Authorization

De Beers to sell jewellery made from synthetic diamonds for first time

For years diamond giant De Beers championed the purity and rareness of natural gemstones, warning of the dangers posed by lab-grown products that seek to pass themselves off as the real thing. Now the company has decided that if synthetics can’t be beaten, it must join them - by announcing a new venture that will sell artificial diamond jewellery.
De Beers will plough $94m (?71m) into new production facilities in the US to support Lightbox, which will sell earrings and necklaces made with lab-grown diamonds at “straightforward” and “affordable” prices.
Its synthetic diamonds will retail from $200 for a quarter-carat stone up to $800 for a carat, and will come in pink and blue as well as the more traditional white.
Bruce Cleaver, chief executive of De Beers, which is owned by FTSE 100 miner Anglo American, said the company saw “an opportunity here that’s been missed by lab-grown diamond producers” to create a “fun, pretty product that shouldn’t cost that much”.
Each diamond will be laser-inscribed internally with the Lightbox logo to assure shoppers it is part of the official range. The laser-etching technology has been developed by Oxford University spin-out Opsydia, which can make marks one-fiftieth the size of a human hair.
De Beers to sell jewellery made from synthetic diamonds for first time

De Beers has long been an industry leader in synthetic diamonds through its Element Six division
Etching the logos inside the diamonds means they cannot be polished off the surface. Opsydia, which is still part-owned by the university, raised ?1.9m in funding to develop the technology.
Synthetic diamonds take just days to make and are chemically identical to the natural kind, which by contrast are forged over millions of years in “kimberlite” pipes in the earth’s crust.
De Beers has long marketed its diamonds on their emotional appeal, recently backing a campaign with the slogan “real is rare” to emphasize that natural stones hold a value that the lab-grown equivalents do not have.
But consumer interest in synthetics has grown as younger shoppers consider the ethical implications of mining and question the industry's ability to guarantee the provenance of diamonds. Leonardo Dicaprio is a high-profile backer of a synthetic diamond producer in California.
War on blood diamond trade loses its lustre in age of digital smuggling
Despite its reservations, De Beers has long been an industry leader in synthetic diamonds through its Element Six division, which produces lab-grown diamonds for drill bits in the oil and gas industry.
E6 will manufacture the synthetic stones for Lightbox from a new factory in Portland, Oregon, which will eventually be able to turn out 500,000 carats a year.
Lightbox jewellery will be available to US customers initially via an ecommerce site.
See also:
Leave a comment
News
  • Latest
  • Read
  • Commented
Calendar Content
«    Сентябрь 2018    »
ПнВтСрЧтПтСбВс
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930