When people first started talking about lab grown diamonds as an actual alternative to natural ones, expert jewelers were skeptical – not to say cynical – about the idea. It is clear by now, however, that more and more are opting for this choice, especially among younger generations. But how has this become such a popular trend? Why did people feel the need for a revolution in the diamond industry? We set out on a mission to find out.
What are lab grown diamonds?
Let’s go back to the basics: A lab grown diamond, also called a synthetic diamond, is made up of the exact same element as a natural diamond: a crystalized isotope of carbon. We’re not talking about “fake” diamonds, but rather taking the process of diamond formation and recreating it in a laboratory. Naturally, there is strict supervision on the process, just like in the case of natural diamonds. The price, on the other hand, is lower and a brief examination shows that the difference in cost between the two types of diamonds is growing with time. But why do they seem so attractive to Generation Y? There are two factors that can explain that.
It’s no secret that the diamond industry has been suffering from a bad reputation ever since we can remember ourselves. People know what a blood diamond is before they know about different cuts, colors and clarity levels. This just proves that millennials, despite what is said about them, are very socially aware and not afraid to speak their minds. On the other hand, a better understanding of the situation shows that it’s more complex than what we think.
The profit from blood diamonds, being mined in certain war-torn countries of Africa, are suspected to be funding war crimes and human rights violations. The world, and especially the diamond industry, do try to fight this shameful phenomenon. The Kimberley Process is an official stamp given to diamonds not mined in conflict zones, thus drying out (or attempting to dry out) the swamp but we all know that no supervising body can be %100 bulletproof.
As we said, lab grown diamonds are cheaper than natural ones, despite having the same characteristics, and the gap in the prices is ever expanding. Millennials, who are often called a “lost generation”, have been suffering from great financial instability (and the COVID-19 crisis didn’t do much to improve their situation). However, this too is only a partial explanation, since there are other options for people looking to save money (such as moissanite jewelry and clarity enhanced diamonds). Also, the shift to online commerce and online stores created a more affordable price range, like you can see here in Best Brilliance’s website.
It seems only a combination of the two reasons above can truly explain the growth in interest in lab grown diamonds among millennials. Will this trend stick even when prices rise again? Only time will tell.