Amish Shah Says A Diamond Is A Diamond – The diamond trade may not be what immediately comes to mind when we talk about industries that are currently being disrupted in the world today, but a chat with ALTR Created Diamonds founder and CEO Amish Shah makes me realize that this business, like so many others around it, is seeing the winds of change come upon it as well.
There was once a time when diamonds could be sourced only from the earth, but today, science and innovation has made it possible for them to be created within a lab as well.
The advent of these lab-grown diamonds -which are also called created diamonds- have caused quite a stir within the jewelry industry, with detractors quick to point out how they just don’t match the value, rarity, or appeal of their earth-mined counterparts.
But Shah -who’s part of a family that’s been in the jewelry business for 85 years- believes that created diamonds are the future of this industry, and those who fail to get onboard this wave of disruption in it today only stand to lose in the long run.
As for what drives his conviction in this regard, Shah, who has been working with created diamonds since 2006, points toward growing customer interest as validation for what he preaches- according to him, there is a demand for an alternative to earth-mined diamonds, he says, and ALTR is simply responding to that.
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Since its launch in New York City in 2016, ALTR (a division of the R. A. Riam Group, of which Shah is a founding member as well) has seen its business grow around the world, with Shah saying that the company’s main task over the years has been in educating customers about the options they have in front of them when it comes to purchasing diamonds.
“ALTR was born with a very clear perspective that we are going to tell the consumer that there is a choice for you,” Shah explains. “And then you make that decision.”
Now, there’s plenty of material on the internet that delves into the difference between earth-mined diamonds and created diamonds, and deciphering differences in terms of value (a man-made construct by itself, by the way) between the two seems to be a largely subjective affair.
At the same time, it’s worth noting that the US Federal Trade Commission declared in 2018 that it won’t be defining diamonds as “natural” diamonds any more, because, as per its ruling, “it is no longer accurate to define diamonds as ‘natural,’ when it is now possible to create products that have essentially the same optical, physical, and chemical properties as mined diamonds.”
As for Shah, his answer to the question in terms of differences between the two kinds of diamonds is decidedly simplistic, but, at the same time, fairly straightforward as well. “A diamond is a diamond is a diamond,” Shah says.
“The simplest difference, if I was telling a consumer, might be that one is from below the ground (which are the earth-mined diamonds), and one is above the ground.”
According to Shah, ALTR has been contracted to about 800 stores today, and as its roll-out continues across the globe, its offerings have been seeing increased consumer traction as well. “Just like any disruption, you know, you bring the product to the market, and you ask the consumer a question: ‘What do you think?’” Shah says.
“What happens after that is the response of the consumer. Revenue is always a result, not the cause of growth. I think the traditional businesses see revenue as success. Success is not revenue. Success is consumer adoption. And today, we are available from New Zealand to North America.