A 100,000 carat high quality white diamond sells for 30,000, a rare pink diamond sells for 100,000 in the auction house for 4 million. It’s not fake, it’s not fishy, it’s exactly the same, it’s probably even “cleaner”, but it’s man-made.
On this issue, many people have a trace of hesitation, especially the original engaged in the natural diamond trade jewelers are rejected. But recently, it seems that global jewelry practitioners and consumers are beginning to move toward a consensus that “cultivated diamonds really smell good”.
Exactly the same, but they are man-made cultivated diamonds
Unlike zircon or moissanite, which are labeled as fake or imitation diamonds, cultivated diamonds are identical to natural mineral diamonds in terms of physical, chemical and, most importantly for jewelry, optical properties.
Cultivated diamonds have also been called synthetic diamonds, man-made diamonds, artificial diamonds, etc. in the past few years, but were finally identified as cultivated diamonds because in 2018, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) changed the definition of diamonds by removing the word “natural” and classifying both natural and laboratory-grown diamonds as diamonds The FTC also believes that such artificially created diamonds that look exactly like natural diamonds should not be called synthetic diamonds, and that Lab Grown Diamond is a more accurate and widely accepted name. This year, China’s National Jewelry and Jade Quality Supervision and Inspection Center (NGTC) also introduced the first “Grown Diamond Certificates”, officially recognizing the designation. In doing so, Chinese regulators, in addition to conforming to international practice, may have seen the rise of cultivated diamonds in the domestic consumer market and the commercial value of China in the global cultivated diamond market.
Perhaps a better diamond
The hit movie “Blood Diamond” starring Leonardo even put a label on natural diamonds that is hard to take off. And the fact that everything that goes into cultivating diamonds takes place in a laboratory makes it even more “beautiful” in terms of energy consumption, carbon emissions, sustainability, and labor protection. There are currently two production methods in the world, one is high temperature and high pressure (HPHT), which simulates an underground environment, and the other is chemical vapor deposition (CVD), which is commonly used in the semiconductor industry to produce thin films. There is no difference in the products produced by the two methods. According to a report by Bain & Company, the two approaches together currently reach an annual production of approximately 7 million carats. In contrast, the global production of natural diamonds is over 130 million carats.
In such a large market space, what is most exciting for the country is China’s position in cultivating the diamond industry chain. In the natural diamond sector, almost all natural diamonds bought by consumers in China come from overseas, as there are no sizable gem-quality natural diamond mines in the country. Today, nearly half of the production capacity of HPHT cultivated diamonds is in China, and chemical vapor deposition (CVD) cultivated diamond manufacturing companies have sprung up. Several listed companies have made a lot of money, and Huanghe Cyclone (600172, stock bar) is a stunning performance in this year with 5 stops in 7 days. The supply capacity on the production side is much smaller than the soaring demand in overseas markets, creating a window of short-term windfall profits, but as manufacturers invest more, jewelry-grade cultivated diamonds will sooner or later restore the balance of supply and demand. China’s diamond industry wants to avoid falling into the fate of the smile curve of the shoe industry (do the most work, take the least money), long-term development or the consumer end of the brand.
From boycott to embrace of the jewelry industry
Metal detector can not detect the diamonds hidden in the pocket, in the smooth hand may roll away the amazing wealth of the jewelry industry, reputation is the first. Small and medium-sized enterprises are often family-owned to blood-bound trust, any word of mouth of business people in the chain will quickly spread upstream and downstream. This has also caused the jewelry circle is relatively conservative and closed. According to jewelry industry insiders, jewelers used to avoid cultivated diamonds like a flood – no one wanted to be told by their peers that they were “selling fakes”. However, the wholesale price difference between cultivated diamonds and natural diamonds is more than 50%, and there are always people who are desperate to take the risk. 2018 years ago in Hong Kong and Macau, there were vicious incidents of taking cultivated diamonds in pawn shops to exchange natural diamonds for cash, and some of the people involved have been dealt with according to the law, but similar incidents have intensified the resistance to cultivated diamonds in the jewelry industry. According to Guo Sheng, founder of CARAXY brand, the earliest domestic entry into cultivated diamonds, when they exhibited cultivated diamonds at jewelry shows around the world during 2015-2016, jewelers were generally very cautious, with some willing to try but unwilling to disclose their personal information and company information, and some customers even doubted whether the sale of such goods was legal. “It felt like a big risk to the industry to promote cultivated diamonds,” Guo Sheng lamented, “the 2016 China International Diamond Industry Summit, considered the first high-profile industry dialogue between domestic natural diamonds and cultivated diamonds, we are promoting the harmonious coexistence of cultivated diamonds and natural diamonds. co-development, but the diamond mining giant De Beers made it clear that there is no market for synthetic diamonds and advised downstream businesses not to touch them.”
Recently, though, the wind, it seems, has turned.
De Beers launched its own high-profile cultivated diamond brand LIGHTBOX in 2018, selling fashion jewelry with cultivated diamonds as the main stone and not doing 4C grading by diamonds, which brought explosive news and word mentions to the global diamond industry. According to a number of industry insiders, De Beers found that it was better to “block than to unblock” cultivated diamonds, and wanted to use its capital advantage to direct the development of global cultivated diamonds to the cheap fashion jewelry market with a low-price strategy, distinguishing itself from its core business of mainly emotional and rare and precious natural diamonds. Three years on, however, De Beers’ low-price strategy has not worked, but has instead given the jewelry industry and consumers tremendous confidence, leading to a continued acceleration in demand for cultivated diamonds in both the to B and to C markets in Europe and the US. Just on August 30 this year, De Beers further announced that Lightbox will launch a high-end product line, selected according to the natural diamond grading of high-quality products, a carat of loose diamonds priced at tens of thousands of yuan, and then matched with the corresponding ring brackets, and entered the diamond industry’s self-reservation in a grand manner.
This is true for the giants, but even more so for the lighter brands. Despite the fact that, due to their lower pricing, they themselves rarely use such materials as diamonds. Still, jewelry giant Pandora has made its attitude clear. In June this year it announced that in the future it will stop using natural diamonds forever and use only cultivated diamonds on diamond materials. Other well-known brands such as Swarovski, Chanel and others have also started investing in the cultivated diamond sector.