Synthetic diamonds are always stirring up controversy in the media. Recently there have been a couple of articles that really got me thinking about the future of these man-made gems and their impact on the consumer diamond market.
The first effects that I see are fear, apprehension and confusion, mostly from the old guard. The diamond business has always been simple compared to the coloured stone industry where synthetics and treatments have been on the market for over a century. Now that diamonds can be grown or altered at will, there are cries of foul. Even the terminology is in hot debate. For some, “synthetic” is too harsh, for others “lab-grown” or “cultured” smacks of a marketing ploy.
Fortunately for diamond dealers; baby boomers are the strongest buyers of diamond and they prefer naturally mined stones. However there is a growing acceptance of treated diamonds. This is fine for the moment but what happens when the Millennials take over the market?
Millennials tend to seek out environmentally conscious and socially responsible products. This article points out many reasons why Millennials would prefer a non-mined diamond, at least until the mining industry cleans up its act. Natural diamonds have a bad reputation. Even a full implementation of the Kimberly Process cannot alter the public perception of “Blood Diamonds.” Synthetic diamonds are perceived as clean and ethical.
Millennials are comfortable with new technology. They love the benefits science can provide. Since the day they were born, fantasy and reality have been blended by technology. Special effects in movies are a perfect example. The line between real and fake is blurry but they don’t care as long as the result is spectacular.
Millennials want a fair value for their money. Synthetic stones can be cut for beauty instead of weight retention. Yellow, Pink and Blue synthetic diamonds are accessible and affordable. Why buy an ugly natural stone when a pretty stone from a lab can be had at the same price? Natural diamonds that are heavily included, off-make and poor colour will be a thing of the past.
Millennials like cool stuff. Designers can focus on style, quality and colour without concern over supply consistency or price. The first jewellery line featuring fully disclosed synthetic diamonds, “Nurture By Reena,” is already on the market. More will follow.
Synthetic diamonds have a sparkling future. Prices will go down and quality will improve as technology gets better. At some point in the future the sales of synthetic diamonds will eclipse natural diamonds. There will always be a market for natural diamonds, especially in collector’s quality. But the bulk of diamonds used in the jewellery trade will come from a lab. It’s inevitable.