One of the world’s most popular types of rough diamonds has plunged into a pricing free fall, as an increasing number of Americans choose engagement rings made from lab-grown stones instead.
Diamond demand across the board has weakened after the pandemic, as consumers splash out again on travel and experiences, while economic headwinds eat into luxury spending. However, the kinds of stones that go into the cheaper one- or two-carat solitaire bridal rings popular in the US have experienced far sharper price drops than the rest of the market.
The reason, according to industry insiders, is soaring demand for lab-grown stones. The synthetic diamond industry has paid special attention to this category, where consumers are especially price sensitive, and the efforts are now paying off in the world’s biggest diamond buyer.
The shift doesn’t mean engagement rings are about to go on deep discount — the impact is limited to the rough-diamond market, an opaque world of miners, merchants and tradespeople that is several steps removed from the price tags in a jewelry store.
So here's what I want to know - does anyone know someone who makes lab-grown diamonds as a job? I'd like to think I know a fair number of chemists and engineers, but I've yet to hear of anyone (actually, I seem to recall someone claiming there was a facility in my town...) Anyone know anything? I'd love to hear it.