Lab-Grown

Measuring the Lab-Grown Diamond Market: Size, Growth, and Future Opportunities

Lab-GrownFeb 16, 2022

Measuring the Lab-Grown Diamond Market: Size, Growth, and Future Opportunities

National Jeweler talks to two analysts about market share and where the stones go from here.

Pandora is the latest big retailer to launch a line of jewelry set with lab-grown diamonds, putting “Pandora Brilliance” into stores in the U.K. last year.
New York—Though lab-grown diamonds still make up a small percentage of the overall diamond jewelry market, their share is growing.

The category slowly has been building in market share as production ramps up and more consumers opt for a man-made stone, with the U.S. market being the largest by far for the products.

To put the current market size and near-term prospects into perspective, National Jeweler spoke with independent industry analysts Edahn Golan and Paul Zimnisky.

Both use their own research and analysis to create the data shared below, which is based on their estimates and forecasts.

An Upward Curve
Looking at the market over the past five years shows an interesting growth curve. 

Prior to 2018, lab-grown diamond jewelry sales totaled less than $1 billion, representing less than 1 percent of the total global diamond jewelry market, Zimnisky estimates. (Though these are global figures, Zimnisky noted that the U.S. makes up the majority of the market—more than 90 percent.)

Golan’s estimates for 2018 have lab-grown diamonds accounting for less than 1.5 percent of all diamond sales by specialty retailers in the United States.

By the following year, that had crept up to more than 2 percent, he said, and it’s continued to grow, especially as more producers, like De Beers with its Lightbox brand, have come online.  

By 2020, the stones’ market share had increased to about 3.5 percent, and last year it neared 5 percent, indicating continued growth in consumer awareness and acceptance of the product, Golan said. 

Overall, Golan said lab-grown diamonds were a $3.9 billion business in the U.S. in 2021. 

Zimnisky’s estimates for the market are more bullish. 

His research indicates that in 2021, global lab-grown diamond jewelry sales totaled approximately $5.9 billion, representing 7 to 8 percent of the total diamond jewelry market. 

 Related stories will be right here … 

According to these two experts, there’s no doubt the lab-grown diamond market will continue to grow, especially as producers ramp up supply and major retailers, like Signet and Pandora, continue to increase their lab-grown diamond inventory.

“All things being equal, a 7 percent share in 2022 is not an unlikely scenario,” Golan said.

Zimnisky, meanwhile, said lab-grown jewelry sales could near $8 billion-plus in 2022, approaching 10 percent of the total diamond jewelry market, and near the $10 billion mark by 2023.

Bridal vs. Fashion
One of the biggest conversations around lab-grown diamonds is, what will consumers buy them for, exactly? Bridal or fashion jewelry? 

Currently, about 60 percent of lab-grown diamond sales by value at specialty jewelers are bridal, according to Golan, who noted that’s largely because engagement rings generally cost more than fashion pieces. 

But when one looks at the market share by number of units sold (volume), bridal and fashion are evenly split at 50-50, he said.

Golan also noted the ratio of lab-grown diamond sales at larger retail spaces, like Macy’s or Amazon, is very different because consumers tend to shop there for fashion jewelry more than bridal, further indicating that, in the U.S., lab-grown diamond bridal jewelry doesn’t have such a large share. 

“I think self-purchase is probably getting to be the biggest segment of the market and a lot of that’s fashion jewelry.”—Paul Zimnisky 

Zimnisky said while the lab-grown diamond market has seen the lion’s share of its opportunity in bridal so far, it will start to occupy more in fashion jewelry in the coming years.

“I think self-purchase is probably getting to be the biggest segment of the market and a lot of that’s fashion jewelry,” he said, adding that big companies like Pandora and Lightbox are positioning them as fashion products as well.

Pricing could also influence this potential trend, he said.

As lab-grown diamond prices keep dropping—as they have been for a few years now—it’s likely more lab-grown diamonds will be marketed as fashion jewelry.

Pricing and Its Effects
Lab-grown diamond prices fell last year, while natural polished diamond prices rose by about 30 percent, Zimnisky estimated, widening the gap between the two categories.

Better methods among growers and competition among wholesalers will lead to a continued decrease in prices, both analysts agreed, and it remains to be seen when lab-grown prices will bottom out.

Right now, generic lab-grown diamonds are priced as much as 75-85 percent lower than natural diamonds of the same quality, Zimnisky said.

He said lab-grown diamonds likely will end up being priced similar to Lightbox, which has a linear pricing system based on size ($800 for a 1-carat diamond, $400 for a half-carat diamond, etc.). 

