Investigating Millennials' perception of synthetic and natural diamonds for Luxury Society, Kimberly De Geer surveyed over a hundred respondents from Europe, Asia and the U.S., aged 18-34 years old, about the significant investment of an engagement ring. The advantages generating Millennials' "newfound interest in synthetic diamonds", she writes, are that they have the same chemical and physical properties as natural diamonds, are typically 30% cheaper and 100% conflict-free. Still, the majority (54%) of those surveyed - regardless of gender - prefer natural diamonds. De Greer first notes that "59% had already heard about synthetic diamonds but ... only 37% of them knew what they were." The belief that synthetics are equivalent to simulants (such as cubic zirconia) "is still widespread."
The survey finds that 54% of respondents prefer natural diamonds. Men prefer them due to "women's perceptions on romance", and most cited a perceived stigma around synthetic diamonds, qualifying them as “cheap” and far from women’s desires. Others said that the 30% discount is not befitting the romance involved in purchasing a diamond. Women agreed that the uniqueness, rarity and simple 'naturalness' of natural diamonds are all part of the irreplaceable charm of these stones and what they represent. “Even after being told that synthetics were real diamonds, most women maintained they sounded 'cheap' and not romantic at all.” This gives the impression, however, that the respondents were being informed about the 'advantages' of synthetic diamonds before being asked their preference.
The survey finds that of the "32% of respondents who favored synthetic diamonds in both gender groups, the most recurring reason for their choice was the certainty of these diamonds being 100% conflict-free. Surprisingly, the price reduction convinced more women than men in the survey, as they did not want put their husbands in debt." While some synthetic diamond producers cater to tech-savvy and more socially conscious clientele, it seems clear that Millennials still do not know much about synthetic diamonds, and De Geer concludes that, "It is rather unlikely that synthetics will ever replace natural diamonds."