Will Lab-grown diamonds outpace mined diamonds industry?

With increasing adoption among jewelry retailers and consumer demand shifts, Lab-grown diamonds may outpace mined diamonds.

Lab-grown diamonds
[Image courtesy - Business Insider]

Lab-grown diamonds have got a mixed bag of response from different sources. While Diamond Producers Association (DPA) through its ‘Real Is Rare’ marketing campaign has constantly tried to influence customers about rarity and uniqueness of mined diamonds, on the other hand International Grown Diamond Association (IGDA) plays a vital role in developing the Lab-grown diamond industry.

Growing awareness about sustainability aspect of Lab-grown diamonds has been disrupting the mined diamonds market. This has also prompted several jewelry retailers to adopt Lab-grown diamonds to their collection. Some of the latest players adopting Lab-grown diamonds include Mervis Diamond Importers, Vrai & Oro, Hoover & Strong, Swarovski, Liberti Diamonds, Diamonna, AIDIA, Barneys New York, Spence Diamonds et al.

Moreover, celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio backing Lab-grown diamond industry with his investment in Diamond Foundry, is giving the industry an edge over the mined diamond. Khaliah Ali, daughter of boxing legend Muhammad Ali has also embraced Lab-grown diamonds.

As per a recent study, global annual production of Lab-grown diamonds has soared to 4.2 million carats, from around 350,000 carats 2 years back.

However, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been considering adding ‘cultured’ to the already existing different versions of man-made, including ‘lab-created’ or ‘lab-grown’. While the mined diamond industry wants this addition to happen, Lab-grown diamond producers wouldn’t like their diamonds to be called ‘cultured’.

Amish Shah, a third-generation manufacturer and head of ALTR Created Diamonds says, “The introduction of hot-forged jewelry-grade diamonds, identical to those the earth takes eons to mete out, has sweeping implications for the $80 billion industry that has relied on the perceived scarcity of mined diamonds to drive up value. Sales of lab-created diamonds, now estimated at $150 million, are expected to increase to $1 billion by 2020 and outpace mined diamonds, which have been in decline.”

According to a separate estimate though, current Lab-grown diamond market stood at USD 16.2 billion and is anticipated to grow to USD 27.6 billion by 2023.

While mined diamonds are considered valuable and authentic, Lab-grown diamonds are priced nearly 20-30% lower than the mined ones. In a recent survey by Stax Inc. of over 40,000 respondents, 50% consider price as one of their top 3 decision drivers.

Punit Shah, chief marketing officer at MyTrioRings.com explains, “Lab-made diamonds are the result of a technological process which means their prices will drop like any other technological innovation, an effect described by Moore’s Law. Our team predicts that as the prevalence of lab-created options increases in the market, their wholesale rates could drop 20-40% – due primarily to the prospect of unlimited supply and increasingly lower production costs.”

Few months back, a group of scientists at Augsburg University, Germany have grown what is being claimed to be the largest Lab-grown diamond – a 155 carat diamond in disc form.

Increasing acceptance of Lab-grown diamonds owing to its price, environment friendly, socially conscious and conflict-free nature, has even prompted an incidence unthinkable of. Few months ago, Ada diamonds discovered undisclosed mined diamonds mixed in parcels of Lab-grown diamonds.

If the different surveys and opinions by experts hold true, it won’t be long that the Lab-grown diamonds would take over the mined diamonds industry. In fact, last year, there were some indications that even some diamond miners are considering to enter the Lab-grown diamonds segment.

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