Roskin Gem News Report

The Chatham Legacy, An American Story

Tom Chatham Will Release his New Book, The Chatham Legacy, at JCK 2023

A look inside the true story behind the original lab-grown company.

San Marcos, CA (April 17, 2023) – After decades in the lab-grown business, Tom Chatham has authored his first book titled The Chatham Legacy, An American Story.

The book describes three generations of Chatham’s and their role in what became a revolution in the jewelry industry – the secret of growing emeralds inside a laboratory. Carroll Chatham’s discovery followed by Tom Chatham’s business sense, set the precedence early in the laboratory grown movement.

Tom takes the reader through a colorful journey of innovation in the early years of the 20th century and how a boy’s love of chemistry became a family’s legacy. Carroll’s scientific discoveries were groundbreaking at the time. Rules and regulations did not yet exist, at least not to the standard it is today. Consequently, the Federal Trade Commission was not prepared to define the proper terminology for this conception. Thus, Chatham took the FTC to court in Washington, D.C. in a battle that lasted 3 years to rightfully name his incredible emerald creations.

The term ‘created’ became a valid gemstone designation to identify gemstones grown in a laboratory thanks to Chatham in 1963. “Many thousands of dollars were spent to change this one little word, from ‘cultured’ to ‘created.’ Everyone felt relieved and positive for the future. Chatham-Created Emerald was born.”

Then came education. Tom writes “Just to give you an idea how prehistoric the gemological world was back then, I have personal correspondences from 1947 from Richard T. Liddicoat, then president of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), which was training jewelers to become professional gemologists, asking Carroll for any suggestions he may have on separating his emeralds from natural.”

Mr. Liddicoat’s letter states, “Since your product is so beautifully made and compares so favorably to fine natural material, we doubt that it would be possible to teach a method of identification by recognition of the differences between inclusion in your product and in natural emerald.”

Once Tom joined his father’s company, his motivation was to create an equal business opportunity in the jewelry market for the gemstones his father was growing. He writes, “The courts may have given Chatham-Created Emerald its blessing, but certain sectors of the jewelry industry did not – and some never would.”

Tom continues, “When the subject of nomenclature came up for discussion, probably because the FTC likes to review trade regulations every 10 years or so, the fights began all over again…I was even asked by some to copyright the term ‘created’ and bar anyone else’s use of it, but I refused. My father and I felt that if another company like Gilson or Union Carbide had the same product, they should enjoy the same rights.”

He paved the way for the rest of the gem-growing industry to work alongside their mined-counterpart vendors and to gain acceptance in the market.

This is a must read for everyone in the industry who wants to gain a real understanding of how this category came to be. This book will reveal the many challenges Carroll and Tom had to face to become recognized as a legitimate category in the jewelry sector, and the true tenacity of a father and son duo chasing the American Dream.

Tom Chatham will be in Las Vegas during the JCK Show signing copies of his hardcover book. Chatham exhibits inside the Plumb Club Pavilion, PC-700.

About the company: Established in 1938, Chatham is recognized as the world’s leader in premium quality lab grown gemstones and finished jewelry. As a vertically integrated company, Chatham offers exceptional quality and value. That is why more people choose Chatham than any other lab grown gem.

To pre-order or reserve a copy, please call 800-222-2002 or email sales@chatham.com.

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