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Lightbox Jewelry opens to the public

Lightbox Jewelry launched the online sale of De Beers’ introductory collection of synthetic diamonds on Thursday 27 September.

Subscribers to its newsletter were alerted to the launch with a 48-hour countdown early last week. The collection – which does not carry the De Beers name – is currently sold direct to consumers. There is no wholesale operation.

Lightbox offers diamonds at US$800 per carat, with half-carat and .25 synthetic diamonds offered at $400 and $200 respectively in soft pink, blue and white. The collection comes in both sterling silver and rose gold plated silver for an additional US$100 and 10-carat gold settings at US$200.

After the brand was unveiled just prior to JCK Las Vegas, industry analysts and synthetic diamond suppliers were quick to weigh in on De Beers’ decision to offer a “fun, pretty product that shouldn’t cost that much”, marketed to Millennials and young consumer groups.

Some synthetic diamond manufacturers are claiming predatory pricing by De Beers.

Chatham Created Gems & Diamonds CEO Tom Chatham told Bloomberg: “De Beers aren’t stupid. They know how to grow diamonds, but this equipment is not cheap. They are selling below cost.”

According to JCK Online, Chatham sent a comment on De Beers’ pricing practices to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in early September.

“As a grower of gem crystals for over 53 years, growing diamonds since 1993, I [am] very familiar with the costs,” Chatham said.

“I felt it was impossible for Lightbox to sell 1-carat eye-clean, white stones at stated prices and that De Beers had a 100-year-plus history of buying markets and shoving competitors aside.”

Chatham explained that while he had contacted the FTC regarding price dumping and predatory pricing, no legal action had been initiated as he did not consider it to be a formal complaint.

At the time of publication, Lightbox Jewelry had not commented on the sales performance of its online store.

The website is the only platform for purchasing Lightbox products, and Steve Coe, general manager Lightbox Jewelry said the company would conduct a “modest” bricks-and-mortar trial later this year.

The synthetic diamonds are made in its Element Six laboratory in England. The construction of another Element Six laboratory in Oregon, US is currently underway and will account for potential growth in the company, with the ability to produce more than 500,000 carats annually. De Beers has invested US$94 million in its construction, which is set to be completed in 2020.

Background Reading
Bloomberg - Lab-Made Diamonds for Less: Why De Beers's Plan Worries Rivals
JCK Online - Is De Beers' Lightbox Brand Priced Too Low?

More reading
De Beers enters synthetic diamond market with new collection
Local jewellers respond to De Beers synthetic collection
Diamond definition amended to include synthetics

German Cuckoo Clock Nest

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