The latest diamond industry news taking the jewelry world by storm is that the natural-diamond industry giant De Beers is launching a new line of jewelry featuring lab-created diamonds vs. real diamonds. While De Beers’ Element Six subsidiary has been manufacturing synthetic diamonds for years, the new lab-grown diamond jewelry line will be the first time De Beers has produced synthetics for gem purposes.
This move into the lab-grown production space leaves many people in the diamond industry wondering…
Why Would De Beers Go Synthetic?
Quite frankly, De Beers sees an opportunity to make money – which isn’t exactly earth-shattering diamond industry news. According to CEO Bruce Cleaver, the new synthetic diamond jewelry line could bring in up to $200 million per year in revenue for De Beers.
However, by launching the line of lab-created diamond jewelry under a new Lightbox Jewelry brand, De Beers is keeping a safe distance. In fact, in a recent interview with Rapaport News, Cleaver said, “I don’t see this is as an entry into the natural space. I see this as a totally different offering that some consumers want to participate in. There’s no real emotional value in lab-grown diamonds,”
In addition, Cleaver stated that the synthetic diamonds won’t get a color or clarity grade. "We don’t think [the synthetics] deserve grading, because they’re all the same. You can tell your reactor to make whatever you want again and again and again. They have no uniqueness and no rarity factor.”
Synthetic diamonds may look and feel the same as natural diamonds, but when comparing lab-created diamonds vs. real diamonds, the big difference lies in how the stones are formed:
- Lab-created diamonds are manufactured in high-pressure, high-temperature chambers. Scientists expose carbon atoms to conditions designed to mimic those of the earth’s crust. The results are man-made diamonds that have identical molecular and chemical structures as mined diamonds. Labs can create synthetic diamonds in just hours or days.
- Real diamonds are made by nature. It takes between 1 and 3.3 billion years for a natural diamond to form. About 87 to 188 miles below the earth’s surface, materials containing carbon are exposed to tremendous pressure. Eventually, this natural process creates the diamonds we know and love. The natural diamonds are then pushed up near the surface with help from volcanic eruptions.
The good news for natural diamond specialists is that, when faced with the decision of buying lab-created diamonds vs. real diamonds, the majority of consumers still largely prefer natural stones. While De Beers may make diamond industry news with its foray into synthetic diamond jewelry, most consumers are willing to pay for the uniqueness and rarity of natural diamonds.