Responding to the announcement of De Beers launching its own brand of synthetic diamond jewellery, the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) said it expects that with the introduction of branded, synthetic diamonds, De Beers will drive clear differentiation and categorisation in the diamond product category amongst the consumers.
In a press statement, the GJEPC added that synthetic or laboratory-grown diamonds are a completely different product and can't be compared to natural diamonds which derive their value from being natural, precious and rare. A natural diamond stands for the most precious emotions and is a luxury product with a timeless appeal.
The GJEPC said that the De Beers move would also position natural diamonds as being unique, premium and luxury.
The GJEPC statement went on to note that synthetic diamonds are not new as far as De Beers is concerned. This technology has existed with De Beers through its subsidiary Element Six, which has been conducting research into and producing synthetic diamonds for over 40 years.
The GJEPC felt that the introduction of the lab-created diamond jewellery by Lightbox will position synthetics appropriately — as ‘non-precious accessories’ — which is a small and distinct market. Branded synthetic diamonds have been used in non precious jewellery by brands such as Swarovski and are sold as a non-precious fashion product.
The GJEPC statement observed that the Indian diamond industry believes that the De Beers move will have no impact on the demand, appeal and value of natural diamonds. The strength of the Indian industry has been built on the natural diamond industry and 90 percent of the world's diamonds are polished in India, while substantial value of precious jewellery is also manufactured in the country.
“Today we are the key hub in the diamond industry,” the GJEPC statement said, adding, “this is a very strong and vibrant industry with very large players with deep capabilities and a global presence. We enjoy the confidence of the topmost jewellery retailers across the world who come to India to source diamonds and jewellery.”
Synthetic diamonds have been around for a long time and they have had no impact on the industry, the statement said, adding that the current production of synthetic diamonds was estimated at being only 2 percent of global natural diamond production.
The statement also noted that the Indian industry has also been very proactive in preventing any illicit mixing of synthetics with natural diamonds and players in the industry have protocols and processes in place to prevent this. “Our customers are aware of the measures the Indian diamond trade has undertaken to ensure both customer and consumer confidence. The industry is on a very sound platform to capitalise on the growing disposable income across the world,” the statement noted.
The statement concluded with a call for diamond mining companies to invest more in promoting natural diamonds and stated that the Indian industry believes that De Beers, Alrosa, Rio Tinto and other miners will continue to put more resources into marketing its unique and rare product.