HPHT Market - Article
HPHT MARKET TO WHERE ?
HPHT Manufacture urges retailers to embrace these goods as an opportunity to sell a high-quality diamond for a significantly lower price than the unprocessed natural equivalent. They estimate that a consumer can save 20 percent to 30 percent by buying an HPHT-processed natural diamond compared to the equivalent unprocessed natural stone.
However, they admitted that very few consumers are aware of the option to purchase these goods and most retailers do not know much about them. Part of the reason has been the industry’s reluctance to market HPHT natural diamonds.
First introduced to the market by General Electric and Lazare Kaplan in early 1999, HPHT-processed diamonds have largely been met with resistance by the diamond trade.
Given the trade’s conservative nature, Kaplan explains that there was resistance toward HPHT because the process was new and little was understood about these diamonds at the time.
Another reason for their slow market penetration is that there’s a limited supply. These diamonds come from type IIa rough, which are very rare in nature. Although the great majority of type IIa’s are typically pure internally, it is only those that are of the highest quality that are chosen to go through the process. As a result, Kaplan estimates that the amount of type IIa diamonds that can be processed account for less than 2 percent of all natural diamonds.
David Fisher, principal scientist at De Beers Technologies UK, noted that HPHT processing requires significant investment in costly pressure equipment as well as the know-how to operate it. As a result, the technology has traditionally been confined to locations with a history of research and commercial activity in related areas, notably the U.S., Russia and Japan. However, Fisher added that high pressure technology is becoming more widespread with significant activity in China, Korea and India, where De Beers is aware of a number of groups actively offering HPHT treatments and HPHT treatment services. Still, he estimates that only a few thousand HPHT-processed natural diamonds are being produced each year.
Given the limited supply, Kaplan believes that HPHT natural diamonds don’t have the critical mass to stimulate widespread demand. Some suspect that the larger mining companies have held back supply of type IIa diamonds in order to limit supply and subsequently keep demand for HPHT natural diamonds low. At the same time, He noted that savvy investors, especially in the Far East, have recognized the value potential, stimulating rising interest for these goods.
While no one expects that HPHT-processed natural diamonds will replace demand for unprocessed diamonds, Kaplan maintains that they give retailers the opportunity to offer their customers an important choice to buy the highest-quality natural diamonds at the best value.
Kaplan project that prices for HPHT-processed natural diamonds will rise and that the gap between them and the equivalent unprocessed natural diamond will slowly diminish. “The differential is not normal given that the material is the same,” Kaplan explained. “They’re essentially the same diamond.”
Disclosure & Detection
While HPHT-processed natural diamonds contain the same materials and characteristics as unprocessed diamonds, there remain strict guidelines to disclose these goods as HPHT stones and for the laboratories to clearly label them as such on their certificates.
In terms of classifications, mined diamonds are either processed or unprocessed naturals, while treated diamonds are not considered natural, he explained. Furthermore, synthetic lab-grown diamonds are neither natural nor mined diamonds (see chart below). Kaplan is confident that with the correct educational programs, HPHT natural diamonds will become an accepted like any other natural mined diamond.
Doing so would certainly provide an interesting option to consumers in their diamond purchase, even as HPHT-processed natural diamonds are likely to remain a small segment of the market with limitations. But there’s no doubt they have earned their place They are BEST VALUE FOR MONEY !!