Russia’s state-owned diamond miner, ALROSA, announced recently that it had been examining whether to enter the lab-grown diamond sector. That action was met with wonder by many – because, for years, the mined diamond industry has viewed lab-grown diamonds as a warning – instead of a chance.
But Element Six, a De Beers subsidiary, has been composing lab-grown diamonds for several years – albeit just for industrial and technological applications. Last year, there was some describing within the media that Element Six was in conversations with Swarovski to provide the latter company with lab-grown stones for the jewelry industry. The discussions concluded up going nowhere, but it had been another shocking indication that mined diamond companies are eying lab-grown diamonds – and maybe for jewelry uses.
Why would diamond miners be considering such moves?
First, as we discuss frequently at NGD, the availability of diamonds at mining sites is decreasing – with no new major diamond spots on the horizon. Both examiners and diamond miners have reported this fact. With the enlargement of huge consumer markets in countries like India and China, there’s some worry, long-term, about the availability of diamonds for the enhanced demand that’s coming.
Next, diamond miners realize what we at NGD do – the diamond cutting and polishing industry require new supplies of rough gems to cut, to make sure its health and sustainability as an industry.
Finally, diamond miners can see the burst of interest in responsibly sourced diamonds from consumers. Though consumers can now buy diamonds with identifiable birthplace from a responsible mine if they’re willing to pay a premium – the remarkable majority of generic diamonds are still not detectable. That’s mostly because they’re still sold repeatedly before end sale to a consumer, and it’s been essentially impossible for a diamond or diamond jewelry suppliers or retailers to stay record of their origins. If these companies cannot discover where the diamonds were mined, they’re unable to mention with confidence about whether those that mined the diamonds were operated well or exploited. Nor are they ready to declare that the miners approached the land they disrupted in environmentally responsible ways.
Thus lab-grown diamonds offer diamond miners a ready-made product about which they will boast a responsible beginning – without the large challenges of tracking many stones. We welcome our counterparts within the mined diamond world to the category.