Sunday, February 5, 2023

Diamonds still the real deal

The biggest threats facing the diamond industry might have been largely exaggerated as previously thought if recent data is anything to go by. fears over the potential of synthetic diamonds to disrupt the tightly controlled diamond industry, or young people not wanting diamonds are waning, with recent data showing that millennials are still interested in diamonds and that origin and production processes matter.

For over a decade, the long-term risk that loomed over the diamond industry was the potential rise in the popularity of synthetic diamonds, which are created in the lab, and much cheaper compared to mined diamonds. further complicating the matter were the synthetic diamond sellers who were and still appealing to young shoppers’ concerns for social and environmental causes.

so concerned by the advent of synthetic diamonds, also known as lab diamonds, the international institute of diamond grading & research part of De beers group, in 2017 announced the launch of a world-first synthetic diamond detection training course. The course provides participants with the knowledge and expertise to detect synthetic stones in both the rough and polished state using a range of specialised techniques and instrumentation.

Still, this has not stopped promoters of synthetic diamonds to expand on their capabilities. The ability to create higher-quality gem-diamond product economically is a relatively recent development within the last decade. Lab-created diamonds are becoming less expensive relative to natural equivalents as investment in lab-diamond production technology has rapidly improved production economics in just the last few years.

This has led to rapid relative supply growth and an environment that is more prices competitive for lab-diamond manufacturers. According to a survey of prices, the discount of gem-quality lab-created diamonds, manufactured for use in jewellery, relative to natural diamonds has doubled from 11-20% a year ago to 28-40% today.

However, two reports released this month will be comforting to the natural diamond industry. 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 . The main take away 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.”

“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 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.”


Read this week's paper