Skip to main content Navigation

Articles and News

Charles Stanley Says Farewell, Issues Warning About Lab-Grown Diamonds February 23, 2023 (1 comment)


Stamford, CT--Charles Stanley, the outgoing president of De Beers North America wrote a goodbye letter to a number of persons in the diamond and jewelry industry. In it, he spoke about the joy of his 20 years at De Beers working for the company and with members of the diamond and jewelry trade. He says remains totally supported of De Beers’ mission as well as the company’s new leadership in North America.

Stanley also issued a warning about lab-grown diamonds and the threat it poses to the natural diamond industry. He says it has the potential to “ultimately cannibalizes our entire category.” Below is his letter in its entirety.

Dear Partners and Friends of DeBeers,

Following the announcement of my retirement in January and as I nearing my leaving day at the end of the month, I am writing to you today to express my gratitude for the support I have received and to share a few reflections and thoughts to the future.

It has been an honor for me to have worked for De Beers for almost 20 years in total, first from 1994 to 2003, and most recently having led De Beers activities here in North America for the past 12 years. I leave with great respect for the integrity and values that define the company and how it works with its stakeholders and our partners in this wonderful industry.

I want to thank you for the amazing support you have given to me, my team, and De Beers over the years. Our success has been made possible only through the partnership and collaboration with you, our valued partners. It is the people I have met and the relationships I have built that matter most, and I do hope those to remain and continue. I greatly appreciate the many lovely tributes I have received, and I feel I have a welcome home in every “port” across America.

I am proud of everything we have accomplished together over my time with De Beers. We have much to celebrate. Though there are too many to mention here, I have a few that come to mind. First is the highly successful Center of My Universe campaign that put Forevermark on the map, engaging our clients and driving them to your stores. Second are the many memorable Forum events created to allow a combination of networking, trade exhibition, education, and information sharing, along with a great social program that enabled us to have fun while we worked. We introduced many successful product collections covering bridal, classic, and fashion categories. And I would like to highlight the Exceptional and Black Label diamond collections, as they epitomize the core of the Forevermark diamond proposition of beautiful, rare, and responsibly sourced diamonds. Overall, it was by using the core Forevermark diamond proposition that we were able to de-commoditize diamonds and achieve greater value for Forevermark diamonds together. It is of this that I am most proud and know its success was made possible by you, our partners, and how you communicated this to your clients.

I leave De Beers at a moment of uncertainty as consumer demand for jewelry is slowing from the heights of the pandemic. Whatever happens, I know this will be short term.

What is more concerning to me is where the market for LGDs vs natural will settle. I along with De Beers have been very clear that we believe there should be two separate, albeit complementary, categories. Natural diamonds are worthy of symbolizing moments in our lives that are most important to us due to their rarity and preciousness; while LGDs are perfectly appropriate for fun everyday wearing and to be used in fashion time limited designs because they are not natural, rare, or precious and have no enduring value.

The narrative that there is an equivalence of LGDs to natural diamonds is misrepresenting the value and mis-leading consumers as to their true worth.

This ultimately cannibalizes our entire category and undermines the DNA of what diamond jewelry has represented across Millenia. We are purveyors of precious items containing rare gemstones, providing our clients with the jewelry they build their own life stories into, and why their jewelry becomes treasured heirlooms over generations.

A manufactured product that erodes in value simply does not live up to this.

I encourage you, for your own sake and for the next generation, to uphold the core values that our category has stood for, as to not do so will lead us to an unpredictable and potentially damaging long-term future.

As for De Beers and its future, I am very excited for the One De Beers vision, and if I was at the other end of my career, I would be embracing the opportunity that it offers.

The key to continuing our success will be building our brand in a way that reflects our clients’ values, making our clients feel special and proud to wear our products, and proud of the positive impact we have on the people, countries, and communities from where our diamonds are sourced. I encourage you to continue to engage with De Beers via one of our brands or service offers for the benefit of your business.

You can be confident in De Beers’ leadership in Marc Jacheet and Celine Assimon and your strong brand team here in the US. Should you have questions in the interim, please reach out to Caleb Bonvell, Vice President of Sales, Kate Rogowski, Vice President of Marketing, Ivette Stephanopoulos, Vice President of De Beers Code of Origin and Industry Services, Betsy Hawley, Vice President of Merchandising and Operations, and Sam Panasiuk, Director of Diamond Procurement.

I remain a passionate supporter of the De Beers mission and am proud to have worked for De Beers for over half my career of 40 years, 30 of which have been with the diamond and jewelry industry.

The US is an amazing country of which I am proud to be a US citizen. While I have deep UK routes – I trace my family ancestry back 1,000 years – I call America my home.

America is a special country, it is optimistic and entrepreneurial, and that is why it will remain the largest diamond market in the world and why De Beers will always be present in the US.

Sincerely yours,


Share This:

Comments (1):

Dear Charles
it’s   good that you are leaving De Beers or retiring, perfectly timed like the Oppenheimer family who sold De Beers as they saw the handwriting on the wall. Looking at the jewelry trade over the last 60 years, only entity which benefited the most is De Beers. So many major jewelry chains have gone bankrupt during the same period and the ones which are still in business are barely surviving on consigned merchandise. Over the same period so many of your so called “chosen few” sightholders have gone bankrupt and quite a few have managed to embezzled hundreds of millions of dollars from the Govt owned banks in India and as well as in Belgium & Israel;. The quality of life of mine workers in Africa hasn’t changed much. As a monopoly   De Beers did maintain the price of diamonds through manipulation to protect its profitability. Eventually all good things must come to an end.

I think the era of De Beers has passed. Lab diamond is a disruptor and like so many giants in other industries have been upended, will do the same to mined diamonds. Let me sum it up in one sentence about Lab diamond & I quote an ex-CEO of a major jewelry chain: “Lab diamond doesn’t say I love you any less than a mined diamond.” enjoy your retirement.



By YOGI DESAI on Feb 24th, 2023 at 4:38pm

Leave a Comment:

Human Check