Lab-grown diamonds have become so popular with consumers that some couples are asking jewelers to exchange the natural diamond in their rings for a lab-created sparkler.
“Last week, three or four couples who had been married for a few years came to us to upgrade the diamond in the engagement ring,” said Joel Klein, CEO of New York-based Ritani, an online diamond and diamond seller. fine jewelry. jewellery, including engagement rings.
Each couple wanted to replace the natural diamond in their rings with something larger, opting for a lab-created diamond, he said.
“It’s not that we’re seeing a decline in natural diamond business, but that the growth in demand for lab-grown diamonds is super strong,” Klein said.
Ritani, which processed more than 20,000 engagement ring orders last year, sells natural and lab-grown diamonds. The company maintains an inventory of over 300,000 diamonds for sale, one-third of which are lab-grown diamonds. Jewelry made with lab-grown diamonds currently accounts for more than 50% of Ritani’s sales, Klein said.
Several factors are fueling the growing demand for synthetic diamonds, according to industry experts.
Man-made diamonds look exactly the same as natural diamonds – the only difference is the price. Lab-grown diamonds cost significantly less for a much larger stone than a mined diamond of the same size, and they appeal to eco-conscious and ethical sensibilities, especially millennials and Gen Z.
Juliet Gomes, Ritani’s customer service manager, recently helped couples upgrade to a larger lab-grown diamond. “If the original ring has a one carat natural diamond, they are now replacing it with a three or four carat lab option for the same price or less than the original one carat original,” said she declared.
Ritani offers its customers the opportunity to exchange their natural gemstone for credit for the enhanced stone. While some choose to swap their natural diamond for a lab-created diamond, others transform their original stone into another piece of jewelry, such as a pendant, Klein said.
Lindsay Reinsmith, co-founder of San Francisco-based lab-grown diamond jeweler Ada Diamonds, said she, too, frequently sees customers switching from a mined diamond to a lab-grown diamond in their rings.
“Not only is this a common occurrence, but we’re also seeing a significant increase in the number of clients coming to us for a lab-grown diamond and getting married a second time,” she said. “They may have had a diamond mined for their first marriage, but they’re going lab grown for their second.”
Not every customer who upgrades is just focused on upgrading to a larger stone. “They also look at the quality of the lab-grown diamond and want it to have an element of sophistication,” Reinsmith said.
First-time buyers of engagement rings also show a strong preference for lab-grown stones.
Data from July showed the number of engagement rings sold with a manufactured diamond jumped 52% from a year ago. Meanwhile, the number of engagement rings sold with a natural diamond fell by 28% over the same period.
“Consumers want to maximize their budget, they want to spend as much and get a bigger diamond with better color and clarity,” said Edahn Golan, industry analyst and founder of Edahn Golan Diamond Research & Data.
The average total carat weight of a lab-grown diamond for an engagement ring in the United States is 1.42 carats, priced around $3,800. That compares to an average total carat weight of 0.81 carats for a natural diamond, priced at around $4,209, Golan said.
“It’s a significant difference in size that is visible to the eye and for a lesser price,” he said.
In further evidence of the acceptance of man-made diamonds, Pandora, the world’s largest jewelry brand, announced on Tuesday that it will launch lab-created diamond jewelry in the United States and Canada on August 25.
Her 33-piece collection, called Pandora Brilliance, includes rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings featuring a lab-created solitaire diamond set in sterling silver, 14k yellow gold or 14k white gold.
“Lab-created diamonds are just as beautiful as mined diamonds, but available to more people and with less carbon emissions. We are proud to expand the diamond market and offer innovative jewelry that establishes a new normal for how the industry can reduce its impact on the planet,” Pandora CEO Alexander Lacik said in a statement.