US lab-grown diamond producer files for bankruptcy – by Harry Dempsey (Financial Times – October 12, 2023)

Sector suffers first big casualty from glut of man-made gemstones

WD Lab Grown Diamonds, the second-largest US producer of man-made diamonds, has filed for bankruptcy, becoming the sector’s first big casualty of a burgeoning glut of fabricated gemstones.

The Washington-based company, which filed for Chapter 7 protection on Wednesday in a Delaware bankruptcy court, said it had total liabilities of $44mn with assets totalling $3mn and between 100 and 199 creditors.

Lab-grown gems are posing a significant threat to the natural diamond sector, as consumers — particularly in the US — choose to buy jewellery that uses stones that are created in a foundry but are almost chemically identical to counterparts dug out of the ground.

Diamond miners, including industry leader De Beers, have long warned that the lab-grown sector would self-implode as overproduction pushed the industry into losses and prices for manufactured diamonds collapsed.

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