London Diamond Bourse | NAJ, NDC and LDB write open letter to the BBC following Dragons Den Misconceptions
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NAJ, NDC and LDB write open letter to the BBC following Dragons Den Misconceptions

NAJ, NDC and LDB write open letter to the BBC following Dragons Den Misconceptions

Dear Dragons’ Den team, BBC and BBC Studios Productions,

We are writing to you to express our concerns regarding comments about natural and synthetic diamonds on the 26th of January episode of the BBC Dragons’ Den.

Usage of misleading terminology, and outdated misconceptions about natural diamonds, pose a threat to consumer confidence which impact the ten million people whose livelihood is supported by the industry.

For future features, we encourage you to use the established industry terminology, and invite you to use us as a resource to ensure balanced coverage.

We hope that you consider the two points outlined below to appreciate the potential socioeconomic damage caused by unbalanced broadcast statements, and to protect consumers from misleading marketing.

  1. 1.Real life impact

“Bling without the ethical or environmental baggage is the offering…” -BBC voiceover

“The diamond industry has known many controversies over the years, from unethical mining environment to huge negative environmental impacts” -Kimaï

“…I’ve never been quite sure about the deep ethics of the [diamond] business. I don’t want to be promoting something and I then find out later it’s a blood diamond” -Deborah Meaden

These narratives are in opposition to the proven value created in local diamond mining communities. Up to 80% of rough diamond value remain with local communities. The value comes from local purchasing, employment benefits, social programs, investment in infrastructure as well as the taxes, royalties and dividends paid from the industry to respective governments.

This translates into:

  • access to healthcare for more than four million people
  • access to free education for over 500,000 children
  • conservation programs actively protecting over 1,000 square miles of natural land

For the Northwest Territories (NWT) in Canada, natural diamonds contribute to 24% of the regional GDP. Aggregated from 1996 to 2021, the diamond mines in the region provided 32,137 person years of employment and contributed over $24 billion to the economy. Of this, nearly $17 billion went toward NWT businesses and $7.5 billion to Indigenous-owned NWT businesses. [Government of Northwest Territories – 2021].

For Botswana, natural diamond wealth has been transformed into free health care for all citizens and free education for all children. Siddarth Gothi, Chairman at the Botswana Diamond Manufacturer Association, says, “Botswana is a country built on its most precious resource, natural diamonds.

Diamonds from Botswana support infrastructure, healthcare, education, as well as support to local businesses and many others. Natural diamonds represent 88% of Botswana’s total exports. In 2021, natural diamonds contributed 33% of Botswana’s GDP.”

On a global level, the Kimberley Process is the framework for all trade of rough diamonds. Mandated and monitored by the United Nations and The World Trade Organization, it was successfully set up to eliminate conflict diamonds, and it includes 80 participant countries, representatives of civil society and industry.

For synthetic diamonds, there is currently no global framework (like the Kimberley Process for rough diamonds) that can attest where synthetic diamonds were produced and how they were commercialised.

Regarding environmental impact, it is not possible to make a simplistic general statement across a category of products. Each company within the industry has a range of production processes, geographical locations, power sources, productivity capabilities, and sustainability-focused practices. Each organisation needs to clearly report on these practices and verified by third party.

  1. 2.Consumer Protection

“Our diamonds are grown in a lab and are chemically and optically identical to mined ones without their negative impact” -Kimaï

Diamond based high-end jewellery brand” -Sara Davies

Calling laboratory-grown diamonds “diamonds” without qualifier is in breach with UK agreed nomenclature. Natural diamonds and synthetic diamonds have equal right to be marketed as long as consumers are well informed of the nature of the product they are purchasing.

Consumer awareness of laboratory-grown diamonds in the UK is low, often leading to misconceptions. A recent survey found 40.2% of British respondents were not aware that laboratory-grown diamonds exist [Harris Interactive/Toluna – February 2023].

There is an established Diamond Terminology Guideline prompting usage of one of the following three modifiers when referring to synthetic diamonds: synthetic, laboratory-grown, and laboratory-created diamonds. In the UK this terminology is elevated by the Trading Standards authorities to primary Assured Advice together with the National Association of Jewellers.

“Lab-grown diamonds are less expensive than mined, around 50-60% less expensive” –Kimaï

When consumers unknowingly purchase a laboratory-grown diamond due to lack of clear disclosure of its creation and value they are at immediate risk of being taken advantage and incurring future financial harm on the resale market. The potential for consumer harm is significant, particularly as natural diamonds and laboratory-grown diamonds have fundamentally different price structures/trajectories.

Laboratory-grown diamond is a manufactured product with a potentially unlimited supply. Over 60% of laboratory-grown diamonds are produced in China and India. Wholesale prices have declined due to mass production with falling production cost—between 2016 and 2023, prices have decreased by over 70%.

Laboratory-grown diamond wholesale prices are currently 70-80% lower than natural diamonds [Paul Zimnisky – 2024].

Thank you for your consideration. For queries, contact Lisa Levinson at

   Yours sincerely,

David Kellie Alan Cohen

Chief Executive Officer Chief Executive Officer President

Natural Diamond Council National Association of Jewellers London Diamond Bourse






NAJ, NDC and LDB write open letter the BBC following Dragon dens Misconceptions
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