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

Rockdiamond

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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.

Hi John,
This is....well, completely off base.
For those Chinese and or Indian consumers who are also English speaking readers....they'd be among a tiny percentage of people in those countries with that ability- and or interest....
And they'd surely be aware of diamond mining. Especially those in India.
But really...how many of PriceScope readers fit into that category?

How about this- can we agree that this is a "safe space"?
Anyone can use accurate terminology, in spite of the fact some readers might not like the word "synthetic" or "Earth mined".
The last thing I'd ever want to do is insult people who love Natural Diamonds- or Human made diamonds....but by ( needlessly) "policing" the term "Earth Mined", it truly limits discussion.
 

John Pollard

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Hi John,
This is....well, completely off base.
For those Chinese and or Indian consumers who are also English speaking readers....they'd be among a tiny percentage of people in those countries with that ability- and or interest....
And they'd surely be aware of diamond mining. Especially those in India.
But really...how many of PriceScope readers fit into that category?
To the contrary David. However, please don't react to this first response until you see the one at the bottom of my post.

Thread title:
You did not ask "Is Synthetic or Earth-Mined a derogatory term on PriceScope."

I understood the question to be general. Thus my caution: Mining has an undeniable negative connotation in general. Diamond mining is an insignificant fraction of a speck of the global extraction industry. The mining of coal, iron, bauxite and dozens of other minerals is what people know. It's invasive, destructive and - where unregulated - places workers in hazardous conditions. When NGOs and environmental organizations talk about mining - to today's conscious consumers - they share data on toxic runoff, contamination of drinking water in poor countries, displaced communities and destruction of environments and ecosystems.

It's also crazy-dangerous in some places - like China and India - which is why I mentioned them. I've traveled to many places in China, and the main diamond and jewelry producing cities in India a couple of times (far less than @Garry H (Cut Nut) ) and I assure you, the negativity around the English word mining is real, even among intelligent, educated ESL speakers.

Just a quick Google.
Reuters: India disaster exposes lack of enforcement against deadly illegal mines
BBC: Why are China's mines so dangerous?

How about this- can we agree that this is a "safe space"?
Anyone can use accurate terminology, in spite of the fact some readers might not like the word "synthetic" or "Earth mined".
The last thing I'd ever want to do is insult people who love Natural Diamonds- or Human made diamonds....but by ( needlessly) "policing" the term "Earth Mined", it truly limits discussion.
PriceScope as a safe space? Sure. I'm not usually in the business of stopping others from playing the saxophone (i.e. using XYZ terminology).

My participation in this thread is because you asked, and it's is worth dialogue in my opinion. To that end I trust we're all listening, as well as offering opinion.
 

Karl_K

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mined diamonds and earth mined diamonds are both accurate descriptions and in no way deceptive, in fact they are highly accurate.
Trying to mute the fact they are mined by trying to silence those calling them mined or earth mined diamonds by having a fit about it can be seen in some ways itself deceptive.
 

John Pollard

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mined diamonds and earth mined diamonds are both accurate descriptions and in no way deceptive, in fact they are highly accurate.
Trying to mute the fact they are mined by trying to silence those calling them mined or earth mined diamonds by having a fit about it can be seen in some ways itself deceptive.
It can be played both ways.

Lumping diamond mining - which has cleaned itself up by and large since the 80s - with the likes of coal, bauxite and destructive mineral mining is deceptive too.

It’s all about intent Karl. Products should be promoted on their merits. There is no need for either side to use terms intended to disparage the other side.
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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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.

John Pollard gave you such a wide ranging answer with this pearl Phil:
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.
The fact well known in the industry is that margins on natural diamonds have fallen considerably since the advent of online sales. Here on PriceScope, which started out 20 years ago with +20 online competing vendors - mostly listing the very same diamonds from RapNet. The race to the bottom saw the advent of drop shipping from cutting manufactures in India to consumers with margins as low as 3%.
Gradually we at PriceScope deleted most of those vendors preferring companies who added value to 'in-house' diamonds. Today we have only a hand full of pure play trusted and vetted drop shippers. Vendors who have established relationships with the owners of the diamond and will ask questions on a consumers behalf to a dealer who will pull a stone from a safe and eyeball and answer questions. Margins are sub 10% to close to zero for larger diamonds sales.
This pressure causes brick and mortar retailers to also need to add value.

