IS THE INDIAN CONSUMER READY FOR LABORATORY DIAMONDS?

The Indian consumer is ready for LGD as it is an eco-friendly, conflict-free product that looks and feels the same as a mined diamond but is also available at an attractive price! A lot of our natural customers have converted to lab products and my business is pretty much 100% lab grown now. There’s enough demand for me to make it an independent business. – SHIVIKA POONGLIA PATEL Partner, Itara JewelryLab-grown diamonds (LGDs) are slowly but steadily making their way into retail stores, but are Indian consumers ready to wholeheartedly accept LGDs and treat them the same as mined diamonds? Kamakshi VF strives to find answers

Laboratory grown diamonds (LGDs) are slowly entering the Indian market, but it remains to be seen whether Indian consumers are ready to accept them as real diamonds. Globally, they have been widely accepted, especially in the United States. However, here in India, things have not been so easy for LGDs.

LGDs were introduced in India in 2004 and have changed from yellow to clear white stones and are now available in all fancy colors. According to the GJEPC, India accounts for around 15% of global LGD production; exports of lab-cut diamonds totaled $1.3 billion this year, nearly double the $636.25 million in fiscal 2020-21. In the domestic market, the main buyers are the space, research and industrial equipment sectors, with jewelry manufacturers accounting for only around 2% of the cake.

According to a WiseGuy survey report, globally, the LGD jewelry market is growing at the rate of 28% per year, while the LGD segment of the Indian gemstone and jewelry industry is growing at the rate of 105% per year. The GJEPC estimated that the LGD segment has the potential to grow up to Rs 40,000 crore, from the current Rs 10,000 crore over the next five years.



HOW READY IS THE INDIAN CONSUMER?
LGDs came to India in 2004 when Fiona Diamonds was founded. The company started its LGD business in 2007 and opened its first outlet in 2013 in Mumbai. Parag Agarwal, Founder and CEO of Fiona Diamonds, says from his experience “Indian consumer is not yet aware of LGDs, so acceptance will come after awareness”. Ishu Datwani, Founder, Anmol Jewelers, describes the consumer psyche

when he said, “In my opinion, people who prefer real diamonds prefer them for their rarity and timelessness. The real is rare, therefore precious. This segment is going to stick with real diamonds because they will not consider LGDs to be real diamonds. However, there is also a segment that will buy LGDs. This category is the one who wants to enjoy wearing diamonds but has neither the taste nor the budget for real diamonds. The value of LGDs has depreciated over the past five to seven years, while real diamonds have always gradually appreciated. The two categories cater to two different markets. When it comes to Anmol, we believe the real one is rare and will always cater to consumers of real diamonds. If one had to make a comparison, it is as if some consumers would only buy real, original and authentic high-end branded bags and others who would buy the first copies. According to Shivika Poonglia Patel of Itara Jewelry, Mumbai, “The educated Indian consumer is evolving and is on par with the Western consumer in this regard. So certainly they are looking for newer products that are more in line with environmental concerns and price points. Millennial consumers are aware and aware of their purchase like never before, and have reached a point where decisions are based on modern global values ​​of environmental adequacy and cost-effectiveness. The Indian consumer is ready for LGD because it is an eco-friendly and conflict-free product that looks and feels the same as a mined diamond but is also available at an attractive price.

Sarah C. Figueiredo