Element Six, a synthetic diamond manufacturer and member of the De Beers group of companies, planted their shovels in tthe Oregon soil to mark the symbolic commencement of construction on their $94 million manufacturing facility for laboratory-grown gems, produced exclusively for De Beers’ new fashion-jewelry brand, Lightbox Jewelry. The new brand will offer consumers laboratory-grown diamonds in high quality designs for casual, everyday occasions at lower prices than existing synthetic offerings. "Lightbox will bring something entirely new and innovative to LGDs, by combining colour and sparkle in fashion jewellery, and at very accessible retail prices", the miner writes in a document sent to stakeholders. The factory, and the brand, aims to position them as a dominant player on the synthetic diamond jewelry market.
UK-based Element Six chose Gresham to expand due to the proximity to power, availability of a highly skilled workforce, and the city’s commitment to partner with them and meet their aggressive timeline, according to a statement last month from the City of Gresham. Element Six acquired the site in December from the Port of Portland for roughly $2.3 million. At the time, it said the diamond lab would employ about 60 workers. The full $94 million investment would come over the next four years. Once it opens, the plant could produce 500,000-plus rough carats of lab-grown diamonds a year.“We selected the Portland region based on critical success factors such as competitive power distribution, access to a high-quality talent pool and strong support from the City of Gresham and other local partners,” said Ken Sullivan, Element Six’s Global Operations Director.