Fortrove News

Jeffrey Debs is the owner of Jeffrey Debs Jeweler Gemologist. The Philly jewelry retailer had been a bit wary of lab-grown diamonds for some time. However, ever since 2017, the graduate gemologist was offered a selection of lab-grown gems from a wholesaler, and finally said yes. In an interview with JCK, Debs discusses his change of heart and his move to lab-grown diamonds.

Jeffrey Debs custom 14k gold lab-grown diamond engagement ring

When asked about how he first learned about lab-grown diamonds, Debs said, "I first learned about it as a student of GIA, the class of August 1987. When I talk to customers, I use a lot of these different historical points that I learned at GIA to explain the timeline: I mention that General Electric is credited with synthesizing the first HPHT diamonds in the 1950s. Then I walk them through with a 30-second spiel. I’ve been tracking lab-grown since then and noted it would be cool if they came out. When that fellow from Gemesis was doing it, I thought that was cool. But they only did yellow colors and they were really small. By the spring bridal season of 2018, I noticed an uptick in customer inquiries about lab-grown."

Jeffrey Debs custom platinum lab-grown diamond engagement ring

"I was aware of the fact that this seemed to be becoming a category," said Debs about his first thoughts on lab-grown before venturing into that category. "I was concerned about mixing them in with my earth-mined inventory because at that time there were no affordable detectors to buy, and I didn’t know how this would sit in the eyes of customers, especially with all the talk of no resale value, or trade buyback.

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"Those are the factors that kept me from jumping in for six months, and then I got a call from a national wholesaler who’d gotten into lab-grown and he wanted to give me some memo goods. Prior to that phone call, I’d read a trade article about Diamond Foundry and called them out of the blue. I spoke to their vice president of sales and told him I had a few questions. I asked if his stones were certified and laser inscribed. He said, 'No.' I asked why not? He said, 'Because we feel the onus of that should be on the retailer.' I said, 'I beg to differ, I think you need to be out in front of this, have it inscribed on invoices, proudly on the forefront.' We didn’t have a meeting of the minds. Within a week, I got a call from the wholesaler, coincidentally, and started a memo program. That was August 2017."

Information originally sourced from JCK.