Counterfeiting diamonds for a living? Sounds like something a white collar criminal from a movie would do. But John Hatleberg is no criminal; he is a gem cutting expert commissioned to create replicas of world-famous diamonds in order to protect them.
People want his replicas to protect their diamonds for insurance, display, education reasons and more. Continuing the craft of creating fake diamonds that has been in practice for thousands of years, Hatleberg sets himself apart with the high quality of his creations. Just how good is he? A group of representatives from DeBeers could not distinguish his pieces from the originals when displayed.
His love for diamonds began as a child, where he was enrolled in several gem-cutting classes. He took those skills with him through college, and after graduation, he began working for the Smithsonian. Upon looking at the famed Hope Diamond, he requested to take a mold in order to make a chocolate diamond.
In 1988, he made the silicon mold of the Hope Diamond, and hasn’t stopped since.