2023 Named "The Year of Lab Grown Diamonds"
Have you noticed more people talking about lab-grown diamond jewelry lately? It’s not a coincidence. Thanks to a surge in interest and demand, lab grown diamonds have been in the spotlight and in the news all year long. That’s why Business of Fashion has named 2023 “The Year of the Lab Grown Diamond.”
In March, John Legend wore a bold lab-grown diamond ring to the Vanity Fair Oscar Party. In May, Gigi Hadid wore lavish lab grown diamond necklaces to the 2023 Met Gala celebrating Karl Lagerfeld. In June, India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, gave President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden a 7.50 ct. lab-grown diamond produced using renewable energy during a visit to the White House. Fashion designers Sergio Hudson and Tara Subkoff for Imitation of Christ showed lab grown diamond jewelry on the runways of Los Angeles Fashion Week in September.
More and more trendsetters have been spotted wearing lab grown diamond jewelry. Oprah, Taylor Swift, Zoe Saldana, Emma Watson, Jennifer Lopez, Reese Witherspoon and Meghan Markle have worn lab grown diamonds in the spotlights.
Lab grown diamond engagement rings have surged in popularity too. More and more couples are saying yes to lab-grown diamonds. This year was the first time that the number of sales of loose diamonds, which are primarily used as center stones in engagement rings, were split evenly between lab grown diamonds and mined diamonds, according to data from Tenoris, a jewelry market research firm. That’s because consumer attitudes towards lab-grown diamonds are changing. In a survey by The Knot, only 34 percent of recently engaged people said it is important that an engagement ring have a natural stone.
During New York Fashion Week, jewelry retailer Pandora took over a street in downtown New York to host a splashy party it dubbed the “lab-grown diamond district,” attended by fashion insiders and stars like Pamela Anderson, the face of the brand’s latest campaign. Pandora is just one of the global brands jumping on the lab grown diamond bandwagon.
In October Prada announced its new jewelry collection would feature lab-grown diamonds, becoming one of the first global luxury brands to use lab-grown diamonds in a high jewelry collection, joining the LVMH-owned Parisian luxury jeweler Fred and luxury watch brand Tag Heuer. One necklace in Prada’s collection set with 40 carats of lab grown diamonds sells for $274,500. The same design set with mined diamonds would be more than a million dollars. Swarovski also announced a new lab-grown diamond jewelry collection.
Why are so many brands switching to lab grown diamonds? The trend is driven by consumer demand for luxury that’s more affordable. Consumers are trading up to better quality larger lab-grown diamonds. Younger consumers are also attracted by lab-grown diamond that are produced using renewable energy so they are sustainable and carbon neutral.
The technology for growing lab-created diamonds continues to advance. The Gemological Institute of America recently graded a ring created out of a single crystal of lab grown diamond. The 4.04-carat ring was cut from an 8.54-carat lab-grown diamond plate created by using the chemical vapor deposition process. The band is 3.03 mm thick with an inner diameter of 16.35–16.40 mm and an outer diameter of 20.32–20.40 mm. GIA said its development marks a “significant milestone in the world of carved single-crystal diamond rings.” Diamond growers also announced new record sizes, including two 35-carat CVD lab-grown diamonds.
According to jewelry market analyst Paul Zimnisky, sales of lab grown diamonds have steadily increased from less than $1 billion in 2016 to about $12 billion in 2022. An estimated 95% of jewelers now offer lab-grown diamonds as well as mined diamonds.
In addition to lab grown diamond engagement rings, the most popular lab grown diamond designs are lab grown diamond stud earrings in two, three and four carat sizes. Classic lab grown diamond necklaces, especially lab grown diamond pendants, are also trending.
Diamond mining companies have noticed a consumer trend towards choosing lab grown and are working to convince consumers to choose natural diamonds instead. To counter the trend towards lab grown, De Beers announced a $20 million advertising campaign to promote natural diamonds, reviving the “A Diamond is Forever” slogan.
Today lab grown diamonds represent just over 27 percent of diamond sales by units, according to Tenoris, a 60% increase in 2023. That number is likely to grow. According to Zimnisky, sales of lab-grown stones are likely to continue growing at an annual double-digit percentage rate in the next few years. Lab grown diamond jewelry will continue to sparkle for years to come.