Lab-Grown

Analyst: Fashion Jewelry, Industrial Uses Will Drive Lab-Grown Diamond Demand

Lab-GrownNov 04, 2021

Analyst: Fashion Jewelry, Industrial Uses Will Drive Lab-Grown Diamond Demand

Paul Zimnisky shared his short- and long-term outlook for the market in an updated forecast released last week.

20211104_Lightbox-LGD.jpg
Paul Zimnisky cited the colored lab-grown diamonds Swarovski introduced in 2020 as an example of a major brand positioning the stones for fashion jewelry. Pictured here are three of the 16 colors Swarovski created, clockwise from top, “Disco Ink,” “Electro Arctic,” and “Punk Lipstick.” (© Swarovski)
New York—The long-term growth of the lab-grown diamond market lies in fashion jewelry and industrial applications, one industry analyst said in a forecast released last week.

New York-based diamond industry analyst Paul Zimnisky predicted lab-grown diamonds will constitute 12 percent of the diamond jewelry market by 2025, up from 8 percent in 2021 and 3 percent in 2018, when De Beers shook up the market with the introduction of Lightbox.

(These percentages represent lab-grown diamond value at retail as a percentage of the total polished diamond value at retail, i.e., lab-grown and natural.) 

As the market for man-made diamonds grows, however, it appears to be “stratifying,” Zimnisky said, with producers adopting more specific business strategies rather than focusing on “disrupting” the natural diamond industry.

Some producers are intent on creating branded diamonds grown using more sustainable methods to differentiate their product. 

Others are making diamonds for low-cost fashion jewelry, while some producers have turned their attention to growing diamonds for industrial purposes.

In the long term, the growth of the market is likely to come from this lower-cost fashion diamond jewelry—not from bridal—as well as from diamonds grown for industrial purposes, such as medical equipment, energy storage, or semiconductors. 

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Zimnisky points to Pandora’s “Brilliance” line, which starts at $350 and was introduced to “democratize” diamonds, and Swarovski’s proprietary colored lab-grown diamonds as examples of two major brands going the fashion route.

On the industrial side, he noted the new 10-million-carats-per-year factory the Diamond Foundry—which emerged onto the scene as a major “disruptor” of the natural diamond market—is building in Spain will focus on growing diamonds for the tech market.

Overall, the market for industrial diamonds is just a lot bigger than the market for man-made diamond jewelry, Zimnisky said, and the industrial end user cares far less whether the diamond they have is lab-grown or natural.

“With industrial applications for diamond, the lower-price option will theoretically win out as long as performance is comparable.

“With diamond jewelry, as is the case with luxury more generally, the consumer rational for purchase is not nearly as practical and is often influenced by more intuitive factors, like emotion or an affinity for rarity,” he concluded.

For the full report, visit Zimnisky’s website.

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