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Commentary: The Business

Here’s the Argument for Selling Lab-Grown Diamonds

Increase your margin while accommodating more budgets.

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AS A PAST bridal buyer for one of the largest West Coast independent jewelry retailers, I strongly believe there are opportunities to grow your business by offering lab-grown as an alternative to mined diamonds.

There is no right or wrong answer when deciding to sell lab-grown diamonds. I challenge you to ask yourself if you find value in broadening your customer base by offering lab-grown as an alternative. Some points to consider:

1. Margin

Over a decade ago, e-commerce changed the way consumers bought diamonds. Consumers became more educated than ever, and it became harder and harder for a jewelry retailer to make a profit. Today, if you Google the comparison, you will find that on average, lab-grown diamonds are anywhere from 20 to 30 percent less expensive than natural diamonds. With that said, I strongly believe lab-grown diamonds have the capability to transform retailers’ margins. We have all seen lab-grown diamond pricing fluctuate, and how you navigate through that depends on your selling model. I believe setting natural diamonds and lab-grown diamonds in different tiers is imperative. Distinguishing the difference will allow the consumer to make an informed decision based on their preference. Is the consumer more inclined to purchase a product based on price, or do they prefer rarity? Offering lab-grown not only provides an alternative to natural diamonds, but it’s also a unique story. Who doesn’t want increased margins and happy customers?

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2. Price

Sometimes for consumers, it’s either all about price, or they just want a big rock. Before lab-grown diamonds, consumers were restricted by their budget. A consumer might have thought they were going to be able to afford a 1-carat diamond only to find out their budget only allowed for a half-carat. With the introduction of lab-grown diamonds, consumers can purchase the size and quality of diamond they were initially expecting, regardless of their budget. Consumers don’t always purchase based on natural, unique and rare. I believe having lab-grown as a less expensive alternative to natural diamonds broadens your consumer reach.

3. The Eco-Friendly Debate

We all remember the movie Blood Diamond that forever changed the mindset of diamond consumers. Lab-grown diamonds are being pitched as the sustainable choice. Marketing lab-grown as eco-friendly is something I don’t agree with. Lab-grown diamonds are grown in a controlled environment and produced by man, so the diamonds themselves can be considered a renewable resource. But eco-friendly? That’s the big debate. The energy used in creating even one lab-grown diamond is not necessarily renewable or sustainable, and it could be detrimental to the environment. If the consumer does enough research prior to their purchase, they will find this out.

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Moving Up — Not Out — with Wilkerson

Trish Parks has always wanted to be in the jewelry business and that passion has fueled her success. The original Corinth Jewelers opened in the Mississippi town of the same name in 2007. This year, Parks moved her business from its original strip mall location to a 10,000-square foot standalone store. To make room for fresh, new merchandise, she asked Wilkerson to organize a moving sale. “What I remember most about the sale is the outpouring excitement and appreciation from our customers,” says Parks. Would she recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers? “I would recommend Wilkerson because they came in, did what they were supposed to and made us all comfortable. And we met our goals.”

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