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What are your thoughts on the emerging labgrown diamond market?

Discussion in 'Laboratory-Grown Diamonds /Man-Made Diamonds (MMD)' started by Celes Ventures, May 27, 2019.

  1. Celes Ventures
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    by Celes Ventures » May 27, 2019
    Hi guys,

    what are your thoughts on purchasing labgrown for your jewelry or using labgrown diamonds for your pieces as professional? Do you notice an increase of demand? Yes, I am a labgrown diamond trader, but I am currently conducting a market study to learn more from the experts in the field. I have spent quite some time sourcing from reliable suppliers for a fair price, but I notice that consumers still feel that prices are higher than expected for labgrown diamonds. To be fair, I did come across some ridiculous prices too. I see some interesting movements in The Netherlands with jewelers adapting to the trend. Curious to read your replies.

    Br, Mark
     
    


    


  2. OoohShiny
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  3. OoohShiny
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    by OoohShiny » May 27, 2019
    Oh, and welcome to the forum.

    As you are in the diamond business, you must have a 'Trade' banner under your forum name.


    Hover over your name in the top right corner of the forum, select 'Preferences', and tick the box marked "Check here if you work or are working with any diamond and/or jewelry business."
     
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  4. Celes Ventures
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    by Celes Ventures » May 28, 2019
    Thank you! I will go through the other threads.

    Already checked the box when registering.=)2
     
    


    


  5. OoohShiny
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    by OoohShiny » May 29, 2019
    I cannot see the Trade banner under your username on the left of your posts, so it could be worth re-checking and emailing psadmin if something is wrong.
     
  6. jeaniefish
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    by jeaniefish » Jun 3, 2019
    Speaking as as a customer, not a dealer, I’m nervous about possible downward price fluctuations. I’ve read some posts here, and some independent articles, regarding the future prices of lab diamonds. Does anyone else feel that the diamond cartels are trying to squeeze the LD sellers out of the market by offering relatively inexpensive lab diamonds, such as the Lightbox diamonds from deBeers? Do you think that will happen? If I keep the lab diamond I just ordered,( 30 day return option) and the prices fall thru the floor in a year or two, I will be heartsick every time I look at it. I already know that there is no trade up policy from the company where I purchased my lab diamond. That makes me question whether lab diamonds are a smart alternative to the earth mined ones after all!
     
  7. denverappraiser
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    by denverappraiser » Jun 3, 2019
    I’m certainly no expert in predicting the future, that’s a job for a psychic not an appraiser, but why does the possibility of this bother you? If prices drop, which does seem decently likely, isn’t that GOOD news for consumers? That’s the way it works with nearly everything else you buy. Certainly, high-tech sort of things like we’re talking about.

    Big players would like to squeeze out little ones. Yeah. They would. As with the above, why are you concerned? The Genie is out of the bottle and the concept of manmade diamonds isn't going away. There will probably be changes in exactly who is selling them and I expect t see some big companies emerge the way they have in say, phones, but why is this a problem?
     
  8. jeaniefish
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    by jeaniefish » Jun 3, 2019
    Hi denverappraiser,
    I'm not sure if it's me you are asking "...why does the possibility of this bother you?" but I will reply anyway. I don't believe that anyone wants to overpay for a purchase of any kind, whether it be diamonds or bath towels. At least, I certainly don't. I'm just concerned that (as I stated above) the big boys in the earth mined diamond business are going to sell their MMD at much lower prices ( as in the $800/carat Lightbox diamonds) and force the MMD sellers to drop their prices or quit selling them altogether. I'm sure that scenario would make the diamond cartel very happy. That may take awhile to happen ,but if it does, then the MMD I bought recently will be worth just about nothing at $800/carat. That does indeed make me nervous! Perhaps I'll just continue to wear and love my earth mined colored gemstones and wait to see what happens with the MMD prices. I am not a gambler by nature and I don't have deep pockets that allow me to make expensive mistakes with jewelry purchases.:oops2:
     
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  9. joelly
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    by joelly » Jun 3, 2019
    I have “trade” next to mine but I’m not in trade nor do I check the box :confused:
     
  10. denverappraiser
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    by denverappraiser » Jun 3, 2019
    Hi Jean,

    Yes, I was responding to you.

    I’m not trying to be confrontational, I’m genuinely curious. If someone makes a widget, and then someone else makes a competitive one that’s cheaper, usually that’s counted as good news for widget customers. It’s possibly a problem for the original maker unless they can convince people that theirs is better, but fundamentally that’s the way it goes. Compete or die. If a particular synthetic diamond cost $1000 one day, and $800 the next because a new competitor has appeared and they need to lower prices to keep their customers, I truly don’t see a problem, at least not for the consumers. If it gets even cheaper a month later and then that first competitor goes down too, I’m ok with that.

