De Beers Launches Lab-Grown Diamond Brand

May 29, 2018 Cheryl Kremkow Jewelry Trends Tags: , , 9 Comments

The jewelry industry’s biggest annual gathering starts this week in Las Vegas and it suddenly seems clear that all everyone will be talking about is lab-grown diamonds. Why? First the JCK show announced a new lab-grown diamonds section of the show. I’ve been receiving press releases from all the brands exhibiting there and will bring you a report on the state of the lab-grown market after the show.

But the biggest bombshell dropped this morning: De Beers is launching a new direct-to-consumer lab-grown diamond brand called Lightbox Jewelry in the United States in September, offering “high-quality, fashion jewelry designs at lower prices than existing lab-grown diamond offerings.”

How low? De Beers says that one-carat diamonds will be $800. And they will be offering the lab-grown gems in pink and blue in addition to colorless. The jewelry will be sold through the company’s website. Retail partners will be added “in due course” according to the press release.

Lightbox Jewelry AdDe Beers has been growing synthetic diamonds for more than 50 years at its Element Six facility in the UK. I visited once to see the company’s synthetic diamond detection equipment, which was also developed at the facility. Up to now, the company’s production has been focused on the industrial diamond market but it was always clear that the company could be a force in the jewelry market when De Beers decided the time was right. The biggest news here is that De Beers thinks the time for synthetics is now.

A recent Harris Poll sponsored by the Diamond Producers Association says that 68% of consumers say lab-grown diamonds are not “real,” compared to 16% who say they are “real.” However recent surveys by MVI Marketing indicate that young consumers still would consider purchasing a lab grown gem based on price, even for an engagement ring.

Instead of focusing on the bridal market, which has been the target of most lab-grown brands to date, De Beers marketing for the Lightbox brand will focus on female self-purchasers, promoting fun, fashion and color. The styles shown so far are pretty basic: solitaire necklaces and studs. It might be more accurate to think of them as basics with a twist.

Lightbox Jewelry Ad

“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 is perfect for right now,” said Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group. “Our extensive research tells us this is how consumers regard lab-grown diamonds – as a fun, pretty product that shouldn’t cost that much – so we see an opportunity here that’s been missed by lab-grown diamond producers.”

To produce the diamonds for Lightbox, Element Six is opening a new $94 million production facility near Portland, Oregon. The new factory will be able to produce 500,000 rough carats of lab-grown diamonds a year.  Of course, De Beers mines about 34 million carats of natural diamonds a year, so that’s a small percentage of the market.

But let’s say that the yield from rough to cut is 50%. How many jewelry brands have retail sales of $200 million in diamonds, not including settings?  This is a very big deal.

9 Comments

  1. Karn Badjatia 3 weeks Reply

    Its always informative and interesting to get your take on the industry and its happenings.
    In your opinion, why has De Beers done this ? To latch onto the possible market opportunity or to make a clear distinction between natural and man made ? Cause more than anyone else, most affected by this will be the retailers who had started popping up and making a unheard margin with CVD’s/MMD’s and with De Beers being so vocal about the 800/Ct price it sort of rests the CVD/MMD market far apart from the natural one…

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  3. custom jewelry 2 months Reply

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  4. jopina 2 months Reply

    I love that jewelry with a colorful stone .It looks so sweet.
    Do you know what the price range of this ?

    • Cheryl Kremkow 2 months Reply

      As mentioned in the ad, a one-carat lab-grown stone is $800. The setting is extra: they have both silver and gold options available.

  5. Umesh Agarwal 3 months Reply

    Thanks for the nice on diamonds.we also having many different diamonds in our stores.we thankful to your extraordinary information on diamonds and its types,

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  7. Nate Rodriguez 5 months Reply

    Hey
    My name is Nate Rodriguez, I am the web analyst for MVI Marketing.
    First of all, thank you for mentioning us in your article:
    https://www.gemobsessed.com/jewelry-trends/de-beers-launches-lab-grown-diamond-brand/
    Anyways, I’m reaching out because we’ve recently updated our website. And we’re just wondering if it would be possible to include a link back to our site, in case your readers want to know more about what we do.
    https://www.mvimarketing.com
    Thanks!
    -Nate Rodriguez

    • Cheryl Kremkow 2 months Reply

      Link added! Thanks for the info.

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