NEWSWATCH: After years of vowing to never sell laboratory-made stones, De Beers Group has announced the launch of a new company, called Lightbox Jewelry, that will begin marketing a new brand of lab-grown diamond jewellery under the Lightbox name in September.
The new gems will retail from $200 for a quarter-carat stone to $800 for a one-carat stone – a fraction of the price of mined diamonds. The line will feature pink, blue and white lab-grown diamonds in a selection of earring and necklace designs. Its mass-market appeal is pegged to attract younger spenders who are hesitant to splash out on expensive jewellery.
While man-made gems make up just a fraction of the $80bn global diamond market, demand is increasing as buyers look for stones that are cheaper, according to a Bloomberg report on Fin24.
“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: affordable fashion jewellery that may not be forever, but is perfect for right now,” says Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group.
“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. After decades of R&D investment, we’re able to offer consumers a better price today. While it will be a small business compared with our core diamond business, we think the Lightbox brand will resonate with consumers and provide a new, complementary commercial opportunity for De Beers Group.”
A subsidiary of De Beers Group, Lightbox will be the only jewellery brand to source lab-grown diamonds from De Beers Group’s Element Six business, a leader in lab-grown diamond technology for more than 50 years. Any Lightbox lab-grown diamonds of 0.2 carats or above will carry a permanent Lightbox logo inside the stone. Invisible to the naked eye but easily identified under magnification, the logo will clearly identify the stone as lab-grown and also serve as an assurance that it was produced by Element Six.
To support the new diamond brand, De Beers Group is investing a total of $94 million over four years in a new Element Six production facility near Portland, Oregon, adding to Element Six’s existing UK-based facilities. Once fully operational, the plant will be capable of producing upwards of 500,000 rough carats of lab-grown diamonds a year.
Lightbox will launch in the US and will initially be available to US-based consumers through the Lightbox e-commerce website, with retail partnerships to be announced in due course.
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