I remember when Wired Magazine boldly proclaimed the emergence of “The New Diamond Age” back in September of 2003. The article seemed to give the diamond industry a good shake, right down to the foundation of De Beers which it is built upon, but not for the reason you probably think…
Many of my friends in the diamond industry were bombarded by email messages and telephone calls from their clients, asking whether the natural diamonds which they had purchased were still worth what they had paid for them, whether the market price of natural diamonds was going to be affected by the introduction of lab grown diamonds, etc.
Reports that the demand for lab grown diamonds were going to replace the demand for natural diamonds, because they are supposedly cheaper to produce, as stable as natural diamonds, as beautiful as natural diamonds, etc., seem to have been little more than speculation which was grossly exaggerated by the media.
Lab grown gems are nothing new to the diamond and colored gem industry, the fact of the matter is that Chatham has been producing colored gems such as emeralds, rubies, and sapphires for years. The colored gems are beautiful, but the demand for them has never really taken off to the extent that any of my friends in the colored gems business seems concerned by them.
And frankly there were the same speculations that lab grown colored gems were going to surpass the demand for natural gems when they were first introduced as well, but it seems that the public recognizes that there is just something magical about a natural gem stone. Whether it is a white diamond or a colored gem, nothing says I love you like lab created… Whoops! I totally intended to say “natural” I really, really did! I swear on a bag of peanut M&M’s or any other kind of candy that I hold in high esteem.
One of the industry leaders in the production of lab grown diamonds was a company called Apollo Diamonds, which was acquired by Scio Diamonds in 2011. According to this financial report, they managed to sell $172,000.00 worth of product, which cost them $425,000.00 to produce. When other expenses were factored into the equation, Scio is operating at a loss of $877,000.00 which begs me to answer the question: “If lab grown diamonds are so inexpensive to produce, and the demand for them is going to surpass the demand for natural diamonds, where are the profits?” And why wasn’t Apollo Diamonds successful to begin with?
But truth be told, I’m not really interested in all that financial stuff, at the end of the day it’s all about the diamond engagement ring for me, and don’t even think twice about getting down on one knee and proposing to me with a lab grown synthetic diamond! Lab grown diamonds, they’re kind of like veggie burgers made out of hydrolyzed soy protein. This girl wants to know “Where’s the Beef?”