Consumers Saw Lightbox. Here’s What They Wanted to Know

MajorsNov 29, 2018

Consumers Saw Lightbox. Here’s What They Wanted to Know

At a pop-up shop in New York, De Beers is giving the public the chance to see its lab-grown line in person for the first time.

Lightbox, the lab-grown diamond line from De Beers that began selling online in September, opened its pop-up shop Monday at the Oculus, the transit hub at the rebuilt World Trade Center site in New York. The pop-up will be in place through Sunday.

New York—De Beers used to spread the message that “A Diamond Is Forever” around Grand Central Station at holiday time, appealing to the 750,000+ commuters crisscrossing the classic transit hub every day.

This year, the diamond miner and marketer is at it again, but now its promoting lab-grown diamonds at the Oculus, the two-year-old, ultra-modern transit hub at the site of the rebuilt World Trade Center.

Call it a sign of the times.

Back in September De Beers launched Lightbox, a line of moderately priced (the most expensive pieces on the site, 1-carat diamonds set in 10-karat gold, are $1,000) fashion jewelry set with man-made diamonds grown by its Element Six arm in the United Kingdom.

The line is fairly limited at this point—just blue, pink and white lab-grown diamonds set in either pendants or earrings, with blue and pink studs the runaway successes so far, said Lightbox Head of Marketing Sally Morrison.

It is sold online only, which means consumers haven’t had a chance to see, touch and feel it—until this week.

On Monday, Lightbox opened a pop-up shop at the Oculus, and this editor popped by Tuesday afternoon around 3:30, shortly before evening rush hour was in full effect, and lingered until a little after 5.

What became apparent in that time is this: Consumers are drawn in when they see something sparkly.

There was a constant stream of people in and out of the 20’ x 20’ structure the entire time.

But they don’t know as much about lab-grown diamonds as many in the trade might think, and there is confusion about how man-made diamonds differ from simulants.

“I’m intrigued. I’ve never heard of this before,” one woman wearing natural diamond stud earrings said as she entered the Lightbox space.

After the product and pricing was explained to her—it starts at $200 for a quarter carat and goes up to $800 for 1 carat, plus the cost of the setting—she seemed to like the idea, noting that lab-grown diamonds are “an accessible way to be able to give people a diamond.”

Multiple customers asked about the difference between lab-grown diamonds and CZ, and between the stones and another diamond simulant, moissanite, echoing the comments consumers made when National Jeweler conducted an informal poll on lab-grown diamonds four years ago.

There were also a lot of questions about how the quality of lab-grown diamonds compare

to mined diamonds. (De Beers is not grading its lab-grown diamonds because the stones are “created to uniform specifications” and so reports “have no bearing on either the product’s rarity or value,” it has said.)

“There’s a lot of education to do, not just about our product but the category in general,” Morrison said Tuesday afternoon in an interview at the Lightbox booth. “There’s a lot of confusion.”

De Beers’ Lightbox line is being introduced with blue, pink and white man-made diamond pendants and earrings in silver or 10-karat white or rose gold. Prices range from $200 for a quarter carat to $800 for 1 carat, plus the cost of the setting.

Morrison and her team—many of whom were clad in on-brand blue and pink sweaters—are learning that first-hand while manning the pop-up, which is set to remain open through Sunday.

Like the Blue Nile “webrooms,” the Lightbox pop-up is not selling the product it’s showing; customers cannot walk out with a little box of jewelry in their hands.

They can, however, order jewelry from an iPad set up in the left-front corner of the pop-up, or shop on the brand’s website after they leave.

A camera is mounted on the back of the Lightbox pop-up so passers-by can see themselves on the big screen. It also is lined with benches where commuters can take a rest and even charge their phones.

De Beers announced just before the Las Vegas jewelry trade shows it would begin selling lab-grown diamonds, sparking a flurry of commentary in the industry.

Some applauded the move, claiming that the current crop of companies selling man-made diamonds are overcharging and De Beers’ pricing model would serve as a regulator.

Some existing sellers of lab-grown diamonds accused De Beers of predatory pricing, while retailers worried how Lightbox would impact sales of lower-end diamond fashion jewelry in their stores and bemoaned the addition of another supplier selling direct to the public.
RELATED CONTENT: Is De Beers’ Lab-Grown Line a Fit for Signet?
The company has said it will make Lightbox available to brick-and-mortar jewelers in the future.

Morrison said Tuesday a brick-and-mortar test run is planned for 2019, though De Beers has not yet decided which retailers will carry the line.

In the meantime, the man-made diamonds continue to move online and Morrison is not ruling out the possibility of another pop-up.

She said that selling online and having this physical space is teaching them a lot about what consumers do, and don’t, like about the product.

“I think it’ll be better to go into brick-and-mortar (stores) when we know more about the customer and the response to the product,” she said.
Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

The Latest

Pantone color of the year 2024
TrendsDec 08, 2023
Pantone’s Color of the Year Is Warm and Fuzzy

The peachy hue also marks the program’s 25th anniversary.

Mary Tyler Moore and Elsa Peretti for Tiffany & Co. Bone Cuffs
AuctionsDec 08, 2023
Sotheby’s Sold All Mary Tyler Moore’s Jewelry

The 21 pieces up for auction, including Tiffany & Co. jewels and a Cartier watch, garnered more than $430,000 across two sales.

Inesa Kovalova’s Links pin
CollectionsDec 08, 2023
Piece of the Week: A ‘Strong & Precious’ Brooch

Centered on a sunny heliodor, the “Links” pin was designed by Ukrainian jewelry artist Inesa Kovalova.

