appeal to Gretta T etc.
And that means attacking mining, blood diamonds, De Beers old monopoly stories etc and all things to do with the natural diamond market. They are taking advantage of the fact the product they produce costs so little that Light Box diamonds are selling at half price = $400 per carat.
We see people quoting tens of thousands of dollars for diamonds that will eventually be selling for a tenth of that.

On the other hand there are knowledgeable people buying LGD diamonds for themselves for fun with their disposable income who do not care - the number of PS folk buying Light Box diamonds and having fun with resetting them is great.
The geeky types who love the idea of the technology - that is great and a real serious marketing opportunity.

And for the record, my Vera has a treated blue diamond and some of the last remaining Chatham pink woman made diamonds (I believe a lot of the people in that Ukrainian factory were women). So do not shoot me - I am simply messaging that the messages discussed in this thread are about underhanded marketing trickery.
If anyone wants to engage me further I will just re-post this post.

I know that it takes a lot of resources and people to mine diamonds from the earth but when people refer to LGD as having huge margins it seems to indicate that earth mined diamonds don't have large margins as well? I can't imagine the entire diamond industry exists on thin margins. Plus the protective nature of DeBeers and diamond sellers leads me to believe they work very hard to make pricing as nontransparent as possible to the public. I don't see the margins as being a con or strike against LGD.
 

John Pollard

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I think it seems that some believe it's fish or cut bait.
John, you never answered my main point about the term- and more importantly, consumer knowledge.
If a consumer is aware of both, wouldn't they want to know which one came from the earth?
Kind of like Farm Raised, or Wild Caught- but don't get me started on the decimation of the seas by both sorts of operations....
So maybe it's not the terminology that's offensive.
There are unscrupulous diamond sellers- and there have been forever.
There are honest diamond sellers- and there have been forever.

It's going to be the same with Lab Grown Diamonds.
Probably, like now, the bulk of them to be sold by a few Mega sites, and whatever B&M Jewelers that can hang on.
There are already database LG sellers chopping margins to the level where service is impossible.
Why can't a seller sell both, or either promote the great things they offer, without using negative tactics in any way?

RE Red text: Of course they would. The word earth isn't being questioned. "Earth diamonds" was suggested but I think @DejaWiz ' first reaction is likely... Earth diamonds, huh? Do you have any Mars diamonds?

RE Blue text: That's my point David. For example, when sellers started promoting themselves as "GIA certified gemologists," GIA said please don't use that term. Honest people don't. The basis of this, for me, is similar. Folks I respect alerted me to unscrupulous use of the word "mined" to elicit a negative response. Okay. I choose to avoid it, the same way I honestly avoid using other dodgy terms.

RE Black text: 'Zackly. YES! Hammer hitting nail. Whack! Egg-ZACKTLY. The only difference between our professional communication choices has to do with the word "mined" - where it's possible I am (arguably) over-sensitive, whereas it's possible you are (arguably) tone-deaf.
 

John Pollard

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I hate to put it in these terms.. if those who find the term offensive can't see past it, it's more of an over-sensitivity on the readers part- especially here in the Lab Grown section of Pricescope- everyone reading this is familiar with both mined and fabricated diamonds.

What about ESL readers David? What do you think the word "mining" conjures up for consumers in CN or IN. Not to mention mercury poisoning, etc. for Indonesian readers.

John- if you were working on both sectors of the business and of course you'd want to honestly represent both....what terms would you use?
In showcases for example- if a jewelry store is selling both- how should they label them?
David, I've given more than two dozen courses over the past year, from the sales teams for global luxury brands to Jewelers of America membership to a LGD-producer's preferred retail sellers.

Terms I use: Lab grown diamonds. Natural diamonds.

My presentations address ISO and FTC terms/reasoning about 'synthetic.' I have not yet touched on potential sensitivities to "Earth mined" in presentations. That might change.
 

DejaWiz

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Do you have any Mars diamonds?

I hope this becomes a thing someday.

And, if not harvested from Mars, then elsewhere in the solar system...be it from a different planet, from one of the many moons around one of the many planets, or maybe even from one of the carbonaceous asteroids between Mars and Jupiter if they bear such a prize as diamonds.

