A Review of the Showtime Documentary: “Nothing Lasts Forever”
Last night I watched the Showtime documentary, “Nothing Lasts Forever”. This one hour 26 minute video is without a doubt the wake up call for the mined diamond industry on two levels:
- Lab created diamonds are a growing part of the international diamond market, have been for some time, and nobody really knows the magnitude of lab created diamonds in the market, and
- The mined diamond industry is absolutely committed to sticking their head in the sand to try to ignore the facts with Martin Rapaport and DeBeers shoving those heads into the sand as hard as they can.
The documentary did an excellent job of demonstrating:
- How diamonds are grown in the lab,
- The tremendous capability of the Chinese production facilities to produce millions of carats of lab created diamonds, and
- The fact that the international diamond industry truly does not know just how many lab created diamonds are in the pipeline, undetected with mined diamonds.
- Diamonds, as a mined entity, are not rare at all. DeBeers and other producers simply hold stocks off the market to bolster prices and make rarity a perception rather than a reality.
Of course, those of us who have been in the diamond industry more than a few decades already know most of this. That fact was demonstrated by the show’s interviews with designer and author, Aja Raden who dared to say what most everyone is thinking but afraid to say for fear of rankling the feathers of Rapaport and DeBeers.
The work of Dusan Simic to find solutions to the created diamond market problem was beautifully represented as this world-renowned gemologist recognizes the need for the diamond industry to work together. Simic’s proposal that lab created diamonds be treated to fluoresce pink is very much in line with Yahuda’s diamond filler treatment that has the “flash effect” identifier. However, rather than embrace the concept which would help further both sides of the diamond industry (mined -v- lab created), Simic was summarily dismissed by the traditional diamond trade and even denigrated by Rapaport who appeared to lead Simic down the proverbial rabbit hole of promises.
In fact, throughout the entire documentary Martin Rapaport was hell bent on taking all viewers down that rabbit hole of common sense. The pure absurdity of Rapaport’s stated concepts about the “diamond dream” are such that one has to wonder if Rapaport is not related in some way to P. T. Barnum.
Those of us in the diamond business in 1978 remember the heinous damage Martin Rapaport did to the retail diamond industry by publishing the Rap Sheet of wholesale diamond prices, which quickly became available to consumers. Also, I was seated just a couple of chairs down from Rapaport at the famous meeting at JCK Las Vegas show when he heartily announced that he and Nicky Oppenheimer were going to turn diamonds into commodities, the same as oil, wheat, and pork bellies. That also turned into a fiasco. In “Nothing Lasts Forever”, Rapaport dutifully carries the baggage of the DeBeers promotions department by making claims that a woman must rely on a diamond’s value to feel good about herself. Direct from the documentary:
“The woman projects the value of the diamond onto herself” Martin Rapaport
Further, Rapaport claimed that the value of a marriage can only be demonstrated by the value of the engagement ring. That the value of the relationship must be measured by the value of the diamond. And once again, (as most mined diamond apologists do), Rapaport presents an argument based on the assumption that all marriages will end in divorce:
“They’re going to come back in 10 years and say, “What’s it worth”…what’s my marriage worth? What’s my relationship worth”? Martin Rapaport
This absurd attempt to cajole consumers and dealers into thinking a woman’s self-worth is based on how big of an engagement diamond is given…just reeks of desperation, which was proven in one of Rapaport’s statements to diamond dealers at a gem show:
“We lose the engagement ring market you’re all out of business….everybody’s out of business” Rapaport
Perhaps the most logical and viable solution to the entire debate of the future of lab created diamonds in the industry came from a young lady selling lab created diamonds at a gem show (I did not get her name). When confronted by Rapaport asking her “What are we going to do with you?” Her reply was simple, to the point, and profoundly viable (and I paraphrase):
“Give us a proper place in the market and proper pricing.”
In the end, however, that did not happen. Rapaport decided to exclude the growing lab created diamond market from his RapNet trading platform, returning to the effort to make sure the retail jewelry market tows the line for the DeBeers promotion machine.
The diamond façade that was created by DeBeers decades ago is crumbling fast. The DeBeers created perception that a woman’s self-worth is based on how big an engagement ring she gets is pure folly. And only a fool would sell an engagement diamond based on the promised value of that diamond during an inevitable future divorce. The “diamond dream” expounded by Rapaport and DeBeers has been exposed as a “diamond pipe dream” to bolster a shrinking market.
Desperation is a dangerous state of being in the business world. “Nothing Lasts Forever” did more than expose the facts surrounding the current diamond markets. It exposed the pure desperation of Rapaport, DeBeers, and the mined diamond industry to hold back the tide of lab created diamonds headed their way.
The mined diamond industry has operated for over a hundred years without oversight or control, by their own desire and demand.
The cost of that kind of operation is coming home to them, as demonstrated in Showtime’s Documentary, “Nothing Lasts Forever”. It is a fitting title to the story of DeBeers, Rapaport, and the mined diamond industry.
That is my opinion, I welcome you to send yours on our Contact Us form.
Robert James FGA, GG
Global Claims Associates
Property and Casualty Adjuster, Texas Department of Insurance #1300433