In June I attended my first trade show post lockdowns – the JCK Vegas show – and one thing that stood out was that lab grown diamonds have cemented their position as a major sector of the industry. There was an equal number of exhibitors across both mined and lab grown diamonds. Foot traffic appeared equally divided – transactions and activity at times seemed weighted towards lab grown.
So what is driving this fast- paced growth?
As a first mover in the wholesale space in Australia, my company JC Jewels saw this fast development of the lab grown diamond (LGD) category coming. I felt that demand would, inevitably, be driven by the Millennials and Gen Z. Disruption is in the hands of the next generation, full stop, and there is nothing that will stop the LGD train. JC Jewels jumped right on board.
Let’s look at today’s consumer…
… and let’s drill that down. Take the consumer walking into a jewellery store to buy an engagement ring. Lab grown diamonds make the perfect fit, connecting with all the touchpoints the next generation loves. They want a bigger diamond, and size wins. This next generation was not exposed to any of the De Beers advertising that our parents were exposed to. The past generations placed emphasis on the investment side of diamonds, whereas the next generation wants to wear them.
With online education at their fingertips, the next generation have absorbed the literature and know that chemical composition and molecular structure are the same with lab grown and mined diamonds. Some customers admit they don’t want a stone that was born from the ground. Once those issues are taken care of, size and price become prime considerations. The big rock looks amazing on social media and makes the wearer feel amazing.
Lab grown diamonds have a substantial pricing advantage. Most budgets achieve a good sized diamond that exceeds the buyer’s expectation. This changes the whole discussion for both the salesperson and the buyer. The focus of the sales conversation moves from stress about price to nuances of design and more pleasant engagement – a more enjoyable experience for all and a far easier sale.