Doubt it'll be in my lifetime, but one never knows.
 

John Pollard

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I know that it takes a lot of resources and people to mine diamonds from the earth but when people refer to LGD as having huge margins it seems to indicate that earth mined diamonds don't have large margins as well? I can't imagine the entire diamond industry exists on thin margins. Plus the protective nature of DeBeers and diamond sellers leads me to believe they work very hard to make pricing as nontransparent as possible to the public. I don't see the margins as being a con or strike against LGD.
@Philmc99 here is some info you might enjoy.

During the DeBeers' monopoly - and before the internet - a frequently used term was "keystone." That's a code word jewelers use for a markup of 100%. If you bought a diamond wholesale for $1,500 and sold it to someone for $3,000 you made keystone on it. In the heyday, you'd hear jewelers talk about making key, double-key, triple-key... You have correctly identified the reasons this was possible. Control of supply (DB), clarity of sector roles, and a degree of opacity.

DeBeers' lost their monopoly by the turn of the century - Alrosa is now the biggest player - and the internet lifted the curtain, permitting more and more price comparisons, and blew up traditional sector roles. Now you have "wholesalers" allowing multiple retail websites to post their inventories online - and those retailers compete against each other to offer the most attractive pricing.

Bottom line, the word keystone is a thing of the past. It's rarely (ever) heard any longer in the world of general loose diamond sales. It might still be achieved for low quality (off-cert, treated, enhanced) goods but those products are so entry-level - like McDonald's burgers - that a consumer is already paying a price low enough that they don't "feel" the greater markup. On the other end you have luxury brand stores, like those on 5th Ave NYC, where keystone might be made, but the clients of such boutiques are usually well-aware that they are paying over market price for association with that brand.

Lab grown markups were enormous a handful of years ago. Many jewelers jumped on the product for that reason. Since that time "gasoline wars" have knocked the markups down, but the principle of accelerating change has made their cost-bases decrease as well. What's oddball is that the LGD world tends to follows price increases and decreases in the natural diamond world... If someone can make that make sense to me I'd appreciate it.

Thanks to the availability of information, consumers have more power than ever before. For natural diamonds PriceScope is the tip of the spear, in that regard. Take the page below, for example: We track retail prices for more than 500,000 diamonds listed in our search engine in real time. The world’s top online diamond vendors list their inventories here. So, while this doesn't show markups, per-se, it's a useful benchmark for retail-pricing research, with some stipulations of course.

https://www.pricescope.com/diamond-prices/round
 

John Pollard

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I hope this becomes a thing someday.

And, if not harvested from Mars, then elsewhere in the solar system...be it from a different planet, from one of the many moons around one of the many planets, or maybe even from one of the carbonaceous asteroids between Mars and Jupiter if they bear such a prize as diamonds.

Doubt it'll be in my lifetime, but one never knows.

Wally Funk might have said the same thing - her dreams ultimately came true. Wishing you the same. 8-)
 

Philmc99

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@Philmc99 here is some info you might enjoy.

During the DeBeers' monopoly - and before the internet - a frequently used term was "keystone." That's a code word jewelers use for a markup of 100%. If you bought a diamond wholesale for $1,500 and sold it to someone for $3,000 you made keystone on it. In the heyday, you'd hear jewelers talk about making key, double-key, triple-key... You have correctly identified the reasons this was possible. Control of supply (DB), clarity of sector roles, and a degree of opacity.

DeBeers' lost their monopoly by the turn of the century - Alrosa is now the biggest player - and the internet lifted the curtain, permitting more and more price comparisons, and blew up traditional sector roles. Now you have "wholesalers" allowing multiple retail websites to post their inventories online - and those retailers compete against each other to offer the most attractive pricing.

Bottom line, the word keystone is a thing of the past. It's rarely (ever) heard any longer in the world of general loose diamond sales. It might still be achieved for low quality (off-cert, treated, enhanced) goods but those products are so entry-level - like McDonald's burgers - that a consumer is already paying a price low enough that they don't "feel" the greater markup. On the other end you have luxury brand stores, like those on 5th Ave NYC, where keystone might be made, but the clients of such boutiques are usually well-aware that they are paying over market price for association with that brand.

