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Editor's Note

Here Are Some of the Implications of De Beers’ New Lab-Grown Fashion Line

De Beers aims to steer public opinion with Lightbox line.

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When I left home for my 14th annual Las Vegas Jewelry Week, I expected just another year at the trade shows. Boy, was I wrong!

On May 29, just before the shows, De Beers shocked the industry by unveiling a new fashion line called Lightbox featuring lab-grown diamonds. Reportedly, even sightholders were taken by surprise. 

The language used by Bruce Cleaver, CEO of De Beers Group, in the company’s press release announcement seemed crafted to downplay the appeal of lab-grown diamonds as a luxury product even as it promoted the line as an affordable fashion product, saying that consumers regard lab-grown diamonds as “a fun, pretty product that shouldn’t cost that much” and that it “may not be forever, but is perfect for right now.” He also added that Lightbox would be “a small business compared to our core diamond business.”

This is not the kind of language that a company typically uses to promote its new product line.

The show was abuzz with speculation about what will happen next. Certainly, De Beers is putting price pressure on lab-grown diamond producers, selling its offerings for $800 for a 1-carat stone. It also seems to be attempting to steer public perception by relegating lab-grown diamonds to “fashion” status.

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The big question is, how will Lightbox affect your business? Will clients now hesitate to buy lab-grown diamonds for engagement rings, or will this news just add to the category’s momentum? We’d love to hear from you. Send us your thoughts at [email protected]!

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Edition

  • 1. Track new contacts initiated, how contacts are followed up and amount of face-time and phone-time your salespeople put in. (Ask Instore, p. 61)
  • 2. Base your pricing on rate of sell-through, not just cost. (David Brown, p. 58)
  • 3.< Be sure someone is always available to answer the phone — and not someone who’s with a client. (Shane Decker, p. 63)
  • 4. Post daily to two social media and focus on local hashtags. (The Big Story, p. 38)
  • 5. Take your shop staff on a road trip to examine the workmanship of other stores’ jewelry; bring loupes! (David Geller, p. 56)

Trace Shelton is the editor-in-chief of INSTORE magazine. He can be reached at [email protected].

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