Natural Diamonds versus Laboratory Grown
Trying to be objective when discussing this hotly contested topic in the Jewelry industry is tricky to do so. Which is why it might help to write this as a conversation to myself which you can listen in on.
Off the bat I would like to say that while we at Gemrize DO NOT trade in Laboratory Grown Diamonds or other Gemstones. We are not militantly anti Lab grown diamonds as we have found several of our peers becoming to the point where they chastise those that deal in Lab grown diamonds – we do not – and some of the most creative jewelry designs are featuring man made diamonds these days. And boy do we love a good jewelry design – because jewelry after all is art you wear.
But let’s develop this interesting point to which I would then like to say the other side of the industry are the jewellers that only deal in Lab grown diamonds as a raw material of choice and in fact look down on those that continue to work with Natural diamonds. Their reasoning for this will be touched upon as we continue.
First though why are some Jewelry companies strongly opposed to Lab grown diamonds?
The answer is simple – there is a certain amount of fear that this arises from and the fear is largely down to how they think this will impact their margins, turnover, sales volumes, ticket numbers and generally the bottom line. They think that if there is a cheaper alternative, which is a debate in itself, then every person will choose a Lab grown diamond over a Natural one. This is such a general argument that the moment they think it they also know is preposterous but for the sake of posturing are committed to their hate for manmade diamonds.
Is a Laboratory Grown Diamond an Alternate to a Natural diamond?
Well if you speak purely chemically and scientifically in general then yes it is – they are identical in their physical properties or at least as far as using them in jewelry is concerned. Both Diamonds need to be cut and polished the same way, are graded against the same parameters and of course they look the same. (Even though some of those militant anti-Lab grown diamond folks will like to say that they sparkle less or look worse, etc.)
But intrinsically they are very different.
Let me draw an analogy to created Emeralds, Sapphires, Rubies and even the highly sought after Alexandrite. Created Alexandrite for example will show some very striking color change which in natural Alexandrite would fetch a price at a factor 100x more. Some of these man made variants for the king of gems – Emeralds – have been around for more than 3 decades. But what has happened to Natural Emeralds in that time – has the industry for a fine Muzo Emerald from the famously depleted Colombian deposits fallen into obscurity. On the contrary.
Same for Rubies and Sapphires.
If anything when I tell even Jewelry professionals about lab grown Sapphires, they ask me when will those be coming out. They don’t even know they have been around for almost 20 years. And with the retail buying base they are also largely unaware that they can get their hands on chemically identical Emeralds that are clean and amazingly vibrant for as much as an expensive bottle of whisky.
Why is this so
Well it is so because of the intrinsic value of what is natural. It occurs throughout all industries, the price of organic vegetables is usually much higher than the actual increased cost to produce them but people still choose them over the much lower price of genetically modified variants. We are largely price inelastic to nature, we love all things natural and with emotions such as love, happiness, nostalgia being associated with Jewelry whether it is giving it, receiving it, making it, wearing it and all the other things you can do to It then our minds and hearts tell us that natural gems be it diamonds or precious stones are more appropriate or even romantic.
The same person might buy a lab created Emerald Ring when they are checking out of Walmart as an impulse buy to match an outfit but that doesn’t mean they will not one day buy a fine piece of jewelry. In the economic sense – you did not lose a jewelry buyer to the Lab Grown camp, someone who will buy a Natural Gemstone will always buy a Natural Gemstone and may also buy a Lab Grown one.
An excellent case in point is when I recently asked a group of male friends who have started to stock Lab grown diamonds and are slowly shifting to exclusively dealing in them, if they would ever give their wives a Lab grown diamond Engagement ring – the answer was unanimous: they were all going to buy their wives Natural Diamond Engagement Rings only. These are businessmen that are now making their livelihood from Lab grown diamonds – but all of them is only going to buy natural diamond engagement rings. Which also bangs the point home – that the two are not really alternates. Because while they might buy their wives an impulse pair of Lab grown diamonds studs, they also said they will also then buy their wives a much smaller pair of natural diamond studs too.
So we see that the value proposition of natural materials is always going to be heavily entrenched in the jewelry industry.
Which is why we have clients ask us, “Is there something even more precious than platinum? I want that”, when you have Tungsten Carbide and other alloys which will be cheaper and more durable you have clients saying make my ring in 24K gold even though they know it is softer.
As I come to an end we would like to add that we prefer not to deal in Lab grown diamonds precisely because it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell them apart and so to keep our product and supply chain uncontaminated (if the use of that word does offend folks from the Lab Grown community – we apologise) we just don’t deal in it.
Jewelers that deal in both are an accident away from shipping out a lab created diamond thinking it is a natural one. And to minimise that mistake is why we have taken the position we have. Not a stance but a functional decision. It also helps our clients know and their clients and so on and so forth.
In addition to this and we know this is the primary reason our Natural only peers might have is as with anything lab created the value of it is nosediving whereby the price of lab created diamonds a year ago was anywhere from 10 to 30% higher and next year will be further discounted. And while we don’t expect our clients to sell their beautiful jewelry designs ever or be something they need to cash in on, when they do find they can get something similar at a much cheaper price in less than 15 months it is not likely to leave a positive taste in their mouth.
On the flip side, natural diamonds and gemstones have only been going up in price and while we don’t use the sales gimmick that diamonds and gemstones are an investment as there are several other asset classes out there that yield better results, they certainly are and always will be cheaper today than the short, medium and distant future.
Giving your only son one of your 0.3 carat Natural Diamond Studs to repurpose into his Engagement Ring to Propose with in 20 years time will be a very dear gesture purely because at that juncture a 0.3 carat Natural Diamond might be much much much more than the average Engagement ring carat weight. And the same will not hold true for even a Lab Grown Diamond 10 times the size or price.
I think by now the reader will understand and hopefully see why we at Gemrize are not worried or concerned about Lab grown diamonds as an alternative to Natural diamonds. Contact us now to get your Natural Diamond Bespoke Jewelry experience with Gemrize