b'SHOWSTHE LAB- 5 RETAILTHEWRAP-UPWENTGROWNTRENDS SWEET DARK QUESTION SPOTCouncil last year.NOW ALL MYstones to their customers. The idea behind the organization isThere are rules governing environ-to address the need for lab-grown dia-BIG DIAMONDmental marketing claims, described in mond education (for store owners, salesCOMPANIES, THEYREthe FTCs Green Guides. The FTC associates and consumers), research andONTO LAB-GROWNoutlines what terms companies can use awareness, and to develop a sustainabili- when advertising to the public, and how ty program for diamond growers. DIAMONDS. A LOTto use them in order to avoid getting Its this fourth and final pillar CaseyOF THE BIG BOYS AREflagged for false advertising. says theyve been spending the most timeLast spring, the commission sent on so far.GOING TO THEM. warning letters to eight companies about And its addressing an area provingpotentially deceptive diamond advertis-to be the most lawlessmultiple claims BRIAN HOOVER, ing. Half the letters pointed out problem-about being sustainable, eco-friendly,AVANT GARDE JEWELERS atic eco claims.green, or any of the other half-dozenTheres nothing wrong with a compa-nebulous terms that get tossed aroundny claiming its product is eco-friendly in the wild, wild west world of lab-grownbecause it uses less water or energy in the diamonds. manufacturing process, FTC staff attor-MVI Marketings consumer researchney Robert Frisby explained to National shows that after value, wanting aJeweler in an April 2019 interview after product that is eco-friendly is thenews of the warning letters broke.second-most important reasonBut its advertising has to consumers choose lab-growninclude this explanation. A com-diamonds over mined. pany cant just slap eco-friend-Its a concern that doesntly on all its ads; there are too come as a surprise in the age ofmany ways consumers can widespread climate demonstra- interpret that.tions and growing anxiety aboutFrisby said companies also the future of the planet, but itneed to have publicly avail-also begs two questions: what doable evidence backing up their these terms mean, and who can useclaimsand the amount of nec-them? Swarovskis man-made colored diamonds have names like essary scientific evidence increases Casey says the council is workingAndrogyny Flamingo (the large pink diamond in the center) with claims like carbon neutral. and Heavy Metal Cherry (the big red diamondwith SCS Global Services, which createsat the bottom). All 16 colors Swarovski currently Marketers of lab-grown stones also must standards and certifies compliance withproduces are pictured here. be careful about saying their products are those standards across dozens of industries. green because their factories exert less envi-SCS worked with the diamond industry, NGOs andronmental impact than a diamond mine.the Federal Trade Commission, the agency that guards againstJewelers Vigilance Committee President Tiffany Stevens false advertising, to develop a set of standards for what sustainableonce shared a metaphor that skillfully shoots down that claim.means when it comes to diamonds - natural or lab-grown. She put it like this: One of the recurring issues we see with the en-This is not a lab-grown standard, Casey notes, this is a diamondvironmental claims is the use of relative standards, i.e., Michelle speaks standard. Any company, whether its lab-grown or mined, can apply20 words of Spanish and Tiffany speaks one so Michelle is fluent in [for certification against] the standard.Spanish, rather than what the standard actually is under the Green At the councils final kickoff meeting in January, its membersGuides, which is an absolute, i.e., Michelle is either fluent in Spanish or finished a preliminary set of standards, and assembled a group of fivenot, regardless of how competent the person standing next to her is.pilot growers to submit for certification against those standards: WDFirst issued in 1992 and most recently revised in 2012, the Green Diamonds, Lusix, Goldiam, Fenix and Green Rocks.Guides cover all products, from paint to paper to diamond pendants, Theres all this garbage being talked about, on both sides, outbut they are not the only set of guidelines regulating advertising in there in the industry, he says. the jewelry industry.Developing this program gives the industry something it can go by,The FTC has an industry-specific set of guidelines, the aptly named which is independently developed and verified so we dont confuseJewelry Guides, that just underwent their first revision in two decades. consumers.Jewelers who want to carry lab-grown diamonds should know and understand them. LAB-GROWN TALKING POINTS The Jewelry Guides dictate that sellers of lab-grown diamonds must The sustainability certification program seems poised to be helpful tomake it clear their product is lab-grown by using clear and conspicu-retailers as well, as they work to understand which lab-grown diamondsous disclosure with the word diamond. Those advertising lab-grown companies claims are legitimate and how they should talk about thesediamonds must use the handful of terms the FTC deems acceptable, Continued on page 2422 MARKET ISSUE 2020'