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News, Feature Stories, Diamonds, The Great Diamond Debate

Articles from DIAMONDS BY TYPE - SYNTHETIC / LAB-CREATED (118 Articles)

Important lessons have been learnt from the first year of Lightbox

While the awareness of lab-grown diamonds may generally be increasing, confusion about the product obviously still exists.

Key points

• Consumers remain confused about whether lab-grown diamonds are a diamond simulant or not

• There is very strong demand from consumers for lab-grown fancy colour diamonds

• The lab-grown diamond industry is still in its growth phase; innovation and competition will keep prices low

The Lightbox Jewelry experience – based on focus groups, quantitative and qualitative research, and real life customer interactions in our pop-up stores – suggests a wide variety of beliefs and misconceptions about what constitutes a lab-grown diamond.

The most common questions are: ‘Is it CZ?’ and, ‘Is this like moissanite?’

So, as an industry, we need accept that in many cases, the average consumer is still quite uninformed, even though there’s been information available for a while. It also means that we must re-double our efforts around education on the category: both for our own staff and for the public.

Ultimately, it is our responsibility to offer consumers a real and clear choice, and to be sure they are fully aware about the product they’re buying. We have recently launched new online educational content in an attempt to address this issue.

Our experience shows that, once consumers understand lab-grown diamonds, they are typically more open minded about considering the stones for a fashion jewellery purchase, particularly for fun layering and stacking in different cuts and hues.

"While the majority of consumers are clear they would prefer a natural diamond for their milestone moments [...] they are interested in lab-grown jewellery as a decorative accessory."

While the majority of consumers are clear they would prefer a natural diamond for their milestone moments – such as engagement, a gift of love, or significant anniversaries – they are interested in lab-grown jewellery as a decorative accessory.

They see lab-grown diamonds as a sparkly treat that they can use to punctuate an outfit, rather like a designer bag or pair of shoes.

This openness is not limited to the Millennial consumer – far from it.

In fact, we have seen very broad interest from a wide range of demographics, including older jewellery fans, who already have a nice collection of pieces but are looking for an excuse to buy more!

This insight has very much informed our product strategy: having launched with simple classic silhouettes, we have now introduced stacking rings with trillions, cushions, and baguettes.

Coloured lab-grown diamonds are potentially a huge area to drive growth. Significantly, over the first year of business Lightbox sold more jewellery in pink and blue than classic white.

For most consumers this is an entirely new and exciting product, since few have even had the opportunity to see a natural pink or blue diamond, which are so precious and elusive ‘in the wild’!

For the jewellery design community too, access to lab-grown coloured diamonds offers the possibility of creating bigger designs in broad palettes with stones that can potentially be grown to their individual colour specifications.

Differentiation and accountability

For overall consumer confidence, disclosure is key at all levels of our industry. The Diamond Producers Association’s (DPA) Project Assure recently tested a range of diamond verification instruments and rated their efficiency and effectiveness.

This is an ongoing program to assess available instruments in the market and is an important tool for the trade.

It’s a useful first stop for anyone wanting to research available equipment and its performance.

"...access to lab-grown coloured diamonds offers the possibility of creating bigger designs in broad palettes with stones that can potentially be grown to their individual colour specifications."

All Lightbox lab-grown diamonds above 0.20 carats have a special laser inscription of our logo that sits in the centre of the stone.

The technology to create this internal mark was developed by a company associated with the prestigious Oxford University in the UK.

Stones below 0.20 carats have an inscription on the girdle. These measures prevent any possibility of consumers being misled about the product.

When it comes to the lab-grown diamonds themselves, as is expected with any new technology, prices have already dropped due to increased – and improved – production being implemented.

It would be reasonable to expect this trend to continue; as techniques become more sophisticated and processes become more efficient, better quality material and more colours will likely become available.

There are already many more online options today than existed a year ago.

Despite all the activity in the market, it’s important to remember that this is still a relatively new technology in terms of being able to create gem-quality material; therefore we are only at the beginning of this changing market.

The good news is that we can harness this innovation to drive growth. Watch this space.


'The Great Diamond Debate' Contents » 

The natural diamond industry is facing disruption in every aspect
Sergey Ivanov, CEO of Alrosa
Don’t blame synthetic diamonds for the natural industry’s woes
Garry Holloway, founder of Melbourne’s Holloway Diamonds
Both sides of the diamond debate should verify their claims
Danielle Max, editor in chief IDEX Online



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Sally Morrison

Chief Marketing Officer • Lightbox

Sally Morrison is Lightbox’s chief marketing officer and has previously held senior marketing roles at World Gold Council (LoveGold), Gemfields and Forevermark.

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