In a surprise mic-drop declaration, De Beers has announced that it is now entering the lab-grown diamond production market. For those outside the jewelry industry, this may sound like run-of-the-mill business boredom, but in the jewelry business, it is the punctuation at the end of 30 years of mounting tension.
Since 1955 when General Electric proclaimed it had been successful in creating the first man-made diamond, jewelers have dreaded the moment when technology would make it possible for gem quality lab-created diamonds to be offered to the jewelry consumer.
Within the last five years this has happened. Lab-created diamonds are now being made in qualities and sizes that rival their natural counter parts at a general 30% savings.
The jewelry industry became polarized in response. Some jewelers embraced the opportunity to offer consumers a lower-priced option. Other jewelers turned their backs on the idea and refused to sell them. De Beers looked on from afar to see how it would affect the demand for natural earth-mined diamonds…until they didn’t anymore…
In an epic industry-quaking statement, DeBeer’s summed up their proposition in one short proclamation:“The diamonds will not be graded, as De Beers feels manufactured products don’t deserve grades.”
The plan is to create goods that can be purchased to celebrate “moments” not “milestones” while contending that lab-created diamonds aren’t desirable for more momentous occasions…the kind of occasions that deserve to be celebrated only with natural diamonds.
De Beers will only produce lab-diamonds between .20 and 1.00ct in white, pink, and blue colors and cap the top price at $800.
Since lab-created diamonds are indeed 100% “diamond” and are as “forever” as natural diamonds, it will be interesting to see if De Beers has the power to redefine this product.
Consumers have clearly shown that they embrace the new technology, they love the savings, and they support the conflict free assurance. Lab-created diamonds are being purchased in spite of the fact that technology is known to drive down prices over time.
De Beer’s brilliant business move insures that no matter which market wins, they will have a future as the world’s largest natural and lab-created diamond producer. In this case, the result is better pricing and more product to meet either demand. 30 years of tension resolved. Consumers win.