While most consumers who choose lab-created diamonds do that because of the affordable prices, there are still those who prefer man-made gems for other reasons. Ethics and theoretical environmental benefits are among the main selling factors, especially for younger consumers. And it is these consumers who are currently setting trends that the jewelry industry will follow in the near future.
The reputation of the mined diamonds was affected by a 2006 Hollywood movie Blood Diamond and the reports of cruelty and human rights violations at mining sites that were published in the following years. The claims of dangerous conditions and risks of abuse and assault have been continuing to pop up and were mentioned as recently as in last month’s Guardian article.
When growing companies and first big lab diamond retailers launched their promotional campaigns, they started positioning lab-created stones as more ethical alternatives. These promotional tactics have been attracting a lot of millennials who made environmental and social safety one of their buying priorities. Some companies that claim lab-grown diamonds to be the single completely ethical choice on the market reported the sales increase as big as 400% over the last two years. And while this market continues to grow very rapidly, the mined diamond production has been steadily declining even before the pandemic. According to the Bain Diamond Report, there is an annual decrease by around 5% that has been happening since 2017.
Although totally ethical and potentially eco-friendly lab-grown diamonds are usually the case due to the fully controlled lab environments, complete transparency, and application of renewable energy by many growing companies, it doesn’t mean that they have to stand opposed to the mined ones. According to mining expert Saleem Ali, there are now more fully traceable mined diamonds than ever before, and a lot of miners are trying to solve the problems of hazardous environments. The key is not to diversify the markets, but trying to put effort into bringing both mined and lab-created diamonds to the same standards of complete sustainability and ethical sourcing.
We at LaBrilliante believe that the diamonds - both mined and lab-created shouldn’t be presented as rival products. There is room for both types of gemstones at the jewelry stores. Miners shouldn’t view man-made diamonds as the industry disruptor. In fact, rise of the lab-grown diamond sales may be a motivation to strive towards a safer production and more transparent market of mined diamonds. And while the lab-grown alternatives are more affordable and should be promoted as such, they are just an opportunity for those customers who are tight on the budget and didn’t have such an option before. After all, this is why the price difference, and not other factors, is and will continue to be the main selling point of man-made diamonds.