EXCLUSIVE: Lab-grown diamonds win transparency debate, argues Stephen Webster

Stephen Webster Celebrates Flagship Store Opening - Arrivals

British jewellery legend and MBE, Stephen Webster, has given a vote of confidence in support of laboratory-grown diamonds, saying synthetics are more sustainable than their natural counterparts.

Mr Webster, creative director of the eponymous brand, was part of Positive Luxury’s guest panel during Positive Week.

While the jeweller, who has stores in the UK and America, is yet to use synthetic diamonds in any of his collections, he is optimistic about the potential they have to shape the future of the jewellery industry’s landscape.

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Webster told Professional Jeweller: “I’m in favour of it [lab-grown diamonds]. I, personally at the moment, don’t use them, but that’s not because I want them to go away. I actually think they will become more and more of a reason why they’re a consideration, but it has also got to be completely transparent so they’re not confused [with natural diamonds].

“It’s going to be a very slow process but I am all for it in principle, because it’s something that doesn’t need to come out of the ground. If you don’t need it to, does it need to?”

Jo Blake, head of communications at Forevermark, also took part in Positive Luxury’s week-long event, which kicked off on Monday.

Speaking at Positive Week’s breakfast event, Blake suggested that natural diamonds are a better option for consumers due to the lack regulations imposed on lab-diamonds.

She said: “The industry is not particularly regulated in comparison to the natural diamond mining. We go through an incredible amount of legislation and regulation at De Beers which is not applied to synthetics.”

Blake added that the strict regulations attached to mining stones offer transparency.

She added: “In terms of consumer confidence in that product we are incredibly transparent, that’s less so with synthetic. So when we talk about what consumers are looking for, can they really at this moment in time trust a synthetic?”

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2 Comments

  1. Apple said:

    Lab grown diamonds are a perfectly acceptable alternative to natural diamonds, but, yes there are issues about transparency, declaration, and descriptions. I still think “cultured” diamonds is an acceptable description for lab grown diamonds.
    The other issue is, what value have lab grown diamonds got, in the second hand market, and identification of lab grown diamonds in made up jewels. New technologies have advanced to help with identification. This is a new market which needs time to mature and evolve, and that will happen.

  2. Wayland Smith said:

    I’ve never really thought of De Beers as an ethical company. I don’t remember them kicking up much of a fuss over Apartheid.

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