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The Industry For Lab-Grown Diamonds Wants To Stop Using The Rap List, But Probably Won’t

During a July 2020 webinar, Andrey Zharkov, the former Alrosa president who now heads lab-grown venture Ultra C, made a bold prediction: Lab-grown diamonds would soon be valued on a “cost-plus” model.
Lab-Grown Diamond ring

A growing number of people in the lab-grown space want it to stop using the Rapaport list. The trade needs both a source of price information and universal language. A truly useful grading scale would be based on visual distinctions that can be spotted by consumers. The GIA grading scale is a 69-year-old legacy system used by the trade.

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Andrey Zharkov, the former president of Alrosa and current CEO of the lab-grown company Ultra C, made a bold forecast at a webinar in July 2020: lab-grown diamonds would soon be valued using a “cost-plus” methodology.

We will observe more laboratory-grown diamond prices based on benchmarking in two to three years, he predicted.

That hasn’t happened over three years later, but an increasing number of people in the lab-grown industry want it to.

In a recent “manifesto,” Marty Hurwitz, the CEO of MV Marketing and a lab-grown consultant, said that the industry should stop setting prices for its products based on the Rapaport list. 57% of lab-grown merchants use the Rap list for every transaction, according to MV study.) The International Grown Diamond Association’s incoming president, Joanna Park-Tonks, has stated

 

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Lab-Grown Diamonds

The decision to “off Rap” makes sense. The supply-demand profile and market dynamics of the lab-grown industry differ from those of the natural industry. When lab-grown diamonds are offered at more than 95% off the Rapaport list price, it also lowers the value of the product. In addition, Martin Rapaport, the list’s namesake, is a vehement opponent of lab-grown.

But if the natural business’s experiences are any indication, the lab-grown industry will struggle to remove itself off the list. Dealers complain about the list and look for alternatives whenever natural diamond prices decline, and recently lab-grown diamond prices have also declined significantly. They produce manifestos as well. And ultimately, they return.

Why? One is that Rapaport and his group are connected to the market. Some people like the opaqueness and complexity of the Rap sheet than a simpler list. But habit is the most likely explanation. The trade requires a source of price data as well as a common tongue. Rap has been that for many years.

The created-gem industry says it’s all about breaking with convention. It shouldn’t be difficult to “get off Rap.” Hurwitz has suggested that the industry establish a web site where growers anonymously enter pricing once a week because “lab-grown diamonds aren’t grown in as many colours and clarities as mined diamonds.” An aggregated list would result from that. (An additional, possibly more scientific method to accomplish this would be to use transaction data from online marketplaces or e-commerce websites.) 

If the lab-grown industry is seriously reconsidering how it values stones, it may also seize this chance to do away with the GIA grading scale, another complex legacy system still in use in the industry.

The strongest defence of synthetic diamonds is as follows: Compare the two jewels under examination. It’s typically impossible to distinguish one from the other, with the exception of lab-growns with obvious tinges brought on by treatment—a not insignificant part of the business. Why then should one be preferred over the other? Why is one worth more?

On the other hand, the majority of individuals are also unable to distinguish between a D and an E diamond or a VS1 and VS2. Even so, one is still more valuable than the other, and the lab-grown industry accepts this. Consumers, not just gemologists with microscopes, would be able to recognise differences in appearance that would serve as the basis for a truly meaningful grading system.

The manufacturing sector is far more focused on technology than the conventional diamond industry. It shouldn’t be impossible to create a better way to evaluate clarity, cut, and colour than a 69-year-old legacy scale with a little computational tweaking—possibly assisted by artificial intelligence. It may even address the tinge issue. These additional ratings might be available in addition to the current grades. yet again

There is a history to this. When Hurwitz’s business started pushing champagne (brown) diamonds for the Argyle mine in the 1990s, it unveiled a unique colour grading system: C1 through C7. Although the scale is no longer frequently utilised, it offered the goods a unique selling point. Argyle provided two reports at its pink tenders up until the time it shut down—one from Argyle based on its own scale and the other from GIA. According to executives, the GIA grades were more popular in the U.S. market than Argyle’s were in other markets.

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Here are Engagement Ring Trends 2023:

1. Modern Art-Deco
2. Colored Stones
3. Lab-Grown Diamonds
4. East-West Settings
5. Multiple Large Stones

The traditional round diamond form, which is the most common, may come to mind when you think of diamonds. But if you want something different, a tonne of alternative forms may be found to suit your unique taste and style. Each diamond shape has its own fire and brilliance because they are cut to different standards, altering how they reflect light.

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1. Round Brilliant Cut Diamonds
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4. Cushion-Cut Diamonds
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6. Radiant-Cut Diamonds
7. Pear-Shaped Diamonds
8. Oval Diamonds
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