As a retailer or 45 years with many friends operating stores at the lower end of the market, they love the big fat margins (John mentioned KeyStone - the largest jewelers magazine is called JCK - can you guess what that K stands for. I am going to ask David to explain the C - just to check if he is actually reading his own posted thread.
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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The fact is that creating a large CVD diamond is getting very cheap.
You can buy the equipment for not a lot of money on Alibaba.

Growing a 4mm thick diamond gets you 1ct diamonds.
Growing another 1mm gets you a 2ct diamond.
Add another 1mm and you get a 3.5ct
By 7mm depth you can have a 6ct diamond

You can polish a 6ct CVD diamond in the same time that it takes to polish two 1ct diamonds. A 6ct diamond G VS2 will cost 4.45X as much per carat = 26 times as much.
But the cost to produce the 6ct is maybe 3 times that of a 1ct.
So if that does not mean that LGD's are trading off natural diamonds - please explain.
That means that HUGE margins are being made by LGD companies who are early into this newish market?
And so to my other retail friends - my advice has always been - please take goods on memo as you do not want to own a deflating product.
To consumers - buy LGD's for fun and enjoy them
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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mined diamonds and earth mined diamonds are both accurate descriptions and in no way deceptive, in fact they are highly accurate.
Trying to mute the fact they are mined by trying to silence those calling them mined or earth mined diamonds by having a fit about it can be seen in some ways itself deceptive.

When was the first usage of the term earth mined diamonds?
I never ever heard or read it until it was first used by LGD marketers who do not like the term 'natural'
 

Philmc99

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John Pollard gave you such a wide ranging answer with this pearl Phil:
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.
The fact well known in the industry is that margins on natural diamonds have fallen considerably since the advent of online sales. Here on PriceScope, which started out 20 years ago with +20 online competing vendors - mostly listing the very same diamonds from RapNet. The race to the bottom saw the advent of drop shipping from cutting manufactures in India to consumers with margins as low as 3%.
Gradually we at PriceScope deleted most of those vendors preferring companies who added value to 'in-house' diamonds. Today we have only a hand full of pure play trusted and vetted drop shippers. Vendors who have established relationships with the owners of the diamond and will ask questions on a consumers behalf to a dealer who will pull a stone from a safe and eyeball and answer questions. Margins are sub 10% to close to zero for larger diamonds sales.
This pressure causes brick and mortar retailers to also need to add value.

As a retailer or 45 years with many friends operating stores at the lower end of the market, they love the big fat margins (John mentioned KeyStone - the largest jewelers magazine is called JCK - can you guess what that K stands for. I am going to ask David to explain the C - just to check if he is actually reading his own posted thread.

If margins are sub 10% how does anyone stay in business? You have to work volume at margins like that and I can't imagine most jewelers are not selling several big stones per day.
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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If margins are sub 10% how does anyone stay in business? You have to work volume at margins like that and I can't imagine most jewelers are not selling several big stones per day.

This is pretty much how Dirt Cheap Diamonds started. There are still a lot of people working in their basements - they may never actually see or touch a diamond.
1626912636875.png
 

Karl_K

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I had an answer posted, then I did some searching and mmd diamond at least on ja are way down from what I had seen not long ago.
Egg on my face for not doing my homework..
 
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Rockdiamond

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When was the first usage of the term earth mined diamonds?

