De Beers Providing its Own Clarity about Natural and Laboratory-Grown Diamonds

20/11/2019 14:08

The De Beers Group has created a new booklet to clearly differentiate between two "entirely different" products, with two entirely different value propositions, which now form part of its product portfolio: natural and laboratory-grown diamonds. Their "Summary of Facts" booklet, a copy of which we recently obtained, has been distributed to their 'sightholders' and stakeholders, and addresses the primary differences among the two products, such as; rarity, the types of jewelry for which they are appropriate, the environmental impact of the two products and the question of 'legacy' - highlighting the present and future positive impact that natural diamonds have on the communities that mine them.

The brochure is aimed to enable consumer-facing teams to explain clearly the differences between the products. "With socially-conscious consumerism on the rise," it starts out, "front-line teams need to be equipped to educate consumers about the many positive attributes and beneficial impact of diamonds, and dispel any myths or misconceptions. Making sure that consumers can make clear and informed choices about what they are buying is crucial if the opportunities [to grow demand for natural diamonds] are to be realised." De Beers Group says that, as purveyors of both products, they are uniquely positioned to understand what differentiates them. "This booklet equips diamond professionals with the facts to communicate accurately to consumers."

So, what are the facts they are communicating? Firstly, that natural diamonds are "inherently rare and precious", having been formed deep within the Earth's mantle up to 3.5 billion years ago, while laboratory-grown diamonds (LGDs) are "mass-produced in batches [and thus are] neither rare nor unique, so they don't possess the enduring value of natural diamonds." To illustrate, they note that LGD prices have declined by two-thirds inside a year, and will likely continue to fall as the technology improves. The difference between their inherent properties also makes them suitable for different types of jewelry, with diamonds appropriate for jewelry marking significant moments in life, enduring in value and serving as family treasures to be handed down to future generations, while LGDs are suitable for the low-price, non-precious jewelry segment. This is not to disparage their own product, but to communicate that they are conceived for accessible fashion jewelry one wears for fun rather than for emotional significance.

De Beers' booklet also seeks to dispel the myth of the lower environmental impact of LGDs - a claim its own LGD brand Lightbox does not make - because it is very energy intensive, with a significantly higher carbon footprint than recovering natural diamonds: "more than two-thirds of LGD supply are manufactured in China, Singapore or India and have a significantly larger carbon footprint." It points out the efforts De Beers makes to minimize its environmental impact as well as the "wide variety of conservation work" they undertake, "from investment in biodiversity to carbon capture" using kimberlite rock. It is clear that De Beers, with efforts such as distributing this booklet, is working to comminicate the message that they are investing in the future of the communities they work in, working responsibly to be a positive force for women and the local workforce and trying to build confidence across the diamond supply chain. We applaud their efforts to get the message out and protect the natural diamond industry.