    I don’t disagree that DeBeers may have a hidden agenda with Lightbox, and it may spell trouble for competitors going up against them, but I don’t see how it’s a consumer problem. In the end, they can’t succeed in eliminating the category. That NEVER works. Selling things at less than cost and trying to make up on volume is a fool’s errand. If they’re making money and market share at it by setting a price point that others can’t match, which is what they claim, by the way, isn’t that the heart of competition?

    The comparison to natural diamonds strikes me as unrelated. I agree, natural diamonds are a miracle of nature and are lovely in their own right. The price of factory alternatives doesn’t change that at all. Yes, there are other mined gemstones that are also lovely, many of which have synthetic substitutes that are available for far less money. I love natural gems too.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
    


    


  11. jeaniefish
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    by jeaniefish » Jun 3, 2019
    Thanks for your input and your expertise , denverappraiser. If I don't compare MMD to earth mined , I'm puzzled as to what other substance I would compare them? They are marketed as real diamonds, just made in a lab instead of dug up out of the earth. I think that I have found a very nice EC MMD (which I asked about in it's own thread ). I just don't know if I want to be one of the buyers who jumps in now and purchases a MMD , only to find that I could have bought a comparable one two years from now for half the price or even less. I will have to give this further consideration. Thanks again for your responses.:roll2:
    J.
     
  12. denverappraiser
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    by denverappraiser » Jun 3, 2019
    Other synthetic diamonds. They aren't hard to find.

    I agree that the marketers wish you to make the comparison with natural, but it's not necessary to follow their advice. That's true of pretty much all shopping. You mention the possibility of a hidden DeBeers agenda but not the growers? It's equally clear, and they clearly are NOT the same things. You (and they) may not value the differences, but other people do. They are as different as organic chickens and fair trade coffee are from their more generic equivalents. They're as different as antiques and reproductions. As different as Kosher is from not. They're as different as your other gemstones are from their synthetic equivalents. I"ve got no bone to pick with synthetics, it's super cool technology and I personally own one, but there's a lot of disingenuous marketing that goes into them.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
  13. denverappraiser
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    by denverappraiser » Jun 3, 2019
    The dropping value point features heavily in the marketing of mined diamonds as well, and although you didn't mention if that batch of marketers influenced you, I do think it's possible. I count them as disingenuous as well. I'm an equal opportunity cynic on this.
     
  14. OoohShiny
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    by OoohShiny » Jun 3, 2019
    I that case you need to follow the instructions in my box but just uncheck the box ;-) :razz:
     
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  15. OoohShiny
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    by OoohShiny » Jun 3, 2019
    Re: diamonds as a store of value (or 'investment' as some people market them...) the boom and bust of D IF stones in the early 80s (I think?) is a sign that, as with everything in this world, supply and demand and also perception are key aspects of pricing in the market.

    Mined diamonds might sell for 10 to 80% of their original value if one needs to sell for any reason, depending on how quickly one needs to sell them and what the market demand is, so while MMDs might (I say 'might' because the secondhand market is still in its infancy and it's all a bit unknown) be more likely to sell at the lower end of that scale, one still cannot guarantee to get anywhere near what was originally paid for a stone (either Mined or MMD) unless one has gone with a PS-recommended seller who has excellent trade-up and buy-back policies.

    I totally get the fear that one might buy now but be able to get something considerably larger / higher spec in a year or two for the same budget, but that is the nature of a new market! Personally speaking I am waiting to see what happens, but then that has more to do with my current lack of budget than anything else... :lol:

    I think one has to approach MMD buying with the mindset that any money spent is totally a sunk cost and will never be recoverable - in a way it's kind of like committing fully to a course of action (like getting engaged :) ) with the acceptance that one is being brave and not thinking about 'what if'!
     
    


    


  16. joelly
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    by joelly » Jun 3, 2019
    The box isn’t even checked. Isn’t that weird?
     
  17. joelly
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    by joelly » Jun 3, 2019
    I just notice that the “trade” next to my name is gone. What did you do? Thanks so much!!!!
     
  18. Wink
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    by Wink » Jun 3, 2019
    My guess is one of the moderators fixed the lack of a trade button on Celes Venture's posts and since they were at it, they removed the trade button from yours. It is a good thing to have responsible moderators.

    Wink
     
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  19. joelly
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    by joelly » Jun 4, 2019
    That make sense. Thank you Wink!
     
