Has COVID changed Jewelry forever?
It’s been a while since the public at large has thought hard about diamonds. Between the election cycle and COVID 19, it’s been tough to think much about anything else. But, meanwhile, in the background there have been quietly shifting forces in the jewelry industry.
Jewelers have experienced a retraction in consumer spending,as the economy is tied to discretionary spending, and for most of us, unless it’s an engagement, we may wait until the proverbial storm passes, before spending big on that nice bracelet we’ve been eyeing for our significant other.
But much like COVID is changing the world forever with ecommerce, market forces are accelerating an already growing shift of interest and acceptance to lab created diamonds over traditional mined diamonds. Lab grown diamonds have been quickly increasing in popularity, as millennials, when posed with the question, would rather get a larger diamond for the same price. And who can blame them!?
While man made diamonds have been around for hundreds of years, it’s only been in the past 5 years the craft of lab grown has been perfected to the market’s expectations. There are 2 approaches — High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). HPHT uses pressure and heat to simulate the conditions that make diamonds deep inside the earth, vs CVD which turns carbon rich gas into plasma. Both share some similarities, and technical pros and cons, but to the average jeweler or consumer, either one will do the trick. At the end of the day, lab created diamonds, and mined diamonds, have the same DNA. They are molecularly identical, as well as physically and optically. When it comes down to it, do you care whether the flowers on your table were grown in a field or a greenhouse? Why should diamonds be any different?..
It’s been two years since the FTC revised their marketing guidelines to recognize both lab grown and mined diamonds, as simply “diamonds.” Marty Hurwitz of MVI Marketing reports “We’ve been following along with lab grown diamonds since the early 2000’s and one thing we can confidently say is the lab grown market has reached critical mass. We will see mass market acceptance sooner than the industry expected.” Hurwitz is the CEO of MVI Marketing, who researches and consults in the industry — releasing annual industry reports on lab grown. “The one thing that’s changed the most in the last year is millennials seeking out and actively requesting lab grown diamonds. They know its humanitarian and ecological benefits, and most importantly, they like that they can bring home a bigger diamond for less.”
But it’s not just consumers benefiting — jewelry stores make better margins, and suppliers too. “We’ve seen our adoption increase like wildfire” Ben Kilmer of Diamoneer says. Kilmer, who runs business development at Diamoneer, a lab grown diamond wholesaler reports “jewelry stores on up the value chain, have dramatically changed their outlook within the last two years.” “Our company has seen massive growth over the past few years” and the growth doesn’t seem like it will slow down anytime soon.