Rapaport has asked some jewelers in the USA what the current buying behavior of the younger generation looks like when it comes to diamonds. It became clear that GenZ is increasingly choosing to buy mined diamonds, especially for engagement rings.
Many may have heard of lab diamonds, but are still not properly informed as to the differences between mined and lab diamonds. According to Rapaport, when jewelers explain these differences, the decision is more often made in favor of mined diamonds.
One of the key points here, according to Rapaport, is that if mined responsibly, diamonds can do a lot of good: they create jobs, which in turn feed families and give children a chance at education in areas where that is not a given. On the other hand, lab-grown diamonds are not necessarily the green product par excellence that they are often marketed as, Rapaport said.
It is true that too much greenwashing is done with regard to lab diamonds. Not every lab diamond is sustainable just because it does not come from the mine, since many lab-grown diamonds are produced in China or India, for example, using cheap coal-fired electricity. However, lab diamonds can certainly be a sustainable alternative if renewable energy is used in production. In addition, the production of lab-grown diamonds is extremely complex, taking place in very large production facilities with the highest technological equipment and accordingly requiring a large workforce. Thus, the production of lab-grown diamonds also creates jobs and offers many people the chance for social advancement.
In addition, men would be concerned about how buying a lab diamond would look to other people, according to U.S. Jewelers. This is because a lab diamond could be perceived as "cheating" and their loved one would deserve an engagement ring with a "real" diamond that comes from the earth.
The prejudice that a lab-grown diamond is not a "real" diamond is, of course, false. Rapaport itself says that lab-grown diamonds have the same chemical and optical properties as mined diamonds. The only thing they differ in is their origin. No one would argue that ice cubes made in a freezer are not "real" ice. Just like diamonds, albeit with the help of a much simpler process, the natural conditions of formation in another place are imitated here using technical aids. The real issue in this question is probably the issue of the value or stable value of laboratory diamonds. They are not considered "real" because they lack the factors of rarity and high stable value that natural diamonds have.
The Rapaport article addresses this aspect next, because apparently the GenZ considers the diamond's stable value more important than being able to purchase the largest possible stone for the least amount of money. One jeweler likes to tell the anecdote that a lab diamond she once bought for $2800 is now available for $300.
Stability of value can currently only be guaranteed for natural diamonds. The formulation that lab-grown diamonds could be produced more and more cheaply in factories thanks to technical progress is, however, a bit misleading. Of course, production will become cheaper over time as the production processes become more sophisticated. However, there is still no assembly line production of huge carat quantities in the shortest possible time. The production of laboratory diamonds requires the highest technical effort and takes several weeks. In principle, however, it is a problem that laboratory diamonds are now sold at extremely low prices. However, this is not only due to technical progress, which enables increasingly efficient production. It is primarily related to the aforementioned problem that a large proportion of laboratory diamonds are produced using cheap coal-fired electricity. Also, depending on the company, working conditions can be very poor, which means that the cheap prices come at the expense of people and the environment. Laboratory diamonds produced with renewable energy and under fair working conditions could not be sold at such low prices. Here, more regulations within the industry make sense in order to avoid such dumping prices, under which ultimately the employees and the environment have to suffer.
Laboratory diamonds can certainly have a positive social impact and offer an environmentally friendly alternative to mined diamonds. However, Rapaport's article shows that not only consumers are not very well informed about lab diamonds, but also that jewelers may still need to be educated. There are a number of preconceptions about lab diamonds, and since lab diamonds have only begun to establish themselves on the jewelry market in recent years, some of the preconceptions still persist. DIAVON's MANUFAKTURDIAMANTs, for example, come from the laboratories of the Diamond Foundry, which produces the diamonds exclusively with the help of renewable energies, and in cooperation with Plant-for-the-Planet, up to 10 trees are planted for every MANUFAKTURDIAMANT sold. At the cutting facility in India, DIAVON offers employees an above-average salary as well as additional social benefits and is committed to women empowerment. We offer women a secure job in a male-dominated industry. Read more about our social commitment here.
We believe the true value of a product goes beyond its purely material value. With MANUFAKTURDIAMANTs, we not only conserve the earth's natural resources, but also give something back to the environment. With the positive social impact that we additionally create in India, our MANUFAKTURDIAMANTs offer true added value for people and nature. DIAVON MANUFAKTURDIAMANTs stand for sustainability, transparency and a credible, ethically sound alternative to the established mined diamonds. These standards and our high quality commitment are what make our MANUFAKTURDIAMANTs so valuable. You don't buy a MANUFAKTURDIAMANT as an investment, you buy it out of conviction.
Source: article "How to upsell Gen Z to a natural engagement ring" in Rapaport from 24 May 2023
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