  20. mrsthirdcharms
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    by mrsthirdcharms » Jun 7, 2019
    Responding to OP. I think that the emerging lab diamond market is a good thing for consumers, and that prices are currently too high. I just purchased a 7/8 carat Lightbox stone and am having it set into a ring. I was pleased with the cut, color, and clarity of the second one I received, after returning the first. I believe that mined diamonds are artificially inflated, and that cultured/ grown/ synthetic/ whatever name you pick, lab created diamonds are a fantastic alternative. It’s really a diamond! It’s so very cool! This brings a classic gemstone to a price point for consumers who don’t want to pay the premium for mined provenance. It’s making it accessible, and putting more control into hands of consumers. I’m really excited to see what the future holds for this technology, and this emerging market.
     
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  21. Matthewgolf34
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    by Matthewgolf34 » Jun 12, 2019
    Do you think the cut of your LB stone is ideal or a step below? Thanks for any input!

    I appreciate your perspective considering you got a better second stone. What is better about the 2nd one compared to the 1st?
     
  22. mrsthirdcharms
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    by mrsthirdcharms » Jun 12, 2019
    252F41A2-F1C3-4048-99BE-A8711C582A5B.jpeg
    It’s not an ideal cut. The second one I received was better than the first. I did fill out a satisfaction survey & gave them feedback on the return, but have no idea if that had anything to do with the quality of the second stone I ordered. I think it’s random.

    Here’s an article about GIA grading for some sample LB stones. Their samples rendered “excellent” and “ very good” cut grades, with G color. I think that’s pretty good for the price point.

    https://www.gia.edu/gia-news-research/inside-debeers-lightbox-diamonds

    Here’s a photo of the first pendant I got, which was returned. First pic is next to an F1 moissanite in the ring. I don’t have any pictures of the second LB diamond. It’s being set right now. I’ll post some pictures of the finished ring once I get it.

    BBFB579F-EE05-4477-BD82-B63367D591DC.jpeg
     
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  23. Matthewgolf34
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    by Matthewgolf34 » Jun 13, 2019
    Thanks so much for the reply. It's absolutely great for the price point.

    Isn't excellent on the GIA scale the best it can be? So it is "ideal" cut as other outlets would report it.

    Best of luck with your ring creation!
     
  24. mrsthirdcharms
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    by mrsthirdcharms » Jun 13, 2019
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    Here’s the GIA scale. From what I’ve read, they grade much more strictly on this scale than IGI or some of the others. The article also says that the clarity is VVS2, before the logo is considered. Excellent is the best it can be, cut wise.

    DeBeers is definitely trying to market them as costume jewelry. The settings aren’t great. But in my mind, and I’m guessing many, many other people’s, a diamond is a diamond is a diamond. I’m not going to be looking at it every day through a loupe. I’m not planning on selling it, and I think it’s a fools errand to buy one with that in mind. Earth mined diamonds are very difficult to resell on the secondary market, speaking from my own personal experience, and looking at all the listings on sites like I do now I don’t. Good luck with that.

    Personally, I’m looking for the real thing (molecularly speaking), with the most bang for my buck. Right now, by design, I think it’s LB.
     
  25. Venzen007
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    by Venzen007 » Jun 15, 2019
    Isn't the biggest marketed factor behind the value of diamonds their supposed rarity? The rarer the color, clarity, carat, etc., the more valuable the diamond.

    In the case of lab grown diamonds, we have a situation where that source of diamonds is never-ending. The size, color, clarity (and quanity) of those diamonds limited only by ever-improving technology. As time goes by, lab diamonds will only get easier to make in quality AND quantity. They should, as a rule, then, become less valuable.

    Meanwhile, natural diamonds should continue to follow the reverse course. Yes, as more diamonds are mined, more natural diamonds will be added to the market, but the rarity of color, clarity, and carat of those diamonds will continue, which will not necessarily be the case for lab grown.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019
  26. mrsthirdcharms
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    by mrsthirdcharms » Jun 17, 2019
    I understand and appreciate that argument. I think that the industry is having a hard time right now figuring out how to market human created diamonds. The problem, if it is one, is that technology has advanced to create a way to produce actual diamond rough. Not a simulant that looks like diamond, it actually is diamond, and jewelers require sophisticated equipment to tell these apart from mined diamonds. Consumers will not be able to tell. The FCC declared that lab diamond is diamond, without any qualifiers like “synthetic”, which carries negative connotations. Synthetic nylons are not silk. Lab diamond is really a diamond.

    Sure, there are a finite amount of mined diamonds in the earth. Considering the huge amount of external environmental costs to extract them, why not leave them where they are? Just like the vast amounts of natural gas, oil, and coal reserves that will do far more damage to our climate, and further destabilize human civilization if extracted and burned. Now that we have an alternative way to create diamond at *less* cost and harm to the environment, how is this not a good thing?