Does the name "Zimmi" ring a bell? Argyle?
I do believe at least one of those is on earth....:)

Garry- can you agree to my "Safe Zone" concept?
Synthetic, Earth Mined, they are specific and clear descriptors...let people use the terminology they're comfortable with, as long as it's accurate.
I don't want to feel like I'm joining the group of unscrupulous sellers who purposefully use terminology maliciously when I utter the term "Earth Mined".

In my opinion, the value discussion is unrelated.
Another super interesting and complex discussion- and truly does deserve a thread.
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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Does the name "Zimmi" ring a bell? Argyle?
I do believe at least one of those is on earth....:)

Garry- can you agree to my "Safe Zone" concept?
Synthetic, Earth Mined, they are specific and clear descriptors...let people use the terminology they're comfortable with, as long as it's accurate.
I don't want to feel like I'm joining the group of unscrupulous sellers who purposefully use terminology maliciously when I utter the term "Earth Mined".

In my opinion, the value discussion is unrelated.
Another super interesting and complex discussion- and truly does deserve a thread.

David the combination is offensive.
I would be less unhappy if you used one or the other word.
In our industry ''natural' has always been the word until human made diamonds became commercially viable.

Is there a reason why you feel the overwhelming need to use earth mined?
You could save keystrokes with earth diamonds, or even the more loaded mined diamonds?

Offensive is offensive
 

Rockdiamond

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Mining has an undeniable negative connotation in general.


David the combination is offensive.
I would be less unhappy if you used one or the other word.
In our industry ''natural' has always been the word until human made diamonds became commercially viable.

Is there a reason why you feel the overwhelming need to use earth mined?
You could save keystrokes with earth diamonds, or even the more loaded mined diamonds?

Offensive is offensive

In my own personal discussions- including how we describe our diamonds, yes, there's a reason. I find the term to be the most descriptive manner of distiguishing Lab Grown/Human made/Synthetic...from Earth Mined, Natural, real......
It just works for me.

I'll watch my tongue here to avoid insulting Garry or John- both of whom I consider friends- and have great respect for.
For the purposes of discussion: Do both or either of you feel that the vast majority of diamond buyers are unaware that natural diamonds come from a mine? How about awareness of Factory made diamonds....
No one is answering these questions.
Either people are aware, and the terminology is apt- or maybe we're hoping they don't find out.
 

John Pollard

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If margins are sub 10% how does anyone stay in business? You have to work volume at margins like that and I can't imagine most jewelers are not selling several big stones per day.

Garry simplified. Note that he stipulated 10% for larger sales. That actually happens all the time. Here's how. I'll call this story...

The Ballad of Chaz

Wall Street Chaz has an upcoming anniversary and wants a big whopping sparkler for his lady. [ To keep this streamlined, let's imagine true wholesale for the appropriate target stone is +/- $60,000. ]

His family jeweler, Gentle Ben, says "I have found you the perfect stone, it will be here in 2 days. I can provide it in a beautiful platinum solitaire for $80,000." Chaz tells Ben that's going to stretch his budget, but it sounds awesome. That night Chaz, being the good Wall Street analyst he is, jumps online, floats around and sees "identical" 4Cs stones listed from $45,000 with eCommerce sellers. The highest priced one is only $70,000. Hmmm... He doesn't feel so good about the local deal now.

He calls Gentle Ben, who spends time explaining the unknown perils of dubious "bargain" diamonds online (legitimate perils like this, this, this or this). He explains - truthfully - that most of what Chaz saw is far below the cost of the superior quality stone he will provide. See it for yourself. Just come in tomorrow.

Chaz agrees but he's still uncertain. His colleague overheard the call and says "Hey man, my jeweler Jedi-Daniel is a wholesaler on 47th street (spoiler, no he's not, he just calls himself that) let's go see him." They pop down to 47th and Jedi-Daniel says "Oh boy, those suburban guys on their high horses. I can walk across the street and get you a stone, same beauty, with identical Cs for $74,000. If you pay with ACH transfer I can do $72,000. Here's a copy of the cert. You have to let me now quickly though. A deal like this won't last.

