Style / Jewellery

De Beers Debuts New Line of Lab-made Diamonds

De Beers’ upcoming new line, Lightbox Jewelry, creates a collection lab-made diamonds at an accessible price range for those who are yet seeking “forever”.

May 30, 2018 | By Shirley Wang

Founded by Cecil Rhodes with funding from the Rothschild family, De Beers is known for their famous marketing slogan “a diamond is forever”, and once had a near-monopoly on global diamond production.

De Beers will be selling diamonds “grown” in a laboratory near Ascot, Berkshire, in an upcoming line under Lightbox Jewelry.

The 130-year-old diamond company, which mines billion-year-old diamonds, has just launched a range of much cheaper “lab-grown diamonds” recently on the 28th May Tuesday. Created in just three weeks by scientists, the lab-made diamonds are a result from a process similar to 3D printing.

The new range of synthetic diamonds is aimed to meet increasing demand for “affordable fashion jewellery that may not be forever but is perfect for right now”, said De Beers.

The Lightbox brand diamonds are estimated to sell between $200 (SGD $268) for a quarter-carat stone, to $800 (SGD $1,070) for a one-carat stone. Nimesh Patel, De Beers’s chief financial officer, said that the prices are a 85-90% discount on the cost of natural diamonds, placing lab-made diamond jewelry at a much more accessible price range.

De Beers has been making synthetic diamonds for industrial customers for decades but had never brought them into the jewelry industry. Previous diamond products made by De Beers’ Element Six unit were mostly used as drilling tools for the oil and gas industry, usually in black shade that one will not have identified with the clear diamond.

Technically, lab-made diamonds and mined diamonds share the same structure and chemical composition. While mined stones have a higher market value, they are almost visually indistinguishable from lab-made stones without special machinery. However, De Beers have stated in a response that precautions have been taken against fraud, making it even easier to tell the difference.

“Lightbox uses a system whereby it laser marks its stones just below the surface with the Lightbox logo to ensure that the stones can easily be identified as lab-grown products and can’t be passed off as real diamonds.”

Real diamonds however, are formed from billions of years under the earth, instead of a mere few weeks in the laboratory, with each bearing a unique structure and lustre of its own.

The new jewelry line will be launched commercially in September of this year. The brand, Lightbox jewelry, will operate through an e-commerce sales platform, and will not be available from De Beers retail stores. Although current plans are only set for the US market, the response to Lightbox Jewelry from consumers will be assessed for international markets.


 
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