Disruptive Technology: A New Day for Diamonds
Have you ever thought about where the idea of engagement rings originated from? Well, in 1811, Emperor Napoleon presented a diamond necklace to Marie-Louise, his second wife. He gave her the gift to celebrate their son’s birth.
As a result, people began marketing diamonds as a symbol of love that promises marital union. Diamond was seen as a sign of wealth on a woman’s finger. It was also depicted as a form of women’s financial security.
Ultimately, the tradition of gifting diamonds as engagement rings continued. The byline, “A Diamond is Forever”, wrapped it up. This idea worked well for couples who embraced the diamond wedding rings. Thus, it became the beginning of the demand for new diamonds. Before that, people never sold their diamonds back to jewelers.
The women preparing for weddings benefited the most. They could acquire stunning natural diamond jewelry. This wedding set ranged from diamond earrings to wedding rings for women.
However, many people now go for lab-grown diamond engagement rings and wedding rings. Often, they are relatively more affordable than natural diamonds. Also, you’ll hardly notice any difference between the lab-created diamond rings and the natural ones.
The Quality of Lab-Grown Diamonds and Its influence on Consumer Preferences
Many people adore the look of wedding bands paved with diamonds. Minimalists and traditionalists might desire a solitaire setting. Also, some may want a simple, plain design, while others wish for diamond styles that contain extra sparkles.
The good news is that; the lab-created diamonds, which many people are now going for, come in different sizes, shapes, clarity grades, and colors. The best part is that; they are just as real as the natural diamonds mined from the Earth. It’s no surprise why about 70% of millennials consider buying the lab-grown alternative.
The lab-grown and natural diamonds also have the same chemical and physical properties. And, just like the natural stone, the lab-grown diamond presents with diamond certifications.
According to the BBC, there’s a sparkling rise in lab-created diamonds. The main purchasers of diamonds for engagement rings; both millennials and Gen Z, seem to now move away entirely from conventional diamonds.
They are going for the lab-grown alternative forms of classic engagement ring settings. These timeless pieces entice those consumers looking for pure elegance and long-lasting style. They are by far the most popular engagement ring setting.
The classic proposal rings are set apart by a brilliant center stone diamond. They come in a wide variety of hidden designs and accents. They also allow for customization of the rings to give you precisely what you want. So, you get stunning final pieces of a complete diamond jewelry set.
The Disruptive Technology Influence on the Diamond Market
For many years, the diamond industry seemed stable. The ‘De Beers’ remained in control of the supply and demand. But, by now, the diamond cartel is no longer the giant supplier of natural stones. The greatest change came far from the traditional industry.
Technology ushered a new game into the marketplace. Diamonds no longer need to be mined. Instead, they can be generated in high-tech manufacturing equipment. And surprisingly, the result is not an artificial diamond but one that is chemically undifferentiated from natural diamonds.
This inventive disruption in the diamond industry has gained motivation to the extent that it now threatens the whole structure of the traditional diamond industry.
The traditional diamonds are over a billion years old. Initially, the stones formed under high temperatures and intense pressure deep inside the Earth. The precious stones were then delivered to the Earth’s surface through volcanic eruptions.
But now, high-tech machines are here to do the entire job faster than ever. The result is the synthetic lab-grown diamonds, which contain similar chemical properties to the natural diamonds.
These stones are employed for heavy, industrialized processes. They are presently used in products like flat screens, solar panels, and medical equipment.
Presently, the lab-grown diamond production is projected to be at $1.9 billion. It is estimated to grow at 22% annually to $5.2 billion by 2023. The growth is further anticipated to stand at $14.9 billion by 2035.
This growth is expected to be heightened by the continuous advancement in lab-diamond production technologies. It should enhance production economics and further lower the prices, hence taking market share from:
- Natural diamond industry
- Fashion jewelry industry
The two popular methods for lab-created diamonds include:
- High Pressure, High Temperature (HPHT)
- Chemical Vapor Distribution (CVD)
How Lab-Grown Diamonds are Shaking Up the Jewelry Market
The lab-grown diamonds are set for a major disruption of the jewelry market by offering an almost unlimited supply of stones at much lower costs than the natural diamonds market price. It’s no surprise that lab-created diamonds are becoming popular purchases for engagement rings and other jewelry selections.
Perhaps one surest indicator that lab-grown diamond jewelry is catching on is a 60,000-square foot synthetic diamond factory worth $94M. The factory, owned by De Beers, is underway and expected to open in Portland.
For a long time, De Beers was considered the global market’s largest producer of diamond jewelry. However, they had long resisted entering the synthetic diamond market. They feared disrupting their natural brand. But, since technology continues to unleash new things that attract the market, they’ve had to comply.
De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver says, “We see an opportunity that’s been missed”. Affordable fashion jewelry may not last forever, but it’s ideal for now.
The jewel makers have adopted the technology established by the solar industry. And, lab-grown diamonds have developed both in quality and market. They have grown to the extent that even gemologists can’t often use their naked eyes to distinguish what’s synthetic and what’s natural.
As a result, technological innovation and tremendous changes in consumer preferences continue to disrupt the diamond industry. Within the last five years, synthetic diamond producers have continued to create stones with added aesthetic appeal. These types of diamonds are now here to compete with natural diamonds.
Presently, automation of the manufacturing processes has brought about an improved technology. This has made it possible for rough diamonds to be polished into clear and well-cut diamonds. These diamond pieces would have been initially polished into poor-grade stones through labor-intensive methods.
The improved technology has led to an increased supply of top-grade polished diamonds. This explains why the technology that grows diamonds in labs is feared as a catalyst disruption to the industry.
There’s very little difference between the lab-created diamond and the natural one. Visually, chemically, and gemologically, the lab-created and mined diamonds appear the same.
So, those who want to purchase diamond jewelry, wedding sets, proposal rings, or diamond stud earrings for women have the liberty to choose the types of diamonds they like.