De Beers introduce synthetic diamonds at affordable prices
Mining giants De Beers Group have announced the launch of a new company, Lightbox Jewelry as they aim to tap into the growing demand for synthetic diamonds.
The 130-year-old company’s latest addition will produce ‘laboratory-grown’ products that promise the same sparkle as naturally occurring diamonds but at a fraction of the price.
The move comes as a welcome development for people with a yearning for the rare mineral but with limited means to get their hands on the ‘real’ thing.
De Beers Group CEO, Bruce Cleaver revealed recently that the company’s extensive research shows consumers regard synthetic diamonds as a ‘pretty and fun product that shouldn’t cost much’.
The new product proves convenient for consumers then, as De Beers revealed that lab-grown diamonds will retail from USD200 (P2, 000) for a quarter-carat stone to USD800 (P8, 000) for a one-carat stone.
In comparison, a well cut, fine quality ‘real’ one-carat diamond can cost over USD14, 000 (P140, 000), which illustrates the huge difference in pricing.
Some of the hues expected to be featured in the Lightbox range include, but not limited to, pink, blue and white embedded in a selection of accessibly-priced earrings and necklace designs.
“We see an opportunity here that’s been missed by lab-grown diamond producers,” Cleaver explained, adding that synthetic diamonds are a result of technology as seen with other minerals such as sapphires, rubies, and emeralds currently in the market.
The CEO continued that the Lightbox Jewelry undertaking would be a small operation that will resonate with consumers while simultaneously complementing commercial opportunities for the De Beers group.
He, however, maintained that De Beers’ core diamond business, which is of natural occurring diamonds, still stands.
For his part, Lightbox Jewelry General Manager, Steve Coe said the new company understands the confusion brought about by the advent of synthetic diamonds and assured they will do all in their power to inform consumers about the laboratory-grown rocks.
“Lightbox will be clear with consumers about what lab-grown diamonds are and will offer straightforward pricing that is consistent with the true cost of production,” he promised, speaking to the confusion surrounding what exactly lab-grown diamonds are, how they differ from naturally occurring diamonds as well as how they are valued.
“We will introduce more designs and colours as the range evolves, and the technological efficiency of our proprietary production process,” added Coe.
Explaining further why the diamond mining giant decided to venture into the business of manufactured gemstones, De Beers Group Executive Vice President, David Prager speaking from De Beers offices in Gaborone on Monday morning said that America was already selling Lab Grown diamonds at price competitive with real gemstones and De Beers could not sit on the sidelines and watch.
Instead they decided to enter the market and price their technology produced diamonds right, taking into consideration the true cost of production, which will be lower than the existing lab grown diamonds offerings, and this move which will serve to protect the real precious stones.
Although Lightbox will be operating from Oregon, USA, because of market dynamics, The Government of Botswana, which owns 15 percent stake in De Beers is set to benefit from the new business venture, Prager has noted.
” Lab grown diamonds can never replace real diamonds, they are fun, they are beautiful and they are perfect for right now, but real diamonds are still forever,” Pager said.