The Diamond Producers Association (DPA) has conducted a survey of 2,011 US adults about their attitude toward synthetic diamonds, finding a clear majority of Americans do not consider diamonds created in a factory ('synthetic' or 'laboratory-grown') as 'real' diamonds (see the full survey results here). The main takeway from the poll is that origin and production process matters, as the major sticking point regarding laboratory-grown diamonds is that they do not come from the earth. DPA stated in a press release: "Nearly seven in ten (68 percent) made such a distinction with a significant majority saying synthetic diamonds are not real because they are not 'natural,' nor 'from the earth,' or because they are made by people. Few Americans (16 percent) said that a diamond created in a factory is 'real.'"
The DPA commissioned The Harris Poll to assess the extent to which consumers associate the term 'real diamonds' with 'natural diamonds', and to discern consumer attitudes toward synthetics to understand if they consider them authentic. Consumers described real diamonds as “genuine,” “natural” and “authentic.” They called laboratory- grown diamonds “man-made,” “artificial” and “imitation.” One contributor commented, "I don't consider diamonds that have been intentionally brought into existence by man to be real, but an imitation of the real thing." Curiously, those who say factory-made diamonds are real appear to consider them real by association, as over half of them justify their attitude by calling them 'natural', 'genuine' or authentic' - i.e. characteristics belonging to a real diamond - and 23% said they think sythetic diamonds are made by nature rather than man, with 27% thinking they are earth-grown rather than laboratory-grown.
“Diamonds are billion-year-old treasures of the Earth that came to us very, very slowly, which makes them uniquely meaningful in today’s on-demand world,” said DPA Chief Executive Officer Jean-Marc Lieberherr. “At a time when everything ‘artificial’ aims to compete with, and replace, ‘natural’ and ‘real,’ these results show consumers care about the inherent value, authenticity and symbolism that a diamond carries.” Added Mr. Lieberherr, “These results are important, and confirm what our consumers tell us: ‘Real Matters’ ... The makers of synthetic diamonds calling their products ‘real’ not only goes against the spirit of existing terminology standards, in opposition of consumer belief, but they are also creating confusion in the marketplace.”
The DPA has been gathering research about consumer attitudes for a while now. On behalf of DPA, 360 Market Reach conducts a national survey on “Diamond Attitudes and Usage” every six months with US millennials who have acquired a diamond over the prior 24 months. Among these consumers, consideration of synthetic diamonds has remained stable over the last year, at 70 percent. However, since the last survey, a diminishing number of consumers would consider synthetic diamonds for milestones such as engagements, birthdays or the birth of a child, “pointing to a growing consumer realization that synthetic diamonds lack value,” said Mr. Lieberherr.