Skydiamond to Appeal Advertising Standards Authority’s ‘Mistake’ Ruling

LONDON — British company Skydiamond, a creator of lab-grown stones, plans to appeal a ruling by Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority regarding a campaign that ran in February 2023.

In a ruling published on Wednesday, the ASA said Skydiamond did not make clear that its products were non-mined, synthetic diamonds.

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It asked the company to not use the terms “diamonds,” “diamonds made entirely from the sky” and “Skydiamond” to describe its synthetic diamonds in isolation without a clear and prominent qualifier, such as “synthetic,” “laboratory-grown” or “laboratory-created,” or another way of clearly and prominently conveying the same meaning to consumers, as well as not to use the claim “real diamonds” to describe synthetic diamonds.

In a statement sent to WWD, Skydiamond said the ruling, which is the result of a single complaint from the Natural Diamond Council — a not-for-profit organization founded in 2020 by some of the world’s leading diamond producers such as De Beers, Murowa Diamonds and Rio Tinto — was “a mistake.”

‘We think the Advertising Standards Authority have got this one wrong and will be seeking independent review,” said Madeleine Macey, chief executive officer at Skydiamond.

Dale Vince, founder of Skydiamond, added: “Our website and all of our marketing, indeed our very name, make clear that our diamonds come from the sky, we make them or mine them from the sky.  We make that very clear. Nobody could possibly think they are conventional stones ripped from the bowels of the Earth at enormous environmental cost — and nobody actually has.

“This complaint is not based on actual confusion on the part of the customer, it comes from the trade body for diamond mining companies. It is an attempt to use the ASA for anti-competitive purposes and it utterly baseless,” said Vince.

When asked about why the Natural Diamond Council filed the complaint, David Kellie, chief executive officer at the organization, said it shows its commitment to “protecting consumers against misleading marketing that may damage their trust and confidence in the industry.”

“Our top priority is to be a resource for the consumer to educate, inspire and instill confidence to assure them that they can trust the product they are investing in whether it’s a natural diamond or a laboratory-grown diamond,” added Kellie.

The Advertising Standards Authority, which recently reversed its ban on FKA Twigs’s Calvin Klein ad in the U.K., explained the ruling is based on the observation that “the ads did not make clear that Skydiamond diamonds were synthetic.”

The ASA said it considered that consumers would understand the word “diamond” in isolation to mean a mineral consisting of crystallized carbon that was naturally occurring. “We considered that while some consumers may have been aware that synthetic diamonds could be manufactured or created in a laboratory, many would not.”

“Although synthetic diamonds had the same chemical and physical properties as mined diamonds, there were differences in their future value. We also considered that, whether a gemstone was natural or synthetic would be a key consideration for many consumers and was therefore material information. We therefore considered that ads for synthetic diamonds needed to make clear the nature of the product in order to avoid misleading consumers,” the ASA noted in the ruling.

It also referenced the National Association of Jewellers’ “Diamond Terminology Guideline,” which had the status of “Assured Advice” from Trading Standards. It states that when referring to synthetic diamonds, a qualification such as “synthetic,” “laboratory-grown” or “laboratory-created” should be used.

“We understood that Skydiamond’s production process, which involved using carbon captured from the atmosphere, was different from other synthetic diamonds. Nonetheless, because their diamonds were synthetic, we considered that this was material information consumers needed before making a transactional decision,” concluded the ASA.

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