Roskin Gem News Report

Rap Claims “It’s Not Real” / Chatham Says “Mind Your Own Business”

Gary Roskin
Roskin Gem News Report

This continuing battle between the natural and created diamond industries is like watching a train wreck. You want to turn away, but you can’t help but stare.

What Rapaport Says

“Real diamonds and synthetic diamonds, we are told, share identical physical properties. Does that mean they are the same? Absolutely not!” argues Martin Rapaport in his LinkedIn post of December 1st, 2023. Martin Rapaport is chairman of the Rapaport Group, founder of the Rapaport Diamond Report and the RapNet online diamond trading network. As noted in his CONSUMER ALERT: LAB DIAMOND PRICES ARE CRASHING, Rapaport exclaims, “Synthetic diamonds are not real diamonds!”

This comment stems from what could be defined as a misinterpretation of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s “misuse guidelines.”

§ 23.24 Misuse of the words “real,” “genuine,” “natural,” “precious,” etc.

It is unfair or deceptive to use the word “real,” “genuine,” “natural,” “precious,” “semi-precious,” or similar terms to describe any industry product that is manufactured or produced artificially.

What is Real?

Does “real” mean “natural”? Does “synthetic” mean “fake”?

It is easy to understand the philosophy behind the FTC’s contortion of the English language, trying to protect the consumer from the unscrupulous behavior of deceptive con-artists trying to pass off synthetic diamonds/created diamonds as natural diamonds by using the term “real.” However, the FTC isn’t saying that synthetic/created diamonds are not real. They are saying that consumers will think that synthetic/created diamonds are natural diamonds if you call them “real diamonds.” By definition, “real” means genuine or authentic. And synthetic/created diamond is real diamond. But the FTC does not wish to confuse the issue … or burden the consumer with the science or technology that allows us to create diamond in a laboratory or factory.

Think about it … In many parts of the world, when you say that something is “synthetic,” you are saying that it is fake. But in science (including gemology), if we call something “synthetic,” we are saying that it is the real thing, just made by humans and not mother nature.

Real is NOT Real?

There are those in the natural diamond business who believe that the FTC has given them kryptonite to ward off the synthetic/created diamond market. They believe the FTC has claimed that synthetic/created diamonds are not “real.” If you believe this, then you could then say that synthetic/created diamonds are the opposite of real, that they are artificial, false, or fake.

But synthetic/created diamonds (aka “lab-grown diamonds”) are not fakes. They are, in fact, in science, the real deal. They are diamond… no matter how you interpret (or misinterpret) the latest FTC guidelines.

We can all agree that some people should not use the term “real” when selling synthetic/created diamond. But at the same time, science tells us that they are diamond.

The FTC doesn’t want the industry to use the word “real” with synthetic/created diamonds for fear of deception. What maybe they should also say is that you should not disparage the created diamond industry by making the claim that synthetic/created diamonds are not “real.” Maybe this too would be considered deceptive.


Why does the diamond industry continue to twist the English language and ourselves into pretzels, trying to discriminate between synthetic/created diamonds and natural mined diamonds by destroying the meaning of the word “real”? Is it that difficult to describe the difference between a diamond that Mother Nature created approximately 90 miles beneath the surface of the earth, and a diamond that was created in a lab or factory using advanced technology?

Take Color for Example – Please!

Do today’s natural and synthetic/created emerald, ruby, or sapphire merchants beat up on terminology or each other? No. But looking back at history, this is in large part due to the work of Chatham Created Gems and its creator, Carroll Chatham. (If you do not know this important history, you should read the book – see REVIEW – The Chatham Legacy: An American Story) Maybe it’s time the diamond industry learn from the colored gemstone industry.

Tom Chatham, chairman of the board at Chatham Created Gems & Diamonds, Inc., son of the late Carroll Chatham, and a vocal champion of the created gemstone industry, continues to engage Rapaport. “I don’t speak for the natural diamond trade and Rapaport should not speak on behalf of the Lab Grown Diamond trade.”

While not speaking directly to the comment that “created diamonds are not real,” Chatham did respond on LinkedIn to Rapaport’s comments regarding value. “Some did not like the facts I brought up about the past crashes in natural diamonds. I do not like Rapaport black balling the Lab Grown Diamond trade because of recent price drops…. but who is he to know what lies ahead? Many natural diamond dealers will and have gone out of business and many lab grown diamond companies will as well. Natural doesn’t like us to wash their dirty laundry in public and nor do we want an outsider’s speculation on our survival. The market will eventually even out….. without bad mouthing each others shortcomings. If you want peace, mind your own business!”

The End of the Round

That’s the bell to end this round…. What round was that?

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