TWO-THIRDS OF jewelers now stock lab grown diamonds, up from only 10 percent 5 years ago. But what do they think about them? According to the INSTORE 2021 Big Survey, “it’s complicated.”
Some 56 percent of jewelers today agree that “the best lab-grown diamond is technically as good as the best mined diamond” but ask a jeweler whether the lab-grown varieties are “symbolically” as good and only 31 percent answer “yes.” A resounding 69 percent say “no”.
Then again, 31 percent is a big improvement on 17 percent, which is how many jewelers thought that lab-grown diamonds were as symbolically good in 2016 when we last asked them. Add to that the fact that some jewelers see lab-grown diamonds are the next big thing and it is clear that the jury is still out on the man-made newcomers.
Jewelers said that “more stone for [the] same price” and environmental concerns were selling points, but some also worry that both customers and sales staff often do not know enough about the products – as well as whether environmental claims hold up and about supply-chain weaknesses.
“Some stones are coming into the market uncertified, which will require retailers to invest in testing technology,” one jeweler told the Big Survey in a sentiment echoed by others, who added that they don’t want to invest in a product whose value is dropping while also being concerned about customers becoming angry in the future over their lab-grown diamonds declining in value.
But more than 60 percent of jewelers are stocking lab-grown diamonds in 2021. Compare that to 2016, when just over 10 percent were stocking them. Whatever jewelers may feel about the man-made precious rocks, it does not look like they are going away any time soon.
The 2021 Big Survey was carried out between August and September, attracting more than 600 anonymous responses from owners of independent jewelry stores across the United States and Canada. The full results will be published in the upcoming November issue of INSTORE.