2020 Lab grown diamond report 💎

In the 1950s, the first man-made diamond was made in a lab by scientist Tracy Hall. Today, we can pump gem-quality stones out of machines.

Eager to take over natural diamonds, synthetic diamonds appeared a few years ago in the jewelry supply chain while  naturals kept decreasing in value (due to the surplus of exploitation and production today). When synthetic diamonds wanted to take a significant place in the market, huge production in India developed which lowered the price of the synthetic and bringing them back to an affordable price. Check out the 20 facts you’ll need to learn on the synthetic diamond.

man-made diamond
  • Produced globally, India leading the production
  • Created in a lab by scientists
  • Ethical
  • Produced in just a few days
  • Produced by HPHT or CVD
  • Are greener than natural diamonds
  • Were used in technology
  • Available both online and offline
  • Look exactly like natural diamonds, so not easily recognisable
  • Certification friendly
  • Cost up to a quarter than natural diamonds
  • No standardised prices: every brand its pricing strategy
  • Sanctions are at place for false sales
  • Available in every Pantone color
  • Made to be traceable

This report is written by ExJewel, a start-up who has developed the industry’s first digital appraisal tool. To analyse how shifts in this industry are affecting customer behaviour, we looked at global ExJewel and Google search data, active browsing page views and conversion rates, sales data, as well as global media coverage and social media mentions generated in 2020.

+ 0 %
synthetic related search
+ 0 %
synthetic related hashtags
- 0 %
sale against natural diamonds
+ 0 %
prices volatility since 2018

Consumers love them!

France

Consumers love lab-grown diamonds. France alone (which is the 3rd biggest luxury city) has sold more than 5 times more synthetic diamonds than natural diamond jewelry. This is mainly due to its attractive and affordable price as well as its brilliance similar than the natural one. Millennial love upgrading their diamond.

Instagram community

Instagram saw a growth of both hashtags, #syntheticdiamond with +19% & #labgrowndiamond with +26%.

Google search result

Google saw a 56% growth in keyword search, including +24% especially for engagement ring related search. Top countries such as India, US & Australia showed an expertise in leading the e-commerce revolution specializing in selling diamonds online. Youtube and Twitter also saw a similar trend emerge in 2017.

Rapaport synthetic diamond
man-made diamond

Indecisive pricing strategy

DeBeers & Lightbox

In 2018, De Beers launched LightBox, a lab-grown diamond jewelry company, with the lowest diamonds cost ever (800$ for 1 carat). They claim that’s how much they’re worth since they’re mass-produced. But some say this is a strategy to make lab-grown diamonds seem worse. It is a complete denigration of the product.

Pricing strategies

Every jewelry brand has its pricing strategy. A VVS1 E 1ct natural diamond can cost up to 20 000$, compared to 3 000$ for a synthetic one. In 2018, synthetic diamonds were 50% cheaper than natural diamonds, compared to 16% in 2016.  Generally speaking, four options are present in the market:

The lab-created producers want to market their product as a more innovative and environmentally friendly, um, you know, product that’s superior to natural diamonds in those ways. But at the same time, they still want the value associated with diamonds that, you know, that De Beers created over a hundred years.

Are they green?

Even though it is still doubtful, lab grown diamonds have a great success rate among conscious consumers. Is it gonna last? Good question.

Lab-grown diamonds are superior to dirt diamonds or mined diamonds that have come out of the Earth. That trend goes with the macro trend of offering customized jewelry with a greener use of gemstones and selling more jewelry online than offline.

Conscious diamond
Fiona lab grown diamond

Switching business models

Green jewelers

Synthetic diamonds are not so new. Well, they were used in most electronics for some time. But it’s only recently that the jewelry industry realized its potential. More than 15+ jewelry startups were created between 2010 and 2015 (1500+ jewelry business switched focus to synthetic rather than natural) focusing mainly on improving lab grown diamond production. It is almost always related to reducing CO2 emissions and cutting man-made diamond mining.

E-jewelers

Another 25+ e-jewelers focused on providing lab grown diamonds to consumers on marketplaces. VDB (Virtual Diamond Boutique) recently allowed suppliers to upload their synthetic stocks.

Netflix Diamond Explained

In 2019, Google reported 2500+ new articles including top synthetic diamond keyword search published on major worldwide feeds. Surely, the release of Netflix Diamond Explained by VOX on Netflix last year helped quite a bit! This buzz continued for the next 6 months before almost shutting down in January 2020.

What’s next?

What’s next for lab grown diamonds in the jewelry industry?

Do you think that Cartier or other luxury jewelers will ever sell lab grown diamonds?

I think that brands must offer both options, natural or man-made diamonds, to their customers. DeBeers thought about it and creating a sup-brand was the best option. Perhaps, Cartier should do the same. Otherwise, all online jewelers like Taylor & Hart would certainly a better option for engagement ring. Already, it is more affordable with better quality…

Do you think that a lab grown diamond is for everyone?

Certainly no. Well, it’s difficult to say if everyone think the same but for me, lab grown diamonds are different. They are not natural and that is an  argument that differentiates it from its competitor. Surely, it’s better for the environment but still, a natural diamond remains a natural diamond.

What is the future of the lab grown diamond industry?

A diamond is a product of heat, time, capitalism, and us. It isn’t bullshit, because the volume of people who kind of are convinced by it tells us that their story is tapping into the complexity of who we are. And when you think about it, so much of what we do, so much of what we wear, what we carry. So much of it is about communicating who we are.

Do you think that diamond prices are fair, especially nowadays?

I think diamonds are kind of like an ink-blot test, and you can kind of see what you want and make your own criteria in terms of what’s the most important to you. I think the value of a diamond is zero. It’s entirely the value you have in regards to the person who gave it to you. And so is lab grown diamonds. If you like it, buy it. If you don’t, buy something 3 times more expensive.

Read for FREE one of our trend report

The trend forecasting tool is currently in BETA version. We are constantly working on improving our services. ExJewel’s artificial intelligence-powered platform analyses millions of jewelry data in real-time to forecast trend for you.