Synthetic diamonds are a reality and a challenge to the natural diamond industry, a De Beers official noted at the International Diamond Conference held in Windhoek on Wednesday.
Varda Shine, who is the Sales Director at the Diamond Trading Centre (DTC), said her company had formulated ways to counter the challenge posed to their operations by the manmade gems.
She said De Beers - the world's largest diamond trader - was currently using the systems of differentiation, detection and disclosure for the consumers to know what type of diamond they were purchasing and to ward off confusion.
Shine said that natural diamonds were special to many customers because they encompassed an aura of mystery and history, among other features.
She added that with technology developing, the synthetics industry was bound to grow and would pose a bigger challenge to natural diamonds as time goes on.
Gem-quality synthetic diamonds have entered the jewellery market in recent years and the technology used to create them is improving rapidly.
Traders, dealers and customers are not able to distinguish the difference between natural diamonds and the ones created in a laboratory with the naked eye.
Israeli diamond merchant Lev Leviev, who is also the Chairman of LLD Diamonds, told the gathering that at the end of the last century, the African diamond-producing nations had slipped from their pole position of being leading suppliers due to new developments.
Leviev said new sources, including synthetic diamonds, were becoming a target for investors.
According to a mining engineering website, (www.min-eng.com) synthetic diamonds have been manufactured in production plants for many years now and production reportedly now runs at more than 100 tonnes per year.
Learn more about synthetic diamonds at http://www.diamondsourceva.com/Education/ArtificialDiamonds/synthetic-diamonds.asp