While more than 300 million voters go to the polls this week for the European Parliament elections, members of RapNet - the world’s largest diamond trading network - will have the opportunity to vote on whether it should provide diamond listing and pricing services for synthetic diamonds, yet ultimately the organization itself will decide.
The issue of terminology concerning laboratory-grown diamonds has in recent years been a subject of significant debate, deliberation, conflicting guidelines and warnings issued.
Researchers at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) recently identified a natural diamond with a CVD (lab-grown) layer, creating a composite of synthetically grown and natural diamond that added weight and improved the color. Given that this was the second discovery of such a composite, the fist coming in 2017, warning that "this could be a new type of product entering the market."
It is a joint decision of the profession and the French Union of Jewellery not to grade synthetic diamonds, unlike other international laboratories. These stones do not have to be evaluated on the same scale as natural ones, because they are an imitation of the diamond and must remain so. This decision is unanimous in the profession except for those who want to promote this [lab-grown] material. But it must be remembered that the increase of synthetic diamonds on the market will bring down their price.
This weekend, May 11 -13, the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) will be hosting what it is calling the "first-ever rough laboratory-grown diamonds tender" on its Dubai Diamond Exchange (DDE). According to a press release, 50,000 carats of Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD) lab-grown diamonds will be on offer. "The tender is in line with DMCC’s strategy to attract, facilitate and drive new trade flows through Dubai," the organization says.
As of yesterday, May 1, Signet Jewelers' e-tailer James Allen will offer laboratory-created diamonds, becoming the first Signet-owned entity to do so, reports Rob Bates of JCK. "This is a test," says Oded Edelman, president of the James Allen site, which was Signet Jewelers purchased in 2017. "If consumers adopt it, then maybe it’s a sign for the rest of Signet to adopt it as well. We’ll wait and see how it goes.”
The Guangzhou Diamond Exchange (GZDE) last week signed strategic cooperation agreements with China’s major laboratory-grown diamond suppliers, designer associations and other partners to jointly develop and promote LGDs, with a particular focus on design and fashion. The GZDE held a forum entitled “Discover the Magic of Lab-Grown Diamonds” during the 2019 China International Gold, Jewellery & Gem Fair – Shenzhen (Shenzhen Jewellery Fair), with a view to finding greater commercial application.
Mining in Africa is at the core of our business, just as it always has been, and just as it will be in future ... De Beers is and will remain a natural diamond business.
- De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver discusses Africa portfolio, exploration, technology and laboratory-grown diamonds.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which investigates allegations of deceptive advertising, sent eight letters to jewelry marketers warning them that some of their online advertisements of jewelry made with simulated or laboratory-created diamonds may deceive consumers, in violation of the FTC Act. The organization warned that failure to follow the Guides may result in enforcement actions if the FTC determines the companies engaged in unfair or deceptive acts or practices.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is updated its grading reports for laboratory-grown diamonds to align with the revised Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Jewelry Guides, and as of July 1, 2019 will drop term 'synthetic' when referring to diamonds created in a lab.
There is no fundamental change in the small diamond segment. The slowdown in the smaller sizes during the second half of last year is mainly cyclical – it is driven primarily by demand-supply dynamics. It is a misconception that there is any fundamental change in consumer behavior. The prices are coming down to where they should be, and this is mainly because retailers have realized how large the margins of LGD manufacturers have been. They are now understanding the pricing dynamics for this category and are asking their suppliers why they are charging so much.
The marketing battle between the natural diamond industry and laboratory-grown diamond producers and their advocates is intensifying. Not a week goes by without the latest effusive article - sponsored or otherwise - appearing about the inevitable rise of synthetics. While the traditional issue of the undisclosed mixing of synthetics with natural is still very topical, recent debates have shifted to nomenclature, pricing, transparency and corporate social responsibility.
Indpendent diamond industry analyst Paul Zimnisky takes an alternative, well-considered approach to recycled diamonds: they could be the shot in the arm the natural diamond industry needs.