    I understand that there will always be a market for luxury goods, and that the emotional appeal of having a “natural” diamond will always have provenance among certain social circles. However, the younger generations, millennials, Gen Y & Z, are very acutely attuned to environmental concerns. They also want the things that their parents and grandparents have wanted. These young people have less economic opportunity, more debt, and they want added value in their purchases. They research things before they buy, and have grown up embedded with technology. For a large majority of them, I do not think that having an identical diamond that came “out of the ground” at great environmental and monetary cost is going to be an ethical choice for them, when they can choose a chemically identical, optically superior stone grow in a lab for a fraction of the price. Lots of older folks agree with this, too. Just my two cents.
     
  27. Venzen007
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    by Venzen007 » Jun 18, 2019
    I see the apparent allure in what you've said. However, why did us common folks start buying diamonds to start with? There may be wide variations of answers to that question, but a big part of those answers should be because they, in addition to being pretty to wear, had rarity and, thus, value. They represented something special, something limited, something that, frankly, especially in terms of engagement rings, was a big financial commitment, and thus, the gift of one represented a big commitment to a relationship.

    Man-made diamonds create a situation where, as technology improves, the availability, in terms of size and quality, will increase over time. A $10,000 man made diamond today reflects, in part, the cost to create it. Ten years from now, that same diamond will be worth pennies on the dollar, if that, because the expense required to create it will be substantially less. The situation, then, is one where what you buy today, I can buy tomorrow for pennies on the dollar. In terms of symbolism, what does that represent? The symbolism is gone. The value is gone. The only thing left is the sparkle.

    Why is a Honus Wagner baseball card worth upwards of 1 million dollars? I can imagine a situation where a laboratory could replicate the lithography, the paper, and the ink, down to the chemical composition of each, and create as many Honus Wagner cards as they wanted, identical to those original handful that still exist today, only these new cards would be "optically" superior because they'd be new. Would any aspect of what makes an original card worth 1 million dollars translate over to these new cards, despite them being identical in every way but age? I'd suggest not. The quality that made it special is not present in the clones. Likewise, the quality that makes diamonds special (in non-industrial uses) is not present in the man-made version.

    You say the younger generations still want what their parents and grandparents wanted. I'd say that if those generations think that a man-made diamond stands one-to-one in the place of the diamonds of their parents and grandparents, they're confusing what made those diamonds special. It certainly wasn't the structure of the carbon atoms.

    Other than for novelty or industrial purposes, I can see no reason to buy diamond once you take away its rarity and history.
     
  28. sparklynurse
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    by sparklynurse » Jun 18, 2019
    Meh. Mined diamonds are not actually rare or special in any way. I have three adult sons and none of them are interested in proposing with a mined diamond. They are all professionals so it's not a money thing. For them and their friends, it's an ethical and environmental thing.
     
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  29. mrsthirdcharms
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    by mrsthirdcharms » Jun 18, 2019
    I’m just not that enamored with mined diamonds. In reality, they aren’t really rare. Their resale value is terrible compared to the artificially inflated retail price.

    The diamond engagement ring is a cultural construction. It’s symbolic, meant to be just expensive enough to cause the prospective groom some financial pain. It’s supposed to be at some agreed upon price point that shows the woman that he’s serious about her, willing to save (and thus provide), and sacrifice for her. Lots of people choose to spend their money on other things, or manifest their commitment with different symbols.

    As I said, I think that plenty of people will still want mined diamond, and there will be a market for them as luxury goods.

    There are also plenty of people who like diamond, think that lab diamond is very cool, and are thrilled that they are becoming more available and affordable. More sparkle for everyone, without expending stupid amounts of fossil fuels to dig them out of the ground, displacing a ton of earth for each 1/4 carat of gem quality cut stone.
     
  30. Venzen007
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    by Venzen007 » Jun 18, 2019
    @sparklynurse , out of curiosity, what are they considering proposing with: lab diamonds, simulant diamonds, or eschewing the whole idea of gifting diamond-ish rings generally? If it's really an ethical/environmental thing, I'd expect it to be the latter, because walking around with a diamond-looking anything just supports the diamond industry by propagating the diamond image. It would be like refusing to wear Nikes because of their employment practices, but still wearing their knock-offs because you liked the look.

    @mrsthirdcharms , you and @sparklynurse are, of course, technically correct when you say "diamonds" aren't really that rare, but we're not talking about diamonds in such a general sense. Gem quality diamonds, and even more so, gem quality diamonds of significant size, color, clarity, etc., are, in fact, rare.

    That said, I certainly agree that consumer prices are ridiculous. The mark-up on diamonds is equally so. And while it's likely true that what you pay is not what you can turn around a sell it for, they will, assuming you buy high color, clarity, and well-cut stones, retain a significant portion of their value due to the collective rarity of those characteristics.

    But, to each there own. I'm just trying to understand. For me, spending thousands of dollars could only make sense with earth-grown diamonds, and just barely, even then.
     
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