As synthetic stones rise in popularity, The National asks traders and jewellers if they truly are a cut above the real thing
Diamonds might be for ever, yet their origins are evolving. This week, Bloomberg reported the prices of some rough stones are in free fall as Americans opt for jewellery made using lab-grown diamonds, which are lower in cost.
As a result, even established jewellery houses have had to rethink costs and supply. Case in point: in the first half of the year, De Beers’s profits dropped 60 per cent to $347 million, with average prices for its “real” diamonds falling from $213 per carat to $163.
Now, as the prices of both sink like a stone and many adapt to shifting appetites from consumers, industry opinion is increasingly divided about which stone sparkles brightest.
Third-generation diamantaire: ‘Times are changing’
De Beers, the world’s leading producer and distributor of diamonds that coined the phrase “a diamond is for ever” in a marketing campaign 75 years ago, used to be a staunch defender of natural stones. However, in the face of increased competition from synthetic diamonds, it joined the market in 2018 – but sold its lab-grown versions at a heavy discount compared to “rare” mined ones.