Although diamonds themselves last forever, the diamond industry is everything but stable. Bain & Company and the Antwerp World Diamond Center released the 2019 Global Diamond Report. Raw diamond sales are expected to have a 25% drop by the end of the year, while the sales of lab created diamonds will only have a 10% drop.
Bain’s “diamond industry recession” hasn’t hit jewelry yet. The retail market for diamond jewelry will shrink 2-percent this year, with a 5percent drop projected in China, the world’s second-largest market.
Only the branded luxury portion of the diamond jewelry market is expected to increase. Moreso, fifteen percent of the retail diamond market is devoted to high-end diamond jewelry.
Disruption in the Diamond Mining Business
The Bain report identified the three largest risks to the mined-diamond business. They are e-commerce, lab grown synthetic diamonds, and contemporary consumer sectors.
All three of them focus on social and environmental responsibility. However, among them, lab created diamonds are ones that are thriving with each passing year. The mined-diamond industry would have two years to adapt if online sales increased. The corporate sector has years of expertise in resolving supply-chain difficulties.
Online jewelers may sell less polished diamonds and jewelry than brick-and-mortar businesses. And both these businesses may be served via the diamond supply chain. According to Bain, between 5% and 10% of the jewelry market is made up of online sales.
The mined diamond industry is caught between two disruptive trends. Millennials and Generation Z have high expectations for environmental and social responsibility.
What Are Lab Grown Diamonds, and Can They Replace Mined Diamonds?
Lab grown diamonds are chemically, physically, and optically identical to mined diamonds. Extreme pressure and heat make pure diamonds 100 miles below the Earth’s surface. Most of them developed between 1 and 3 billion years ago when Earth was far hotter than it is now.
Extreme pressure and heat are also used in producing lab created diamonds. However, the process takes place this time in a machine rather than the Earth’s crust.
A diamond may form in one of two ways. Both processes need the use of a second diamond as a “seed.” The first lab diamond was created by exposing the seed to 1.5 million pounds per square inch of pressure and 1,500 degrees Celsius.
Chemical vapor deposition may generate diamonds (CVD). The seed is heated to 800°C in a carbon-rich gas-filled container. As the gasses attach to the seed, a diamond is formed carbon by carbon atom.
Using either of these two processes, different types of diamonds are created in a faster time frame in a far safer environment.
How Is the Popularity of Lab Grown Diamonds Rising Quickly?
Recent improvements in lab diamond technology enable enterprises to generate better-quality diamonds fast. Competition between lab grown and mined diamond producers has heated up.
Antwerp World Diamond Center commissioned a report indicating the cost of a CVD lab grown diamond is $300 to $500 per carat, down from $4,000.
Dan Moran, the owner of Concierge Diamonds in Los Angeles, says lab created diamonds are becoming more popular. He stated that it is occurring as clients learn more about them. He also said that most people who purchase synthetic diamonds are under the age of 40 and quite thrifty.
Child labor and selling “conflict diamonds” fuel bloodshed in Africa. Millennials and Gen Z are eco-conscious and ethically concerned about natural diamond sources. That’s why lab created diamonds are also very popular to these demographics.
Due to diamonds’ effects on the economy, society, and environment, the market share of diamonds purchased by consumers under 30 is growing by 15% to 20%.
Because of this rapid increase, more laboratories have entered the market allowing more jewelry stores to stock up on lab created diamonds.
1. The Worldwide Mined Diamond Supply Is Decreasing
With the world’s mined diamond supply decreasing, making ecologically conscientious choices and protecting our houses is more vital than ever.
More understanding of sustainability allows people to make more educated and conscious choices. It is a great motivator for acquiring lab-created diamonds. It’s noteworthy to notice that diamond mining uses more energy than diamond manufacturing.
2. Synthetic Diamonds Have Celebrity Support
Celebrities and public leaders encourage sustainability as lab created diamonds gain market share. Well-known people have come up to support and invest in synthetic diamonds.
For instance, Leonardo DiCaprio endorsed synthetic diamonds to raise awareness about blood diamonds. Penelope Cruz owns a collection of Swarovski faux diamond jewelry. Atelier Swarovski is the name of her line.
There are many other famous people who promote synthetic diamonds. Like- Khaliah Ali, Twitter and Facebook co-founders Evan Williams and Andrew McCollum. Nowadays, you will also see famous women worldwide wearing synthetic diamonds. Some of these names include Madonna, Kate Hudson, Gwen Stefani, Cameron Diaz, Beyonce, and the Kardashians.
3. High-Tech Sectors Are Increasingly Making Use of Synthetic Diamonds
Microelectronics, laser equipment, semiconductors, and space technologies may profit from synthetic diamonds’ uses. Synthetic diamonds polish ultra-strong RF optics and electronics materials.
These are used to make diamond anvils for studying the properties of substances. Their phase transitions need a few more things. For example:
- Pressurized environments up to 2.5 million atmospheres
- Optical windows for high-power lasers
- Highly sensitive temperature sensors
- UV, X-ray, and radiation sensors
- And fast-response heating elements and needles for scanning probe microscopes.
Synthetic diamonds are frequently used in high technology and are projected to grow. In conclusion, polishing may transform unpolished synthetic diamonds into valuable jewelry.
More research into their physical and chemical characteristics is required. Especially before the use of advanced technologies.
ALROSA‘s production of synthetic diamonds could aid in the solution of several production methods in the future. The tasks should involve the use of synthetic stones in place of natural ones. Several more items are included as well:
- Testing devices designed to detect a wide range of synthetic diamonds
- Tests of devices to preserve diamonds intact in concentration facilities
Suppose synthetic diamonds are eventually able to replace natural diamonds completely. In that case, there will be no need to mine them. And it presents an opportunity for ALROSA and Yakutia to create a new method for making synthetic diamonds. Modern synthetic diamond technologies might open up new areas for diamonds.