Isn’t it ironic? On May 24, an article appears in JCK, conducted by the Harris Poll and sponsored by the Diamond Producers Association (DPA), basically concluding that consumers have “doubts” about the realness of lab-grown diamonds. A second survey reported and conducted by MVI Marketing a few weeks prior found Millennials are “intrigued” by the product. And, overall, not as turned off as the Harris Poll might suggest. On May 29th, De Beers, who has scorned lab-grown diamonds at just about every juncture, introduced a new lab-grown jewelry line. Of course, this won’t be marketed under the De Beers name, but rather Lightbox Jewelry. Although, every news outlet under the sun (and then some) has reported Lightbox Jewelry is pretty much De Beers. Every headline and lead mentions De Beers. Any consumer who will Google Lightbox Jewelry (and who won’t?), will see the De Beers name. The name synonymous with diamonds. The diamond brand consumers are most aware of. The diamond brand consumers have come to trust. The diamond brand consumers equate to quality. Hell, if they’re behind it, it practically provides the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. Which, in reality, it does.
This is not an article about the hypocrisy of it all. Although you have to admit, it’s quite the chuckle. It is an article meant to wake this industry up. De Beers didn’t do what any other business shouldn’t do. The sooner everyone wakes up to that notion, the sooner we can all move on. Do they have your back? Hell, no. It’s business. They have their back. Just as you should have your own.
Lab-grown diamonds are here, people. De Beers is just covering all the bases. Just like each and every one of you should do. Lab-grown diamonds are not leaving. There are more and more companies producing them. And $100 million says Lightbox Jewelry will add marketing fuel to the fire. Lab-grown diamonds will, without a doubt, disrupt the market. There are many, many people who are not adverse to them. There will be many, many more in the years to come. I get it. The one company who you thought would never, and I mean never, walk away from their stance on the topic is walking. No, running.
Remember when you all said, “no one will buy fine jewelry online”? The exponential growth of online begs to differ. And, yes, right now consumers prefer to touch and feel it. But, the train has left the station. We have no idea what online will represent in our sector 5-10 years down the road. One thing is a sure bet: Online will represent a larger share of the market. And, it’s up to you to position yourself with the ability to do both.
The lab-grown train has also pulled out of the station. Are you getting on it, or sticking your heels in the mud refusing to hop on. And, for what sanctimonious reason? If you’re running a retail business, your job is to provide product that answers the consumer demand. Is your duty to educate and explain both? Yes. But, ultimately, the customer is going to decide what’s best for them. They always do.
Stick your heels in the mud if you want. But, it’s difficult to run the bases that way.
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