The Diamond Producers Association (DPA) and Signet Jewelers have published the first results of their ASSURE Program to independently and objectively test the performance of laboratory-grown diamond detectors (Diamond Verification Instruments). The program intends to eventually test and identify each machine on the market concerning how well they detected or referred man-made stones, including the rate at which they gave false positives.
The Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) has introduced new national codes for rough (unworked) and cut (worked) synthetic diamonds and other synthetic gemstones based on the Harmonized System (HS) Code, the international nomenclature to classify traded products.
"If even a fraction of Chinese production is upgraded to jewelry-quality diamonds, it would have a very significant impact on the global supply which is only in the low-millions-of-carats," independent diamond analyst Paul Zimnisky told Xinhua News journalists Wang Zichen and Shi Linjing.
A quick comparison of retail prices show a price difference [between LGDs & naturals] of 20-40%, depending on the specific goods and the retailers’ branding, market positioning, etc. Wholesale prices behave very differently. In the wholesale market diamonds are priced as a commodity ... a much more accurate way of measuring price changes over time. Polished wholesale prices of LGDs are 50-85% lower than those of natural diamonds ... the smaller the goods, the larger the price difference. On average, 1-ct.
The Antwerp diamond trade was nothing if not balanced in 2018. The industry traded a total of $46 billion in 2018, representing an increase of less than a percentage point over 2017 ($45.9 billion). The value of value of the goods flowing in and out of Antwerp was once again divided equally between rough and polished goods, with the polished trade good for $22.9 billion and the rough trade representing $23.1 billion.
Fomer Dominion Diamond Mines CEO Patrick Evans is planning to launch a company making laboratory-grown diamonds, according to an article by Henry Sanderson of the Financial Times. Evans last month left Dominion - the world's third largest diamond producer by market value and Canada’s largest independent diamond producer - after just over a year at the helm. He is also the former CEO of Canada's Mountain Province Diamonds, a position he held for twelve years.
Brands need to be concerned about over-sentimentalizing peoples’ relationships with diamonds as a representation of love. The American middle class is much weaker today than it was when De Beers came out with their famous ‘Diamonds are forever’ campaign. And with diminished purchasing power, consumers are more willing to look into alternative choices for rings, making lab-grown diamonds and gemstones more attractive.
The card game company Cards Against Humanity has a long history of pulling Black Friday stunts, writes Laura Hudson for The Verge. "This year, Cards Against Humanity has decided to take its disdain for the capitalistic holiday to an absurd new extreme with a 99 percent off sale on a rotating series of expensive and spectacularly bizarre items," she writes. “Every ten minutes, a new deal will go live on this page," reads the official website. "Don’t be frightened by the deals.
Independent diamond industry analyst and consultant Paul Zimnisky, proprietor of the Zimnisky Global Rough Diamond Price Index, takes an in-depth look at developments in the laboratory-grown diamond market in his latest contribution to the discussion, "2018: The Year of the Lab-created Diamond". Here he focuses on the impact (or current lack thereof) that De Beers launch of its Lightbox lab-grown diamond line (announced late May 2018, first available late September 2018) has had on the pricing of laboratory-grown goods.
Despite rumors to the contrary, the Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) has told The Times of India (TOI) that it has no plans to lift the ban on trading synthetic diamonds in the bourse, a rule that entered into force in 2015 following a spate of undisclosed mixing of natural and synthetic goods.
The recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reversal regarding the definition of a diamond would seem to be a landmark decision. In reality, it is much ado about nothing. Since 1956, the FTC has defined a diamond as something natural, meaning from the Earth; now synthetic diamond manufacturers are allowed to use the word diamond to describe their product. Not an earth shattering development, really ... The FTC ruling stipulates that synthetic diamonds must still be described as lab-grown or cultured or in some clear way be distinguished from natural diamonds.
The International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR), a member of De Beers Group, yesterday announced that its industry-first synthetic screening device, SYNTHdetect, was awarded Industry Innovation of the Year at the JNA Awards in Hong Kong. The announcement follows the launch earlier during the week of IIDGR's SYNTHdetect XL, a larger version of the original model that provides additional efficiencies for users, allowing a multiple pieces of jewelry to be screened at an even faster rate while using the same technology as the original SYNTHdetec.