Lab grown markups were enormous a handful of years ago. Many jewelers jumped on the product for that reason. Since that time "gasoline wars" have knocked the markups down, but the principle of accelerating change has made their cost-bases decrease as well. What's oddball is that the LGD world tends to follows price increases and decreases in the natural diamond world... If someone can make that make sense to me I'd appreciate it.

Thanks to the availability of information, consumers have more power than ever before. For natural diamonds PriceScope is the tip of the spear, in that regard. Take the page below, for example: We track retail prices for more than 500,000 diamonds listed in our search engine in real time. The world’s top online diamond vendors list their inventories here. So, while this doesn't show markups, per-se, it's a useful benchmark for retail-pricing research, with some stipulations of course.

https://www.pricescope.com/diamond-prices/round

Great reply. Thank you.
 

Rockdiamond

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What about ESL readers David? What do you think the word "mining" conjures up for consumers in CN or IN. Not to mention mercury poisoning, etc. for Indonesian readers.

Hi John,
For the uninitiated ( me) what are "ESL", "CN", and "IN"?
I'm concerned about mercury poisoning- as an American. I don't think it's limited to Indonesian people. I love Tuna.....which is such a minor consideration in the grand scheme of things, but it's like a canary in a coal mine- Mercury poisoning is a real issue for all of us.

David, I've given more than two dozen courses over the past year, from the sales teams for global luxury brands to Jewelers of America membership to a LGD-producer's preferred retail sellers.

Excellent! How many of the sales teams sell both Lab Grown and stones which were mined?
I see this as core to the issue.
It seems like there are some sellers dedicated to selling one OR the other- and that's where the rub lies I think. What about those sellers honestly offering both?

We have clients of all ages, from all over the world. I have ZERO concern about using the term "mined" in relation to it being somehow insulting to the bulk of our inventory.
It's almost as if some people believe that if we never use the "M" word, everyone will just assume the diamonds were simply lying around on the grass?
Personally, if others wish to use the term "synthetic" to describe lab grown diamonds, it does not bother me one bit- I would not use the term, but others certainly can without insulting me.

I don't see the margins as being a con or strike against LGD.

John's answer was erudite and true- but still, this point was used as a knock on Lab Grown diamonds, right in this thread. I just don't get the need for negativity for either LG or Earth Mined.
 

John Pollard

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Hi John,
For the uninitiated ( me) what are "ESL", "CN", and "IN"?
Stated again:

What about English as Second Language (ESL) readers David? What do you think the word "mining" conjures up for consumers in China (CN) or India (IN). Not to mention mercury poisoning, etc. for Indonesian readers.
I'm concerned about mercury poisoning- as an American. I don't think it's limited to Indonesian people. I love Tuna.....which is such a minor consideration in the grand scheme of things, but it's like a canary in a coal mine- Mercury poisoning is a real issue for all of us.
Right. And you might have a negative reaction to "Mercury Tuna" - the same way people where mining is toxic, penal and dangerous might react negatively to "Mined Diamonds."
 

John Pollard

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Excellent! How many of the sales teams sell both Lab Grown and stones which were mined? I see this as core to the issue. It seems like there are some sellers dedicated to selling one OR the other- and that's where the rub lies I think. What about those sellers honestly offering both?
This is a good question and reset. In terms of LGD those who sell both use the terms Lab Grown Diamonds or, in some cases, Grown Diamonds, or Lab Diamonds. The same sellers have only used the term Natural Diamond - in my experience - but it's possible they also use other terms (?)

We have clients of all ages, from all over the world. I have ZERO concern about using the term "mined" in relation to it being somehow insulting to the bulk of our inventory.
It's almost as if some people believe that if we never use the "M" word, everyone will just assume the diamonds were simply lying around on the grass?
Personally, if others wish to use the term "synthetic" to describe lab grown diamonds, it does not bother me one bit- I would not use the term, but others certainly can without insulting me.
I hear you. I'm not going to pick up that saxophone. I can hear yours though. It's okay. Just use some vibrato in the upper register. :cool2:
 
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