A quick look on Professional Jeweller’s Twitter feed at any point in the day yesterday revealed members of the jewellery industry were only talking about one thing – the De Beers Group’s move into machine-made diamonds.
Headlines in the media included: “De Beers admits defeat over man-made diamonds”; “De Beers has scorned lab-made diamonds for years. Now it will sell them — for as little as $200”; and “De Beers to sell diamonds made in a lab, cheapening a rare luxury”.
After years of championing natural diamonds, and even openly criticising lab-grown stones and vowing never to work with them, the De Beers Group has entered the man-made diamond market.
Yesterday, the company announced the launch of ‘Lightbox Jewellery’, a fashion brand adorned with lab-grown diamonds.
It claims the creations made under the Lightbox name will be more accessible than any other lab-grown brand to date.
But what else do we know about Lightbox?
The website launched yesterday and shows De Beers will be marketing its new brand with the same force, which led them to convince the world “a diamond is forever”.
For the lab-grown diamond fashion jewellery brand, De Beers is going with the message: “We are for lighter moods and lighter moments”, telling consumers that the competitive price of the jewellery means purchases can be made for all sorts of occasions, and more often.
The site already has a section called ‘Discover Ligthbox Moments’, which encourages consumers that lab-grown diamond jewellery pieces should be bought to mark “moments not milestones”, giving birthdays, holidays, proms, and ‘just because days’ as examples.
The website pushes the price of its products heavily on browsers as well, spelling out exactly how the end price comes about through graphics, images, and easy-to-follow messages.
Elsewhere, the site clearly shows consumers what a lab-grown diamond is, how they are made in the company’s workshops, with videos, GIFs, Instagram-style images, and bitesize text detailing all someone might need to know about the ‘sparkle and science’ behind the brand.
A first look of the jewellery shows an emphasis on diamond colours which are rare when formed naturally, such as pink and blue, and a combination of cuts and sizes.
The debut pieces feature sterling silver and rose gold plated designs, alongside 10ct white gold options. Motifs at the moment include wings and moons, and classic halos and solitaries.
A subsidiary of De Beers Group, Lightbox will be the only jewellery brand to source lab-grown diamonds from De Beers Group’s Element Six business, a world leader in lab-grown diamond technology for more than 50 years.
To support Lightbox, De Beers Group is investing a total of US$94 million (£70m) over four years in a new Element Six production facility near Portland, Oregon, adding to Element Six’s existing UK-based facilities near Ascot, Berkshire.
Once fully operational, De Beers says it will be capable of producing upwards of 500,000 rough carats of lab-grown diamonds a year.
When launched in September this year, Lightbox will only be available in the US for a dedicated website, and with retail partners.