Wednesday, June 5, 2024
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De Beers Shifts Focus from Jewelry to Industrial Diamonds

Las Vegas— De Beers Group announced a strategic shift last week, revealing it will cease production of jewelry diamonds at its Lightbox factory in Gresham, Oregon, to focus on industrial diamonds for technology applications.

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The announcement was made during the Las Vegas jewelry trade shows, introducing a new strategy called “Origins.” This initiative aims to boost demand for natural diamonds while reducing costs.

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In an interview with National Jeweler, De Beers CEO Al Cook explained the rationale behind the decision and the future of Lightbox, the lab-grown diamond jewelry brand launched six years ago.

“Element Six originally produced diamonds for their industrial hardness,” Cook said. “Now, with synthetic diamond prices dropping, it opens up numerous technological opportunities. We’re collaborating with several high-tech companies to explore the use of diamonds in digital components.”

Cook expressed excitement about this new direction, emphasizing that the future of synthetic diamonds lies in their technological applications.

Despite the factory’s shift, Lightbox will continue as a brand, utilizing existing stock for the foreseeable future. Cook assured that production will persist for a few months to ensure sufficient inventory of lab-grown diamonds for Lightbox.

“We’ll evaluate the brand’s direction once the current stock is depleted,” Cook added. “It’s too early to predict future steps.”

De Beers introduced the Lightbox brand during the Las Vegas shows in 2018, initially producing diamonds at its Element Six facility in the UK. In October 2020, the company opened the $94 million Lightbox factory in Gresham. De Beers set an $800 per carat price for Lightbox diamonds, marketing them for less significant occasions compared to natural diamonds, which were reserved for major milestones like engagements and anniversaries.

Over the past six years, lab-grown diamond prices have plummeted, leading Lightbox to cut prices by up to 40 percent last month. Cook anticipates this trend to continue.

“For many retailers, the profit margin from selling natural diamonds now exceeds that of lab-grown diamonds,” Cook noted. “Initially, lab-grown diamonds offered higher margins due to their low manufacturing costs and perceived equivalence to natural diamonds. However, De Beers maintained a clear distinction between the two through Lightbox. Now, it’s evident that selling natural diamonds is more profitable for retailers, and this gap is expected to widen as lab-grown diamond prices continue to decline.”

In addition to the production shift at the Lightbox factory, De Beers will consolidate its Element Six chemical vapor deposition (CVD) diamond-growing facilities, reducing from three factories to one in Oregon.

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Alice
Alice
Alice is a seasoned jewelry designer renowned for her exquisite creations that seamlessly blend artistry with elegance. With a passion for craftsmanship and an unwavering commitment to quality, Alice has established herself as a distinguished figure in the world of fine jewelry. Drawing inspiration from diverse cultures and artistic movements, Alice brings a unique perspective to her designs, creating pieces that transcend mere accessories to become timeless works of art. Her meticulous attention to detail and insistence on using only the finest materials ensure that each creation reflects not only her artistic vision but also a commitment to unparalleled craftsmanship. Having honed her skills through years of dedicated practice and a keen understanding of evolving trends, Alice is adept at translating her clients' desires into bespoke, one-of-a-kind pieces. Her portfolio encompasses a range of styles, from classic and timeless to avant-garde and contemporary, showcasing her versatility and ability to cater to a diverse clientele.

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