De Beers | Diamonds Falling
Brought to you by
The Most Important “C” in Diamonds: Confidence!

Without the ability to instill confidence within the industry and directly to the consumer, a diamond holds very little value.

Rough diamonds from Alrosa
Policies & IssuesDec 07, 2023
The G7’s Long-Awaited Statement on Russian Diamonds Is Here

It provides a timeline for the implementation of new restrictions, but no details.

Weekly QuizDec 07, 2023
This Week’s Quiz
Test your jewelry news knowledge with this short test.
Take the Quiz
National Jeweler columnist Sherry Smith
ColumnistsDec 06, 2023
On Data: How Are Independents Doing So Far This Holiday Season?

Sherry Smith breaks down the numbers on jewelry sales in November and reveals the category that “emerged as a standout.”

133 carat yellow diamond
AuctionsDec 06, 2023
A Yellow Diamond, Hollywood Jewels Stand Out at Sotheby’s

Additional lots will be offered in the Fine Jewels online sale through Dec. 7.

Platinum  Guild International Diamond Rings
Brought to you by
If It’s Custom, Make It Platinum

With holiday proposals right around the corner, encourage your customers to go for platinum when making the big purchase.

GIA logo
GradingDec 06, 2023
GIA Debuts Revamped Graduate Jeweler Program

By mixing creative and practical skills, the new course hopes to fill the industry’s bench jeweler gap.

A 1930s gem-set and enamel ‘Maltese cross’ cuff attributed to Verdura for Chanel (left) and a loose cushion-cut Burmese sapphire weighing 11.87 carats (right) were the top lots in Bonhams New York Jewels auction this week.
AuctionsDec 06, 2023
Verdura Cuff, Burmese Sapphire Shine at Bonhams

Several other colored gemstones joined the pieces in the top 10 list.

Neil Lane lab-grown diamond engagement ring
FinancialsDec 05, 2023
Signet Jewelers’ Q3 Sales Down 12%

The retailer is still expecting a strong holiday season with improving demand for natural diamonds.

Memorial for slain jeweler Peter Damian Arguello in Wheat Ridge, Colorado
CrimeDec 05, 2023
Police Continue to Investigate Murder of Colorado Jeweler

Peter Damian Arguello, the owner of Peter Damian Fine Jewelry & Antiques, was shot and killed in an apparent robbery last week.

Tanishq store
MajorsDec 05, 2023
Tanishq Continues U.S. Expansion With 2 New Stores

The Indian jewelry giant has opened locations in Houston and Frisco, Texas.

Grandview Klein Diamonds Namibia scholarship winners
SourcingDec 05, 2023
Grandview Klein Awards Two Scholarships in Namibia

Each student was provided with the full amount of tuition for the Namibia University of Science & Technology.

De Beers Ryan Perry and David Prager
SourcingDec 04, 2023
David Prager To Leave De Beers in 2024

Ryan Perry, who has been with De Beers since 2002, also will be leaving the company next year.

Chrono24 ChronoPulse
WatchesDec 04, 2023
Chrono24 Debuts the ‘Dow Jones’ for Luxury Watches

The watch seller’s new index tracks sales data from 14 brands, including Rolex and Patek Philippe.

David Bouffard Signet Jewelers
MajorsDec 04, 2023
David Bouffard to Leave Signet, RJC

The industry veteran will step down from both roles in April 2024.

David Webb turquoise and lapis ring
TrendsDec 04, 2023
Amanda’s Style File: Decadent December

Tanzanite, turquoise, and zircon are all options for December babies, who sometimes “get the birthday shaft,” Amanda Gizzi writes.

Lightbox x Roséate Light Wand pendants
Lab-GrownDec 01, 2023
Lightbox Teams Up With Brand Founded by Former Tiffany Exec

The lab-grown diamond brand also collaborated with the website The Future Rocks on a collection launching today.

Lila Moss Calvin Klein campaign
FinancialsDec 01, 2023
Movado Lowers Guidance Again After Q3 Sales Dip

The company said it is facing a “challenging retail environment” but is prepared for the holiday season.

Muzo emerald and argyle pink diamond necklace
CollectionsDec 01, 2023
Piece of the Week: Muzo’s Emerald and Argyle Pink Diamond Necklace

It’s the hero piece of the newest "Green Jewel" collection, a collaborative offering from the two mines.

Pink Supreme Diamond
AuctionsNov 30, 2023
This Pink Diamond Reigned Supreme in Hong Kong

The 15.48-carat fancy intense “Pink Supreme” topped Christie’s fall jewelry auction in Asia, while a Patek Philippe led the watch sale.

Claire’s CFO COO Chris Cramer
MajorsNov 30, 2023
Claire’s Hires Former Bath & Body Works Exec as CFO, COO

Chris Cramer, who also spent time at Gen Z intimates brand Parade, will take on the dual role.

133 carat yellow diamond
AuctionsNov 30, 2023
Sotheby’s To Auction 133-Carat Yellow Diamond

The stone headlining the upcoming sale could fetch up to $5 million.

Kwiat diamonds
IndependentsNov 30, 2023
Frank Adams Rolls Out Kwiat’s ‘Mine to Shine’ Program

The retail offering lets customers track their diamond’s journey.

Diamond development hub in Angola
SourcingNov 29, 2023
Largest New Diamond Mine of the Decade Coming Online in Angola

The Luele mine is expected to eventually make the country the world’s third-largest diamond producer.

Holiday shoppers holding bags
SurveysNov 29, 2023
Holiday Shoppers Broke a Record This Weekend, Says NRF

From Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, 200.4 million consumers shopped online and in stores.


This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy