Consumers view natural, lab-grown diamonds differently, says De Beers

Rob Bates

Consumers are more aware of lab-grown diamonds, though their perception of them differs from their view of natural diamonds, according to De Beers’ latest Diamond Insight Flash Report.

The company’s latest poll of 5,000 U.S. consumers—conducted by 360 Market Reach—found that two-thirds were aware of lab-grown diamonds. That’s higher awareness than the company has found in the past, though lower than what’s been found in other surveys.

But it also found that more consumers view natural diamonds as “authentic” (60% for naturals, versus 6% for lab-growns); “romantic” (41%, naturals; 6%, lab-growns); and as a product that “make[s] me feel special” (37%, naturals; 3%, lab-growns).

The report also found:

  • The top consumer concerns regarding lab-grown diamonds are that they aren’t as rare as natural diamonds, and that they won’t retain their value over time.
  • Around 70% of consumers said that they would not pay more than $1,000 for a piece of lab-grown diamond jewelry.
  • Some 47% of consumers did not agree with the statement that lab-grown diamonds are “real.” (The Federal Trade Commission has cautioned marketers that “it would be deceptive to use the termsreal, genuine, natural, or synthetic to imply that a lab-grown diamond…is not, in fact, an actual diamond.”)

The results of the report could raise skepticism, especially from lab-grown sellers, since they align almost perfectly with De Beers’ positioning of its Lightbox brand, as well as its long-held views on lab-grown diamonds.

Stephen Lussier, De Beers executive vice president for consumer markets, tells JCK that the results of its latest Flash Report are largely in line with its past research.

Data is data,” he says. “The data is not radically differently than [what] we have found in the past. People’s understandings have always been this way.”

He admits that the results could surprise U.S. retailers, who—for the moment—mostly sell lab-growns as bridal, at higher price points.

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Source Rob Bates

Photo © Lightbox.