Signet Jewelers' CEO Gina Drosos said the brand will follow consumer demand when deciding whether the company will start selling lab-grown diamonds in its stores, which currently number about 3,500 (3,000 in North America, 500 international). Industry insiders have told us they suspect decision has already been made. The CEO made the remark during a conference call about Signet's Q2 2019 results.
"As you probably know," she said in response to a question, "we don't carry lab grown diamonds in any of our banners [stores] today, but we have a very customer-first mindset on this and we want to focus on delivering the products and experiences that customers want. So we are very closely monitoring and assessing the demand for this emerging category." If De Beers' move into the synthetic diamond landscape is any indication, consumer demand is already in place. Drosos, also following De Beers' claims about its own market research, stressed that natural diamond are still preferred for "those really important purchases bridal purchase, special birthday, graduations those kinds of things, but there could be some growing interest in the fashion jewelry space for synthetic diamonds. So we'll make sure that Signet is well positioned to participate in that space if the growth and the economics of it are attractive and if customers point us in that direction.
De Beers' synthetic diamond brand; Lightbox, will at least initially be sold DTC (direct to consumer) online, but the company has indicated it may partner with physical shops in the future. Given Signet's extensive reach across North America, where De Beers will manufacture the goods, a partnership between the two giants would appear logical. The two companies already have an established relationship, with Signet being a De Beers sightholder as well as the first retailer to join De Beers' diamond blockchain pilot program for tracking a diamond’s journey digitally from mine to retail: Tracr.