Chaz is considering bailing on Gentle Ben. He goes home and surfs the online diamonds again. A chat window comes and he starts asking Qs. He's impressed because the online rep is giving him solid answers. She links him to some convincing info about cut-quality and explains its why her $70K stone costs more than the others on her site. Not only that, with her guidance, and looking at the cert he was given, Chaz realizes Jedi-Daniel was trying to sell him a deep cut that will look 10% smaller than it should. ARGH.... He also learns he could use a wire-transfer and get that superior $70K stone for $66,500. Now he may buy online.

Final Verse

Chaz keeps his appointment with Gentle Ben. He walks in frustrated... From $80K with Ben, his family guy, to seeing $45K "bargains" to nearly buying a $74K wholesale (not) deal that turned out to be a dog - to the well-spoken but "virtual" deal for $66.5K he has no idea what to think.

Gentle Ben is a good jeweler. He knows how to select diamonds. He knows how to deliver quality. The stone he shows Chaz is a screamer. He also realizes he'll need to negotiate, given the earlier call from Chaz. He listens to Chaz' story. He looks at Jedi-Daniel's cert (cut deep...oy!). He looks at the video of the $70K diamond with identical Cs and great cut on Chaz' phone. He can't disparage that stone. It has all the bells and whistles...

@Philmc99 (or anyone who is not in the business): What do you imagine you'd do in Gentle Ben's shoes? Remember that you have home-field advantage and a real diamond he can see and experience there, in that moment. You may not be in that position again.

Most reputable retailer jewelers I know would read the room and arrive at a number that closes the deal. Maybe not 10% - although that's the markup they're competing with from the internet seller - and there are consumers who will push, push, push to match it - but they will work to keep that business. There has been time invested in sales, research, calling in a stone and working the appointment.

Of course this is a streamlined example using one presumed true wholesale cost - without considering different Cs offered by different sellers, different supply lines, etc - but I hope it's useful.

Here ends the ballad.
 

John Pollard

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Rockdiamond

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All very informative- indeed, the worst Lab Grown sellers are already mimicking this bad behavior... but this has nothing to do with the discussion at hand...
For the purposes of discussion: Do both or either of you feel that the vast majority of diamond buyers are unaware that natural diamonds come from a mine? How about awareness of Factory made diamonds....
No one is answering these questions.
Either people are aware, and the terminology is apt- or maybe we're hoping they don't find out.
 

John Pollard

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I overlooked the Q - in favor of @Philmc99 observations - because this horse seems dead.
Do both or either of you feel that the vast majority of diamond buyers are unaware that natural diamonds come from a mine?
I have no idea. The most frequent Qs I encounter from shoppers - in terms of sourcing - are not about mining. They have to do with "conflict diamond" buzz (revived by LGD sellers) and poor treatment of people in alluvial operations. Pictures of children panning in rivers, etc.

Meanwhile, the primary "miners" are doing incredible things. Not just for the indigenous people. Also with reduced footprint and environmental rehabilitation. It all started in Australia. Adopted in Canada and in Russia, after the Soviet Union fell. But people have no idea about Debswana, Lucara's agreements, NamDeb, etc.

Just lately...
Alrosa investing $60M in social and economic development in Yakutia.
DeBeers' shuttered, but sustaining their upstream ppl during the pandemic.

Ergo: What I believe is that diamond shoppers are far more exposed to "smear campaigns" like the one we're discussing, than they are to the positives happening upstream and as a result of the natural diamond value chain.
 
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Garry H (Cut Nut)

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I have no idea. The most frequent Qs I encounter from shoppers - in terms of sourcing - are not about mining. They have to do with "conflict diamond" buzz (revived by LGD sellers) and poor treatment of people in alluvial operations. Pictures of children panning in rivers, etc.
Ergo: What I believe is that diamond shoppers are far more exposed to "smear campaigns" like the one we're discussing, than they are to the positives happening upstream and as a result of the natural diamond value chain.

