De Beers Entering Lab Grown Diamond Market with “Lightbox”

“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” and “Diamonds are forever” are now famous lines in our vernacular due largely to a massive marketing effort behind the scenes of the diamond industry- working tirelessly to foster consumers’ perceptions and personal emotional connection to owning diamonds.

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In fact, “A diamond is Forever” was coined by De Beers copywriter Mary Frances Gerety back in 1947 in an effort to solidify consumers’ association between diamonds and marriage. The effort worked, in the following decades, De Beers wholesale of rough diamonds jumped from 23 million in 1939 to 2.1. Billion in 1979. 

From the get-go, experimentation with synthetic diamonds, dating back as early as 1879, threatened the diamond industry – built on the rarity factor of sourcing, extracting and processing this rare and precious stone of the earth. Nevertheless, in the 1940s, systematic research began in the United States, Sweden, and the Soviet Union to grow diamonds using CVD and HPHT processes. The first reproducible synthesis was reported around 1955. 

Lobbying within the industry has worked to a certain degree but today the synthetic diamond industry is on an uphill climb with no signs of slowing down; projected to be worth $15 billion by 2035. 

Although De Beers ran a “Real is Rare” campaign back in 2016 (targeting millennials into earth sourced diamond investments) they nevertheless launched a synthetic diamond line “Lightbox” in 2018, offering millennial singles affordable diamond accessories. The line is attracting attention and picking up steam- expanding into two additional department store collaborations: select Bloomingdale’s and Reed’s department stores will now carry the De Beers Lightbox line in their stores and through their websites. 

Since lab-grown diamonds are identical in composition to earth sourced diamonds, some consumers are switching over to the lab-grown alternative as they offer an ethical, environmental or financial solution into entering diamond ownership. This is an attractive option for potential consumers who may be in the market for an engagement ring or a new piece of jewellery. Where there’s a demand, there’s industry and it looks like synthetic diamonds are here to stay. 

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