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Lab-created diamonds remain one of the international jewellery industry’s most passionately debated topics; however, the future of the category remains as polarising as ever. | Source: Lightbox
Lab-created diamonds remain one of the international jewellery industry’s most passionately debated topics; however, the future of the category remains as polarising as ever. | Source: Lightbox

Was 2023 the year of the lab-created diamond?

Lab-created diamonds remain one of the international jewellery industry’s most passionately debated topics; however, the future of the category remains as polarising as ever.

According to the research from PZ Diamond Analytics, global sales of lab-created diamonds increased to $US12 billion ($AU18.27 billion) in 2022, a 38 per cent year-on-year improvement.

It’s been a rapid rise in under a decade. Sales of lab-created diamonds sat at under $US1 billion in 2016 and, according to research from Tenoris, represent more than 17 per cent of the overall diamond market today.

“People don’t buy them because they’re cheap; they buy them because it makes them feel good; it’s an emotional purchase, a financial sacrifice,” analyst Paul Zimnisky told CNBC.

“There’s a lot of consumers that would love to buy diamond jewellery but maybe cannot afford it at $1,000 price points but can afford it at $100 price points.”

The lab-created diamond industry has benefited from several major brand endorsements this year.

Paul Zimnisky
Paul Zimnisky
"People don’t buy them because they’re cheap; they buy them because it makes them feel good; it’s an emotional purchase, a financial sacrifice."
Paul Zimnisky, PZ Diamond Analytics

Pandora released the ‘Diamonds For All’ campaign and launched three new collections in Australia, while Prada released the ‘Eternal Gold’ collection and urged the industry to embrace the category.

Michael Hill International announced a renewed focus on lab-created diamonds, while discussions about the rise of ‘hybrid diamond jewellery’ changed expectations about the predicted bifurcation of the market.

Lightbox Jewelry, the De Beers lab-created diamond brand, recently unveiled two new design collaborations intending to expand consumer interest in the category.

Lightbox has been a controversial figure in the industry since it was founded in 2018, and questions have been raised about the ‘big picture’ role the brand has to play in the diamond industry.

Gemetrix director and diamond expert John Chapman told ABC News that the strategy behind the introduction of Lightbox remains unclear.

"There are a few thoughts about what their strategy was there because they were quite cheap, even for synthetics, they were at the lower end," he said.

"There was some speculation that it was a strategy to undermine all the other producers who would have to match their prices, and as a result, probably go broke — and therefore, it might have been a way to destroy the synthetic market."

It hasn’t been all smooth sailing; however, with the October collapse of WD Lab Grown Diamonds – the second largest lab-created diamond producer in the US - highlighting the severity of production competition.

More reading
Lightbox details plans to expand audience for lab-created diamonds
Prada director urges jewellery industry to embrace lab-created diamonds
Collapse: Major lab-created diamond producer files for bankruptcy
Controversial lab-created diamond pricing strategy remains unchanged
Lightbox shuts down bridal jewellery experiment
Pandora unveils lab-created jewellery campaign in Australia
Diamonds For All: Pandora details new jewellery campaign

 











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