De Beers set to begin selling synthetic diamonds to retail customers

As of September, international diamond group De Beers will start selling lower-priced, lab-made gemstones to non-industrial consumers via its newly formed subsidiary, Lightbox

  • By Fernando Moncada Rivera | Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

Even within the existing retail market for synthetic gems, Lightbox will be aggressively undercutting its competitors in terms of price. The stones will also have the Lightbox logo inscribed inside to differentiate them from real gems

On May 29, the world’s largest diamond company, De Beers Group, announced it will begin selling lab-made diamonds to retail customers. The move will allow the group to tap into the growing market for lower-priced diamonds.

De Beers’ lab-made stones will be sold through a newly formed company called Lightbox, which will begin retail operations in September. According to De Beers, prices for the stones will range from $200 for a quarter-carat diamond to $800 for a one-carat stone – vastly cheaper than its real diamonds, which are easily priced into the thousands.

Even within the existing retail market for synthetic gems, Lightbox will be aggressively undercutting its competitors in terms of price. The stones will also have the Lightbox logo inscribed inside to differentiate them from real gems.

De Beers’ lab-made stones will be sold through a newly formed company called Lightbox, which will begin retail operations in September

“Lightbox will transform the lab-grown diamond sector by offering consumers a lab-grown product they have told us they want but aren’t getting,” said De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver in a statement.

“Our extensive research tells us this is how consumers regard lab-grown diamonds – as a fun, pretty product that shouldn’t cost that much – so we see an opportunity here that’s been missed by lab-grown diamond producers. Lab-grown diamonds are a product of technology and, as we’ve seen with synthetic sapphires, rubies and emeralds, as the technology advances, products become more affordable.”

De Beers is one of the world’s most proficient makers of synthetic diamonds through its Element Six business, which sells lab-made stones for industrial use. De Beers also uses synthetic stones to compare the quality of real diamonds.

Despite this, the company’s decision to sell lab-made diamonds to retail customers comes as somewhat of a surprise, especially considering De Beers’ recent move to ensure the quality of its diamonds through blockchain. Earlier in May, De Beers confirmed it had digitally tracked its first hundred diamonds along the value chain via the technology.