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FTC Wants Clear Differentiation Between Lab-Grown, Natural Diamonds

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said it had sent warning letters to eight companies insisting that they distinguish in advertisements between diamonds that come from mines and those made in laboratories, reports Reuters.

The FTC, in its letters, also asked the companies to review the use of “eco-friendly” or similar terms to describe diamonds made in a laboratory. “It is highly unlikely that they can substantiate all reasonable interpretations of these claims,” Reuters quoted the FTC as saying in a press release.

The FTC declined to identify the recipients of the letters, but Reuters, citing one unreacted letter that it had viewed, said the Diamond Foundry was one recipient. The Diamond Foundry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The FTC said that it had found instances in which the eight companies advertised diamond jewellery “without clearly and conspicuously disclosing that the diamonds are laboratory-created,” according to the letter.

The Diamond Producers Association (DPA), which represents mining companies like De Beers, Rio Tinto and Alrosa , welcomed the FTC insistence that companies distinguish between diamonds that are mined and those that are made in laboratories.

“The DPA has for several months expressed serious concerns about misleading marketing communication and unsubstantiated eco claims coming from many laboratory grown diamond marketers,” said DPA Chief Executive Jean-Marc Lieberherr.

Reuters also quoted De Beers as saying it was pleased by the move, stating the two kinds of diamonds were “distinct product categories.”

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