Element Six’ growth story

Extensive marketing campaigns started several decades ago have made De Beers a household name. However, what only few know is the fact that De Beers has an entire apparatus dedicated only to Lab-grown diamonds – Element Six, a De Beers group company and producer of Lab-grown diamonds. The eponymous company takes its name from Carbon, the sixth element in the periodic table and the only element in a pure diamond.

Element Six

Established in 1946 to focus on industrial usage of diamonds, as a research laboratory, Element Six has over the years grown through innovation, acquisition and capacity expansion, with existing facilities in China, Japan, Africa, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, UK and US. Its 2012 Turnover was roughly in the range of USD 0.5 Bn and in the 2011-13 period, it had witnessed a 30% CAGR in bookings. In 2012, the company had augmented its CVD (Chemical Vapour Deposition) capacity by 60% YoY.

Element six works in a partnership model with its customers to deliver customized products. Recently, Element Six replaced its Salesforce implementation with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.  The new implementation would help the company coordinate between different departments by standardizing processes. Element Six has introduced a new sales and operations planning process based on Microsoft CRM and has reduced its licensing and maintenance costs by half.

The investment indicates that Element Six is poised for growth in coming future and it may help innovation in Lab-grown diamond industry and raise the bar for all other players. But how Element Six fits in the scheme of things of De Beers, which has been quite vocal against the Lab-grown diamonds, is ironical.



  1. De Beers has a company that manufactures Lab-grown diamonds comes as a surprise to me. Though I’m a tad aware about Lab-grown diamonds, but what a diamond mining company is doing in labs and how does it ensure that they don’t mix their two kinds of diamonds, is what is puzzling me more!!

  2. @ Matt K: Obviously there is no proof and no way to substantiate but I recently heard whispers (which I learn are going on for a long time even in the industry but kept under wraps) that there is a conspiracy theory which explicates how De Beers uses stones manufactured in the Element 6 labs and sells them as mined ones, earning colossal margins from the mixing. De Beers strongly opines against the Lab-grown diamonds in public so that there is always a premium difference available between mined diamonds and Lab-growns. Also, this way no Lab-grown diamond manufacturer will be able to reach its potential and sell the diamonds at premium of mined diamonds, while De Beers (through E6) will quietly be creating Lab-growns and passing them of as mined ones. This will translate into not just enormous profits but monopolizing Lab-grown diamond industry too. As my friend who works in the industry tells me, diamonds for industrial applications of Element 6 is a cover up!!!

    Though fearing about possible repercussions my friend won’t do it, but I dare De Beers to publish all its details about Element 6, including its facilities, locations, no. of machines, how much Lab-grown diamonds it manufactures, its customers, to whom it sold how much, revenue and other financial details etc. And I know that’s not gonna happen!! 😉

Leave a Reply