De Beers has broken ground on the factory where it will grow diamonds for Lightbox, its new company that will sell fashion jewelry set with white, blue and pink man-made diamonds.
The $94 million, 60,000-square-foot Element Six facility will be located in Gresham, Oregon, a suburb located about 16 miles east of Portland.
Element Six is the arm of De Beers that has grown diamonds for industrial purposes for decades, but, as De Beers announced shortly before the jewelry trade shows in late May/early June, is moving into the manufacturing of gem-quality diamonds.
Element Six currently is headquartered in Maidenhead, United Kingdom. This will be its first U.S. facility to grow gem-quality diamonds, and De Beers has said Element Six will grow these diamonds for Lightbox only. (Element Six has industrial diamond factories in the United States already, in Santa Clara, California and Houston.)
The Gresham factory is expected to be completed by August 2019 and begin production the following year, with a capacity of 500,000 rough carats per year. It will employ 60 people, including engineers and technicians.
Lightbox Jewelry is slated to launch in September and is limited, at least for now, to fashion jewelry—simple pendants and diamond solitaire earrings with and without halos that will be sold as singles as well as in pairs.