Un diamante grezzo emerge dal reattore al plasma CVD di De Beers
Un diamante grezzo emerge dal reattore al plasma CVD di De Beers / A rough diamond emerges from De Beers' CVD plasma reactor

More and more artificial diamonds for De Beers

If the diamond giant, the one who coined the claim “a diamond is forever” chooses to compete with itself, there is something strange. De Beers five years ago surprisingly launched the synthetic diamond brand Lightbox. Now the company, which is controlled by the Anglo American mining group, is relaunching. Basically, the brand most famous for its diamonds, since it extracts almost 30% of global production from the earth, will push on diamonds created in the laboratory, which cost less.

Punto luce di Lightbox
Lightbox necklace

At the basis of the choice is the declining price of natural diamonds. Although many believe that the gems most desired by women are a safe investment, which over time increases in value, the price of diamonds has fallen by about 20% from the highs of February 2022. Meanwhile, India and China produce an ever more synthetic diamonds, created in the laboratory, at ever lower prices. Fierce competition. For the uninitiated, diamonds produced in the laboratory are chemically indistinguishable from natural ones, even if an accurate analysis can determine the artificial origin of the gems. With the naked eye, however, no one is able to perceive the difference.

La nuova miniera: l'impianto di produzione in Oregon di diamanti artificiali
Lightbox (De Beers) Man-Made Diamond Oregon Manufacturing Facility

Precisely for this reason the total share of synthetic diamonds in a few years has gone from about 2% to almost 10% of the total according to some experts. And, at the same time, their price has dropped by 60%. But that’s not all, because according to some estimates, perhaps optimistic, if you look at the jewelry sector (i.e. those diamonds that are not used for industry) the sales of rings, earrings or necklaces with artificial gems would be close to 50% . The percentage probably refers to the diamond jewelery segment in the specific American market and not to the whole. But although it is difficult to understand how these estimates correspond to reality, everyone agrees that the sales of laboratory diamond jewelry is on the rise. And De Beers’ moves seem only an acknowledgment of reality. Even on the industrial front, things are not better: the Global Rough Diamond Price Index, relating to rough stones, is down by 18% compared to the all-time high it had reached in February 2022.

Al Cook, Ceo De Beers
Al Cook, Ceo De Beers

De Beers has therefore created a line of premium products, Finest, with laboratory diamonds certified in the same way as natural ones. In fact, even artificial diamonds can be of different quality. The certification is based on the same criteria used for natural diamonds, with the classic 4Cs. A further step by De Beers is the promotion with marketing actions of engagement rings with solitaire diamonds created in the laboratory, for now in the USA. Almost a blasphemy for those who love natural diamonds, created in the depths of the earth millions of years ago. And to think that De Beers at the debut of the Lightbox brand had underlined the unbridgeable differences between natural and artificial diamonds.

Controllo del reattore al plasma CVD che produce diamanti ​​in laboratorio
Control of CVD plasma reactor producing diamonds in De Beers laboratory

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