The US National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs recommended that the Natural Diamond Council discontinue certain advertising claims comparing mined diamonds with man-made diamonds, including the carbon emissions associated with diamond mining compared with diamond manufacturing, the scarcity of mined diamonds, the resale value of mined diamonds versus man-made diamonds, as well as claims that described mined diamonds as “real”, in contrast to man-made diamonds.
The claims at issue, which appeared on the Natural Diamond Council’s website and in marketing assets that the advertiser makes available to retailers, were challenged by Diamond Foundry, Inc., a manufacturer of laboratory-grown diamonds (LGDs).
Diamond Foundry challenged claims made by the Natural Diamond Council that carbon emissions associated with LGDs are three times greater than those associated with mined diamonds. NAD determined that the advertiser’s evidence was not sufficiently reliable to support its comparative carbon emissions claims. Further, NAD was concerned that such claims conveyed a broader implied message about the overall environmental benefits of mined diamonds versus man-made diamonds, a message that was not supported.
Therefore, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the implied claim that mined diamonds are better for the environment than man-made diamonds.
Further, NAD determined that claims in the Natural Diamond Council’s online advertising which emphasize the increasing scarcity of natural diamonds create a sense of urgency about the supply of natural diamonds that is not supported by the evidence.
Diamond Foundry also challenged the advertiser’s claims relating to the resale value of mined diamonds versus the resale value of LGDs.
NAD noted that while it is not misleading for the Natural Diamond Council to generally refer to mined diamonds as deriving value because they are “rare” or “unique,” the advertiser’s references to “resale” value reasonably convey an unsupported message about the resale value of man-made diamonds.
Finally, NAD determined that, in the context in which it appeared, the advertiser’s use of the word “real” to describe its diamonds reasonably conveys the unsupported message that LGDs, like Diamond Foundry’s, have different physical and chemical properties than mined diamonds.
Therefore, NAD recommended that the Natural Diamond Council discontinue the implied claim that man-made diamonds are not “real” diamonds.
In its advertiser statement, the Natural Diamond Council stated that it “agrees to comply with the NAD’s recommendations.” Further, the advertiser stated that it is “grateful for the NAD’s constructive feedback about its substantiation and will incorporate NAD’s suggestions as it collects additional data to support its advertising claims.”