Diamonds won’t be forever unless miners make them sparkle – by John Gapper (Financial Times – April 26, 2024)

The natural jewels have lost their old mystique because carbon crystals can be grown in labs

Diamonds of the kind that come from mines, not laboratories, got a fine endorsement last week from LVMH, the French luxury group that owns Bulgari and Tiffany & Co. “When it comes to jewellery, we use natural diamonds . . . The most beautiful jewels are, in our opinion, the natural ones,” said Stéphane Bianchi, LVMH group managing director.

This was a nice sentiment but it did not, strictly speaking, make sense. Lab-grown diamonds not only look the same as solid carbon crystals formed in deep earth millions of years ago but are physically identical. Beauty must be in the eye of the beholder to justify paying far more for one than the other.

Diamonds are also involved in this week’s proposed £31bn takeover by BHP, the world’s largest mining group, of Anglo American, which owns De Beers. BHP is mostly interested in Anglo American’s copper mines, rather than its jewels. De Beers has been cutting its output due to sluggish demand for its traditional products.

For the rest of this article: