“Synthetics are fun and fashionable, but they are not real diamonds in my book,” said De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver. “They aren’t rare or given at life’s great moments. Nor should they be.”
They may not be rare, but the sure are real. Anatomically identical to natural diamonds, the reality: De Beers’ revenue fell by 4% in 2017, to $5.8 billion. So what’s a behemoth to do? Swallow your pride and adopt the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” attitude (De Beers has been lobbying against man-made stones since their invention in the 1950s).
In September 2018, De Beers launches Lightbox, a subsidiary and retailer stocking man-made diamonds, exclusively. Offering pink, blue and white gems, at launch their pricing was the most inexpensive on the entire market, from just $200 (for a ¼ carat) to $800 (one carat). Having increased the gap between the prices of mined diamonds and the lab-grown variety significantly, other retailers of man-made stones will undoubtedly follow suit. Limited to earrings and necklaces, they are cleverly avoiding cannibalization. After all, it’s their own “a diamond is forever” slogan from the 1940s that made the giving of diamond engagement rings a thing in the first place.