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De Beers defends turf against China's lab-made diamonds

World's largest diamond company frames synthetic gem stones as casual jewelry

Diamonds can be produced in bulk in just a few weeks in a lab.

TOKYO -- Global diamond leader De Beers stunned the industry in late May when it said it would reverse a long-standing policy and start marketing a synthetic-diamond brand, a move made necessary by the rising standards and growing production of the man-made gems by Chinese manufacturers.

Known for the famous ad catchphrase "a diamond is forever," De Beers will launch online sales of the Lightbox Jewelry brand of synthetic diamonds in the U.S. as early as September.

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