Diamond mining companies are known for changing the rules but lab-grown diamonds are changing the game. Big corporations may talk about the ever lasting value of mined stones all the time. Still, they cannot resist the ever changing demand of today’s jewelry consumer.
Despite Natural Diamond Council’s efforts to discredit lab-grown diamonds, De Beers, their main donor, now operates a $94 million dollar growing facility under their own brand Lightbox Jewelry.
Why? With Lighbox, De Beers was trying to divide the market into mined and lab-grown categories and make some money in the process.
How? They claim that lab-grown diamonds are essentially all alike in terms of quality and therefore do not require grading and certification. They are told to only be good for cheap fashion jewelry, as they have no value.
With $800 per carat linear price tag and aggressive marketing, Lightbox’s lab-grown diamonds were supposed to become the most-demanded product in our rapidly developing industry. The effort to put lab-grown diamonds into only the fashion jewelry category was supposed to be successful. Neither happened.
Lab-grown diamonds aren’t all the same: they differ in size, color and clarity, so the independent grading is crucial for keeping the customer fully informed. Large D IF diamonds are extremely rare, and smaller GH VS-SI diamonds are quite common, just like with mined diamonds. The better the quality of the gem, the harder and more expensive it is to grow it.
According to many reviews, finished Lighbox’s diamonds are full of dislocations, which negatively affect their color, clarity and durability. No wonder that the brand doesn't want to fully disclose the quality, since it’s on the very end of the near-colorless spectrum. Concealing this fact is detrimental for building consumer's confidence in the product.
All of Lightbox’s diamonds are said to be “near colorless”. However, the difference between G and J color is pretty significant. For example, 1 ct Round G VS1 price is about $7500 for a mined diamond, while the stone with J VS2 grades will only be priced at $4500, still being a “near colorless” diamond.
All Lightbox’s stones are uncertified, so you can't tell the exact color and clarity unless you will certify this stone by yourself in the laboratory.
At the same time, with the advancements of the growing technologies, the overall industry moves forward. At launch, Lightbox’s lab-grown diamonds were sold at $800 per carat because they were grown faster to save up on energy costs, sacrificing quality in the process. Now, the same stones seem to be overpriced.
Pricing goes up significantly, depending on the weight. So, $800 per carat might be a fair cost for one type of stones, but for another - it is overpriced. Not to mention, there are some lab-grown diamonds that Lightbox retails at a higher price point, which doesn’t represent the current market.
The same thing is distributed on mountings. These stones are mounted in overpriced low-purity gold and silver to gain ever more profit from the market that De Beers don’t still seemingly legitimize.
It's only fair to compare Lightbox’s products to mined diamond jewelry from Walmart, Macys, and Costco. In fact, it’s even cheaper at the mass-orientiered chains.
De Beers is set to preserve their main business, yet even they joined the lab-grown diamond industry. While their practice is based on making quick profit, it doesn’t affect the consumer’s trust as badly as they want.
The market share of lab-grown diamonds is increasing rapidly. Jewelers and consumers around the world are choosing to go with this alternative due to the affordability and sustainability. And every year lab-grown diamonds appear that are truly unique and precious.
There are several ways to apply manufactured stones, just like with the mined ones. While fashion jewelry is one of them, lab grown diamonds can be so much more. Lab-created fine luxury from famous brands is on the table and is only getting more recognition.
Don’t be misled by the repetitive statements and photoshop pictures. If you want to be confident about the quality and fair price of your lab diamonds, local jewelers, independent brands, and, of course, LaBrilliante is the right way to go.