How does the consumer know where to begin when it comes to choosing between natural mined diamonds and the newer lab-grown offering?
Nathaniel Bendayan, director of NB Diamonds, takes a look at the key differences between the products and how to help the consumer make their choice.
For centuries diamond jewellery has had its place etched amongst the upper echelons of society. Synonymous with opulence and exuberance it was carved in at the top for the elite, aristocracy and monarchs around the globe.
Reserved in private collections of the rich and regal marking the status symbols of hierarchy, worn as a badge of honour of their titles.
Fast forward to the post-war era and we see the emergence of vigour and vitality, the spice of life and with that comes the breakthrough of the retail world as we know it.
The rolling decades creating something unseen before – accessibility, in the creation of the high street jeweller. We are not talking private viewings of the finest and rarest stones.
This is a point of attainable access for every individual to taste the flavours of the top, a small piece of the pie but a slice nonetheless!
Today as you step into your local jewellery store you are presented with an array of styles and sizes, something for every buyer and every budget.
But now there is more, the budget can stretch further. And how is this to be with diamonds holding its value through all the stormy weather? Because there is the emergence of something else circulating our industry.
A new genre in the diamond sector has come into play with the introduction of lab-grown diamonds to the UK market.
Is this the answer to all the dilemmas of the jewellery world or have we opened Pandora’s box?
For us, it’s always crucial to take time to consider the end user as this will be the lead on all sales. So let’s take a moment to see the diamond through the eyes of the consumer.
You walk into the jeweller with a budget in mind to find your ideal piece. Perhaps you are shown a selection of items that you like but you are faced with making the compromise on size for colour or clarity.
A new genre in the diamond sector has come into play with the introduction of lab-grown diamonds to the UK market.”
Perhaps you stretch your budget that little bit further and you make a choice and leave satisfied, but there is always that lust for something more left behind.
Here comes the answer – you are offered the lab-grown piece that ticks all your boxes; something that is offering you all of what a diamond is but without the compromise because it is at a fraction of the cost of a naturally mined diamond.
Add to this the winning element that you are looking: a piece that is ethically produced. The sustainability factor alone has drawn its own field of costumers to the lab-grown market.
So it seems we have found an affordable way for consumers to access luxury diamonds at quality and prices that would not have been possible or desirable to them before.
But is this all too good to be true? This eagerly anticipated shift in direction has not come without its controversy. Within the industry there has been notable caution when buying and trading lab-grown stones. Namely with the questionable value of the stone.
The natural evolutionary process of the carbon over billions of years resulting in the rough diamond, then its mining, polishing and manufacturing means it holds an inherent value.
Its limited supply and manufacturing create a hold on its market value as a commodity and investment piece; its finite rarity, no matter it’s specifications give it its value with longevity.
Put this against the artificially emulated production process of the lab-grown stone which is released into circulation to not only meet but overachieve on demand levels.
Retailers thrive on the credibility of the assets that they are offering their clients.”
This is where the ‘flooding the market’ concerns arose. There is no control over the quantity and quality of stones circulating.
NB Diamonds recognises that there is much to be said about the scepticism in this field. Retailers thrive on the credibility of the assets that they are offering their clients.
No retailer can give the same assurances of market value or worthy investment. We know diamonds can be in circulation for hundreds of years being reset and resold.
When we look ahead to the time that lab-grown stones have circulated the trade, the risk of their buy-back rate can be well below the initial outlay. This is a very real and warranted concern.
We can see the polarisation of opinions this storm has created. So we are left wondering: where is the place in the market for these stones?
At NB Diamonds we have taken the time to look into the demand, pricing and circulation of lab-grown stones through the lens of many of our retailers to hear what the market is looking like today, and what assurances we can take from it going forward.
We can be clear that those consumers looking to take the plunge into a large piece will value the inherent qualities and investment value of a natural diamond over and above the commercial gains of a lab-grown price.
The consumer looking for a natural diamond and who is willing to pay its value would not likely be swayed by an item of less value and strength because of its price point. Such a consumer is aware of the superiority of natural diamonds and its longevity within the investment market.
The more popular lab-grown offering is in the field of the 1ct diamond.”
And on the opposite end of the price charts we see with smaller stones of low carat weight the slight increased cost of the naturally generated diamond over the lab-grown stone is marginal, and I wouldn’t deem it significant to sway the decision.
However it is notable that the more popular lab-grown offering is in the field of the 1ct diamond.
They hit a certain price point that when compared to a natural diamond you can see how the consumer will feel they are getting incomparable value for money.
For this consumer, who has a limited budget that would never enable them to stretch for a natural diamond of equal caliber, they can now enter the market and feel satisfied with its offerings.
At NB Diamonds we are often asked for our advice on investing in new ranges and supplies of lab-grown stones.
We urge our clients to err on the side of caution but not to be afraid of dipping their toes in within a safer bracket of the 1ct ranges.
At NB Diamonds we are always happy to discuss any concerns and interest with clients new and old. We are here to walk you through it with honesty.