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The Lab-Grown Diamond Trend Might Have Just Plateaued

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Slower growth could lie ahead.

Fewer American jewelers are considering stocking lab-grown diamonds, with those actively weighing the man-made gemstones as an addition to their inventory falling from 21 percent in 2016 to 16 percent this year, according to INSTORE’s 2017 Big Survey.

Interestingly, the number of jewelers who answered “Already do” to the question of whether they would stock the gems increased by the same degree – five percentage points – from 10 percent to 15 percent over the same time period. With the other answer options “Never” and “Maybe” showing almost no change, the implication appears to be that those jewelers who were looking seriously at lab-grown diamonds last year followed through and ordered them this year. It also suggests slower growth lies ahead for the somewhat controversial product category.

At one in five, jewelers in the West were most likely to stock man-made diamonds, while the South was the least receptive market (fewer than one in 10 stores carry them). Bigger stores (those doing more than $1.5 million in sales per year) were more likely to offer the gems, although jewelers at the very top end (sales over $5 million a year) were also the most vehemently opposed to lab diamonds, with one in two saying they would never offer them to their customers.

The issue of man-made diamonds has divided jewelers, with some seeing them as having the potential to undermine the value of their most precious product category and others seeing them as a nature-friendly alternative that will appeal to younger consumers.

The 2017 Big Survey was conducted in July and attracted more than 700 responses from jewelry-store owners around country. Look out for all the results in the October issue of INSTORE.

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