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Big Survey

Retail Jewelers Outline the Challenges of Stocking Lab-Grown Diamonds

Difficulties in training and selling are at the top of the list.

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WE ASKED BIG SURVEY respondents: What is the most challenging or overlooked aspect about stocking lab-grown diamonds? The overwhelming answer from respondents related to the declining value and pricing for lab-grown diamonds. Many said they will only carry them on memo as a result, because they don’t want to invest in a product whose value is dropping. They’re also concerned about customers becoming angry in the future over their own lab-grown diamonds declining in value.

Other top answers were:

1. Clients don’t understand the difference between lab-grown and mined diamonds (and it’s difficult to train staff to explain it).
2. Keeping them from being mixed with mined diamond inventory.
3. Some are coming into the market uncertified, which will require retailers to invest in testing technology.
4. They may not truly be more environmentally friendly than mined diamonds.
5. Supply chain issues (they’re not consistently available).

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Here were some of the most interesting responses we received.

  • “Keeping inventory correctly identified. I have nightmares that a lab diamond ends up switched with a mined. So we take diamond inventory every 2 months.”
  • “Don’t sell them. They have no value.”
  • “I expect the price to drop on these, so I prefer to buy these on memo, for the most part. I only have a few stocked so that I can make those last-minute, gotta-have-it-now sales.”
  • “What would my dad say!”
  • “In general, I am leery about lab-grown diamonds and am fearful that in 5-10 years when pricing has substantially dropped, we will have client backlash from people who purchased them now. (Sort of like the whole EGL debacle.)”
  • “My main concern is the new lab-growns coming on the market uncertified. We will be forced to buy the testers that identify them sooner than I thought we would have to. I want the prices to come down more!”
  • “Convincing someone over 50 they have a place at the table.”
  • “Getting our older sales associates to offer them and present them properly.”
  • “Supply chain logistics and a volatile ‘perceived’ market value. This is our industry’s cryptocurrency!”
  • “Two things: Continued price drops. You have to turn the lab-grown you have otherwise last year’s diamond will look way overpriced. Lab-grown finished jewelry is not even something I want to think about. That’s like having a whole different store within a store and having competing inventory.”
  • “Training my staff so there is 100% transparency with the client about lab-grown versus mined diamonds.”
  • “Getting them mixed up or being accused of getting them mixed up.”
  • “Most are grown and cut in countries that don’t meet our ethical standards.”
  • “No challenge at all. It’s a no-brainer.”

The 2021 Big Survey was carried out between August and September, attracting almost 600 anonymous responses from owners of independent jewelry stores across the United States and Canada. The full results can be found online here.

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

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