Last week, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and the University of Antwerp hosted an “Innovation and Diamonds” conference at the Antwerpsche Diamantkring - the only rough diamond bourse in the world - featuring internationally-recognized experts from across the spectrum of the diamond trade, including alternative financing, the impact of digital on the luxury segment, the feasibility of small-scale ethical mining, as well as the earthquake and aftershocks of De Beers’ foray into lab-grown diamonds: LightBox.
Independent analyst Paul Zimnisky estimates by 2035, lab-grown diamond jewelry will achieve total sales $15 billion, as it grows from its current estimated level of estimated $1.9 billion. He bases his estimate on growth of 22% annually to $5.2 billion by 2023 and to $14.9 billion by 2035, equating to a longer-term growth rate of about 9% rate annually. In terms of market share, his research leads him to conclude that lab-grown jewelry will have gained 5% of the market for diamond jewelry (>$250) and 7% for fashion jewelry (<$250) in the same timeframe.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) last week published an article on a most curious discovery: "One Natural Melee Diamond Found in Large Batch of HPHT Synthetic Melee".
The Diamond Producers Association recently released a statement addressing the controversial changes the US's FTC has adopted regarding the definition and description of diamonds, among other issues.
Industry consultant Ben Janowski takes an in-depth look at the developments that led De Beers to enter into the laboratory-grown diamond jewelry sector, and what Lightbox may mean long-term for the mining giant. Published in full courtesy of Ben Janowski, who will be lecturing at the Antwerp Summer University program, "From Mine to Finger 2018: A deep dive into the world of diamonds."*
The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) has responded to the revised U.S. Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) guidelines released last week as they relate to the issue of descriptors for diamonds. The industry body regrets the "bias towards the lab-grown diamond sector", said WFDB President Ernie Blom, adding, "we do not feel that the views of the diamond sector were taken sufficiently into account", and called for the FTC to revisit their decision.
A full house at the Antwerp Diamond Bourse, including stakeholders from across the spectrum of the diamond industry, greeted De Beers Group representatives Paul Rowley and Nimesh Patel as they explained the company's foray into the synthetic diamond jewelry market and reinforced its commitment to the natural diamond industry.
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.
This past Monday, the JCK Las Vegas show and jewelry week surrounding it came to its conclusion with steady trading reflecting a confident US market, despite a significant dip in the number of exhibitors and foot traffic at the various shows. The exhibitors and organizers acknowledged the decline of visitors, but were adamant that those attending the events headed out to the desert with a greater sense of purpose than in prior years, as buyers were looking for specific goods and exhibitors were maintaining existing relationships.
“We are not planning to change our strategy, integrate in the new market (synthetic product market) and launch our own synthetic production, or sell lab-grown diamonds. It is obvious that ALROSA as a diamond producer and one of the founders of Diamond Producers Association (DPA) hopes that this initiative will lead to differentiation of diamonds and synthetic stones, underlining the status of synthetics as a distinct low-price product.
De Beers this morning dropped a bomb on the diamond jewelry world with the announcement that they are launching a new brand of fashion jewelery containing laboratory-grown diamonds (LGDs). Called Lightbox Jewelry, the new brand will offer consumers LGDs in high quality designs for casual, everyday occasions at lower prices than existing LGD 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.
It will be very difficult for lab-diamond manufacturers to protect price as production processes and economics improve. Ultimately, this will result in lab-diamonds becoming more of their own separate product class, maybe not in the realm of 'fashion jewelry', but their own, completely distinct product class from natural diamonds. Lab-diamond companies that build a very strong brand through marketing or proprietary jewellery design will be less susceptible to price pressure ... Price is a lab-created diamond’s greatest advantage over a natural equivalent.
ALROSA has introduced its long anticipated commercial detector for identifying natural and synthetic polished diamonds - the ALROSA Diamond Inspector, first introduced in 2016. The Company expects that its relatively low price ($9,900) and high accuracy will allow the detector to be in demand in Russia as well as abroad. "It will help fight unscrupulous suppliers who mix synthetic stones grown in the laboratory with diamonds of natural origin", the companys says.