Despite its past claims to never sell lab-grown diamonds, De Beers finally relents and confirms it will offer the synthetic gemstones for $800 per carat.
Going Back On Its Word
It comes as a surprise that the world's largest diamond-mining company announces its intention to go synthetic. It apparently marks the first time it will do so in its 130-year history, according to industry insiders.
Consumers should note that it does not mean that the business will shut down its mining operations. Instead, it hopes to cater to people who want a cost-effective alternative to the real thing.
"Lightbox will transform the lab-grown diamond sector by offering consumers a lab-grown product they have told us they want but aren't getting: affordable fashion jewelry that may not be forever, but it's perfect for right now," explains Bruce Cleaver, the company CEO.
Cleaver notes that most synthetic diamond producers do not realize the potential market for their products. Therefore, they intend to take one step ahead of the competition and stem their access to the $80 billion gem industry.
Adapting To The New Market
De Beers acknowledges that affluent customers will still go for the naturally mined diamonds over the lab-grown options. Therefore, its Lightbox brand will be strategically directed to cater to millennials. The company knows that the younger generation are more hesistant to part with their money to purchase expensive gemstones. The company therefore aims to undercut its rivals and hopefully create a demand for fashion jewelry.
Experts reveal that diamonds made in laboratories are almost impossible to distinguish from the mined stones. Scientists use specialized equipment to plant a carbon seed into a chamber that superheats the contents into plasma. In just a few weeks, a gemstone-quality piece will be ready for processing. Without the aid of a machine, the normal eye cannot tell the difference between a natural and synthetic product.
Extensive Experience With The Industry
Market analysts are aware that consumers might be hesitant at first regarding De Beer's ability to grow diamonds in the lab. However, its experience with the process is unparalleled. Element Six, the world's top producer of synthetic diamonds, is owned and operated by the company and supplies the products in bulk for industrial applications. By the end of World War II, it continued to do research on artificially-grown diamonds until a Swedish competitor successfully created the world's first lab-grown specimen in 1953. De Beer's soon followed suit and invested time and effort to grow jewelry-grade gems.
Its researchers reportedly continue to refine the process and use the end product as a comparison tool. Its jewelers use the synthetic gems to come up with ways to differentiate between what occurred naturally and what was grown in the lab.