Interesting research recently performed by the Natural Diamond Council to determine the desirability of diamonds and the longevity of the industry has spurred a conversation regarding generational consistencies and divides.  There are many differences between Generation Z and Millennials, but they both agree with the sentiment, “diamonds are a girl’s best friend.”

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The Natural Diamond Council

The study performed by the Natural Diamond Council involved surveying 5,000 people from the Gen Z and Millennial generations. It was quickly determined that both valued diamonds, and should money be no issue, they would prefer diamonds to a long list of other luxuries. Even with budget confines, these generations are buying precious stones.  Nearly 80% of those surveyed said that they had made a diamond purchase within the past two years.  While many were buying online, those who did buy in brick and mortar stores sought out independent operations, as opposed to national or international chains.  When it comes to Gen Z, Millennials, and diamonds, there is a desire for authenticity and individuality.

The Natural Diamond Council conducted a broad desirability research and among 5,000 respondents between the ages of 18-39, the analysis shows diamond jewelry leading as the most desirable, and tangible luxury good overall. Vacations were the only luxury items ahead of diamond jewelry for both generations.

One of the most important facts was the symbolism diamonds carry for love and connection. The women cited design as the most important value when making the purchase for themselves after versatility and long-term style and value!

The Natural Diamond Council conducted this survey to track the desirability and reinforce the sustainability of this category. As the country continues to endure the effects of the pandemic, consumers focus on items that carry emotional symbolism and value.

We are encouraged by the results of the studies and think independent retailers should be gearing up for strong diamond jewelry sales from Gen Z and Millennials, as both have a strong connection to diamond jewelry where there is creativity  and value.

What Gen Z and Millennials Think of Synthetic Vs. Real Diamonds

These generations are not looking at diamonds in the same way as their predecessors.  Although the survey results indicated that the participants did value the stones for their unique, one-of-a-kind nature, influential marketing by the synthetics market has led some of those younger shoppers astray. Particularly in the case of millennials, there is a strong desire to ensure that diamonds are ethically sourced and eco-friendly.  Marketing diamonds to Millennials and Generation Z, the synthetics industry has led these shoppers to believe that they are getting the same value without the concerns of conscience when they buy synthetics.  Unfortunately, that is not the case.

The buzzwords that we constantly hear are ethically sourced, eco-friendly and of course, jewelry that is beautiful and as valuable as mined stones. Manufactures of synthetic diamonds promise all of this and more. The truth for us is that lab grown diamonds really deceive clients as they are not worth much. We do believe there is a place in the market for them, but not comparable to natural diamonds. Millennials are led to believe that synthetic stones have equivalent value to real stones (100%) natural diamonds without any environmental impact.

In no way do we want to say that synthetic diamonds are bad; they just don’t carry the same value as real diamonds. Synthetic diamonds are virtually indistinguishable from real diamonds. Naturals are grown from the crust of the earth taking between 1 billion and 3.3 billion years vs. a lab grown which takes just a few weeks.

Marketing to Millennials and Gen Z

True, mined diamonds come with a guaranteed grading report, which details the color, clarity, cut, and carat size of the stone.  This is done to ensure that the diamond will retain value long into the future.  Synthetics, though crafted under the same conditions, are produced in a lab environment.  Real diamonds take billions of years to form, while synthetics take weeks. They may share the same sparkle, but they do not share the same lasting value.  Buying synthetics also takes away from the uniqueness of the diamond. Now, the pressure is on for the real diamond industry to step it up when marketing diamonds to Millennials and Generation Z.

The goal, instead, should be to purchase real diamonds from a trusted source.  Marketing diamonds to Millennials and Generation Z must be handled differently than with generations before.  These are intelligent buyers who do their homework.  Of those surveyed by the Natural Diamond Council, more than two-thirds had compared pricing online, more than a quarter had turned to social media for advice, and equally as many read related articles before buying. Demonstrate a product that is unique, ethical, and beautiful, and these generations will buy.

With Gen Z and Millennials continuing to invest in this market, there is evidence of the fact that the real stones will continue to retain value and be desirable for many years to come.  This further proves that buying mined diamonds is a worthwhile investment.  

It's important that Gen Z and Millennials see beyond all the buzz words and dig deeper to understand what they are buying. It's important that we educate them that while both may be beautiful, the value of mined and grown cannot compare.