According to IGDA (International Grown Diamond Association) – MVI Marketing research, awareness of Lab-grown diamonds among US consumers increased from 9% in 2010 to 51% now, with 68% will consider buying a Lab-grown diamond engagement ring. The fact that 23% of millennials actively shopping for an engagement ring stating that they would definitely purchase a Lab-grown diamond, also shows increased acceptance.
While the Lab-grown diamond industry is significantly growing is a known fact, China is apparently ready to capture a significant share of the market. For more than a decade, China has been producing more than 10 billion carats of Lab Grown Diamonds but mostly for industrial applications. However, many Chinese companies have started shifting from abrasives to jewelry usage. Chinese Lab-grown diamond manufacturer Sino-Crystal itself now produces 2 – 3 million carats annually, of which more than 50% is for gem and jewelry applications.
Though working on a meager budget IGDA has helped advocate the case of Lab-grown Diamonds among various stakeholders. But according to some news reports, another industry association is being formed with focus on marketing of Lab-grown diamonds. Chris Casey, Luxury Division Head – NPD Group, a research firm, mentioned that they’re in the process of identifying committee participants for development of mission statement, organization structure and initial focus areas of the new association.
In this booming sector, we look at some of the recent movers and shakers.
Lark & Berry wins ‘Oscars of Jewelry’ GRAFF Award
London-based Lab-grown diamond jeweler Lark & Berry has won The Goldsmith’s Craft and Design Council’s Craftsmanship & Design Awards – GRAFF Jewelry Award also known in the industry as ‘Oscars of Jewelry’. The award was given for the company’s new Atelier Asymmetric Bow collection of jewelry consisting of Lab-grown diamonds. This is the first time that a Lab-grown diamond jewelry piece has won the GRAFF award. For a company that is less than a year old, this award comes as a huge recognition.
Chicago Lab-grown diamond startup selected for US Army competition
AKHAN Semiconductor, a Chicago-based startup that has been creating Lab-grown diamonds for electronics and other applications has been chosen by US Army for 2019 Army Expeditionary Technology Search (xTechSearch), a small business competition that connects US Army with innovative tech companies, which are not necessarily related to defense sector.
The company has pitched for protective coating that can enhance aircraft survival and protection, using its multi-layer Miraj Diamond materials. Miraj Diamond Glass, the company’s flagship product used for consumer electronics display is 6 times stronger and 10 times harder that competitor products like Gorilla Glass.
New Jewelry Line by Helzberg Diamonds
Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway owned Helzberg Diamonds launched its new collection of Lab-grown diamond jewelry – Light Heart, whose prices range from USD 400 to USD 9,000. Though this line was introduced last year but it was in limited number of stores. Helzberg Diamonds, the 8th largest jewelry retailer in US by revenue operating 210 stores across US also stocks other Lab Grown Diamond brands including ALTR Created Diamonds.