Beginning this month, De Beers' lab-grown diamond brand Lightbox Jewelry will be available at two select Bloomingdale’s department stores (one in N.Y., one in San Francisco) and 30 Reeds Jewelers stores in a trial run to see whether their product and value proposal perform in traditional bricks-and-mortar retail environments, reports Forbes magazine. Until now, the only way to purchase Lightbox fashion jewelry was through its website or through an occasional pop-up promotion. Launched in September 2018, Lightbox features exclusively lab-grown diamonds available in blue, pink, and white, in quarter-carat to one-carat sizes that retail for $800 per carat. The price point will remain the same at outside retailers, plus the cost of the setting.
The Lightbox collections will be merchandised separately from natural diamonds in a freestanding unit in the retailers’ fashion jewelry section and will be branded clearly as laboratory-grown diamonds to customers. In addition, both retailers will sell Lightbox jewelry on their eCommerce websites. Steve Coe, Lightbox Jewelry CEO, said the initial trials will run up to six months. “If we get the positive response we are expecting from consumers we are looking forward to further expanding distribution soon after that.” The move to brick-and-mortar comes as no surprise. Lightbox Managing Director Steve Coe announced at the JCK Las Vegas show in June that he expected to begin market testing the brand in retail stores this year. After the company’s $94 million plant in Oregon goes online in 2020, production will increase to about 200,000 carats of diamonds a year and the brand will be offered to a broad range of retailers by 2021. Color offerings and jewelry-design styles will likely be expanded as well.
Coe said consumer research has backed up the De Beers belief that laboratory-grown diamonds work best as fashion accessories for everyday wear, and not for significant occasions, such as engagement, for which consumers say they prefer natural diamonds. Coe further noted that the two retail operations are substantially different and each will offer a setting to engage directly with consumers in two very distinctive retail scenarios, with unique environments and customers. “Both will provide the opportunity to gain insight into different audience segments and acquire a better understanding, from in-store transactional experiences, of the range of customers buying Lightbox jewelry, how they shop and which styles resonate,” he said.