In an address to the Israel Diamond Conference, De Beers co-chair Bruce Cleaver has asserted his belief that ‘natural’ diamonds and lab-created diamonds can co-exist in the jewellery market.
Cleaver said that despite lab-created diamond sales in bridal jewellery increasing, there is no reason for this to be viewed as a ‘loss’ for those offering natural diamonds.
“Clearly bridal has been affected, and numbers are showing significant volumes of sales being lab-created. Firstly, this is in the US only, which is not the only market,” he said.
“Secondly, although bridal is very important — and I am not for one minute indicating that it isn’t — it represents only about 26 or 27 per cent of total jewellery demand.”
He added: “By no means are sales of lab-created engagement rings cannibalising [natural diamond jewellery sales].”
De Beers has produced lab-created diamonds via Element Six for many years and in 2018, launched a line of lab-created jewellery under the Lightbox brand.
Cleaver suggested that lab-created diamonds could be reaching customers who previously weren’t interested in diamonds.
“This might be a way of getting new entrants into the natural-diamond world who might trade up one day to natural. We might never have had these people in the diamond industry,” he said.
“[Lab-created diamonds] are a distinct and separate category, and one that has a totally different value proposition from natural diamonds. With lab-created supply forecast to increase by around 70 per cent this year, building on a 100 per cent increase seen over the past three years, this trajectory, and this bifurcation, can be expected to continue to accelerate.”
Cleaver previously served as De Beers CEO, with Al Cook recently replacing him.
Crystal gazing: the future of lab-created diamonds
Campaign success for lab-created diamond supporters
Campaign continues to bolster India’s lab-created diamond industry
Diamond industry expectations for 2023; what’s in store?
New CEO takes reins at Lightbox Jewelry
Lightbox exploring bricks-and-mortar options
Forecasting the future in times of great change