Exactly Sir John!
And the conflict diamond issue has all but disappeared. But LGD people don't call it conflict - they call it BLOOD.
And talk about opaque markets!
 
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Rockdiamond

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For me, the much larger issue is that I see value in both.
So from a personal standpoint, I see no reason to associate with any sort of campaign trashing either kind of diamond.
A year ago, I really hadn't put a lot of thought into Lab Grown Diamonds,
I was drawn in by clients requesting them.
I was thinking- my most active clients probably don't know about Lab Grown.
I was wrong ( that was a first .... that day anyway)

Garry- I don't see myself as part of whatever group known as "LGD People" that get into discussions about negative political consequences attributed to the diamond business.
I see some super well run, reputable companies in LG stones.
Maybe it's because in my market ( NYC), there are large diamond houses involved in both types of diamonds.

There's also a bunch of extraordinarily questionable characters selling who knows what sort of LG diamonds.
Let's agree, dishonest representation is reprehensible. False environmental, and or financial claims are unacceptable, be it in either Lab Grown or Natural Diamond sectors.
Full Stop.

But isn't it possible to honestly represent Lab Grown Diamonds and not get tossed into the bucket with the butt heads who are doing bad stuff?

I am sorry for asking pointed questions. I got caught up in the banter, it was never my intention to put anyone on the spot....I am much more interested in the general discussion.
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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Absolutely agree David, Warren Buffetts store in Nebraska does both. I own some treated and some synthetics. Sorry, LGD's.
It is the terminology that has eveolved to favor LGD's that I don't like.
I don't like LGD, but happy to use it because it is generic.
Just asking you nicely not to use Earth together with Mined.
I think Earth diamonds is my 2nd preference after Natural diamonds.

And yes - LGD's will be a great way to get more people to love diamonds.. and will result in more people buying Earth Diamonds.
 

DejaWiz

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Warren Buffetts store in Nebraska does both.

Borsheim's or Helzberg?
Both are within a hop, skip, and a jump away from me.

As an aside, for the past ten years, I have contracted for his energy company.
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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Borsheim's or Helzberg?
Both are within a hop, skip, and a jump away from me.

As an aside, for the past ten years, I have contracted for his energy company.

Borsheims. The bboss man is discussing it in this webinar.
Sean Moore is at about 45 minutes.
I am on at about 9 minutes
 

oncrutchesrightnow

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Thank you to those of you who said human made.

There would be a huge demand for diamonds from Mars. Actually any kind of Space Diamond. And tuna from Mercury will be a delicacy to be enjoyed in a hipster cafe with background music from an alto or a bari. Tenor does not count.

I did not know synthetic gemstones were chemically the same as non-synthetic. Before reading about LGD and the FTC in recent times I thought synthetic meant plastic and lab-made meant same chemical composition. For whatever that’s worth.

Earth-made rolls off the tongue better than earth-mined. So does earth-grown. Maybe that’s fairer?

Other possible cool terms for earth diamonds: Ancient. Primeval. Primordial. Elder. Classic. Original. Arising from the netherworld.

For lab diamonds: Modern. Designer. High-tech. Hardware upgrade. Intentional. Post-fusion.

Agree that it’s weird that the price of LGDs is attached to the price of the Ancient Ones. Maybe people think that large diamonds always have to cost a lot of money because that’s what diamonds do.
 

John Pollard

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And tuna from Mercury will be a delicacy to be enjoyed in a hipster cafe with background music from an alto or a bari. Tenor does not count.

This made my morning.

Yes, please. Bird in the background or (don't tell @Rockdiamond) I'm a Coltrane fanboy, so maybe a speck of tenor during happy hour. I'll have the Mercury Ahi w/ wasabi mayo and an Oregon Pinot. Later, perhaps a Saturn sauterne.

Non-sequitur: Those who love Willamette Valley wines may want to stock their cellars now. The vines have been struggling in the heat dome, heading into August harvest. Prior years' vintages may become more dear.
 
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