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.
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.