In early 2020, Swarovski introduced a line of colored lab-grown diamonds that seem intended for fashion jewelry. Three of the 16 shades offered are, clockwise from top right, “Couture Dragon,” “Draped Fire” and “Velvet Pool.” (© Swarovski)
In early 2020, Swarovski introduced a line of colored lab-grown diamonds that seem intended for fashion jewelry. Three of the 16 shades offered are, clockwise from top right, “Couture Dragon,” “Draped Fire” and “Velvet Pool.” (© Swarovski)

The widening price gap also plays a role in one big question on everyone’s mind: Are lab-grown diamonds taking away from sales of natural diamonds? 

Just a few years ago, when lab-grown diamonds were priced 10 to 15 percent less than comparable natural diamonds, “almost all of those lab-grown diamond sales were probably taking sales away from natural,” he said. 

But now that the price gap has widened, there are probably many consumers buying a lab-grown diamond that wouldn’t have considered a natural diamond of the same quality because the price is so much higher. In other words, lab-grown diamonds are potentially finding new consumers.

Ultimately, though, market share and growth will depend on one important aspect, both analysts agreed—marketing.

“It’s still a luxury product. It’s an emotional purchase, and people buy it because they like the way it makes them feel. And I think that’s where the marketing kind of really comes into play,” Zimnisky said. 

“I think the natural diamond industry can really protect its market if it’s successful with proper marketing. And if they aren’t, then I think that there’s serious risk there.”

The Latest

IndependentsSep 26, 2022
Roberson’s Fine Jewelry to Close After 42 Years

The store’s liquidation sale will showcase the mix of classic and unique jewels it’s known for stocking.

CollectionsSep 26, 2022
Go ‘Inside the Dream’ of Bulgari Via a New Documentary on Amazon Prime

It follows Creative Director Lucia Silvestri as she crafts the brand’s high jewelry collections.

Recorded WebinarsSep 26, 2022
Watch: What Jewelers Should Know About Insurance

From safeguarding showcases to appraisal liability, insurance experts Mark Devereaux and Andrew Chipman share insurance tips for jewelers.

Brought to you by
6 Steps to Start a Dynamic Company Culture

Learn how to better serve your employees, customers and community by having a dynamic and supportive company culture.

TrendsSep 26, 2022
Vahan Collabs With Wolf on a Jewelry Box

It’s the first time in 50 years the brand has made something other than jewelry.

Weekly QuizSep 22, 2022
This Week’s Quiz
Test your knowledge of the latest jewelry news with this quick test.
Take the Quiz
Events & AwardsSep 26, 2022
Texas Jewelers Association Rolls Out New Format for Design Competition

The competition takes place in tandem with TJA’s annual convention, known as the Texas Jewelers Roundup.

CollectionsSep 23, 2022
Pandora Reimagines Keith Haring’s Art in New Collection

The limited-run collection features figures from Haring’s iconic street art on charms, bracelets, rings, and more.

Brought to you by
Committing to an Ethical Diamond Business

While ethical mining is essential to a diamond business, they represent only a fraction of the responsibility bestowed on jewelers.

GradingSep 23, 2022
GIA Career Fair Returns to Carlsbad

The Gemological Institute of America also announced plans for events in New York and London in 2023.

SourcingSep 23, 2022
See the Items in Gem Legacy’s 4th Anniversary Benefit Auction

One hundred percent of proceeds will benefit the nonprofit’s silicosis prevention initiative.

CollectionsSep 23, 2022
Piece of the Week: Emily Weld Collins’ Amulet

Inspired by antique coins, it depicts a “hippocamp” from Greek mythology.

EditorsSep 22, 2022
4 Things Seen and Heard at the 2022 HardRock Summit

Gemstones Editor Brecken Branstrator dishes on the latest color to trend, the show floor buzz, and more from Denver.

TrendsSep 22, 2022
There’s a New Book on Tiffany & Co.

Written by historian Vivienne Becker, it accompanies this summer’s Tiffany jewelry exhibition at London’s Saatchi Gallery.

Supplier BulletinSep 22, 2022
Using Commerce Data to Outshine the Competition in the Jewelry Industry

Sponsored by Bloomreach

SourcingSep 22, 2022
First Diamond Recovered From Burgundy’s Ellendale Restart

Burgundy also announced the retail launch of its diamond brand, Maison Mazerea.

Events & AwardsSep 22, 2022
JCK Industry Fund Now Accepting Applications

Organizations with a project or initiative aimed at bettering the jewelry industry are encouraged to apply.

TrendsSep 21, 2022
These Are the Diamond Jewels to Stock for the Holidays

These trending-yet-timeless pieces are no-brainers for customers in search of the perfect gift.

SourcingSep 21, 2022
A Day in the Life: Daniel Namdar, Fancy Color Diamond Specialist

Namdar joins a long line of diamond experts, but his love of the trade was learned rather than inherited.

AuctionsSep 21, 2022
Egyptomania at Sotheby’s: See the Egyptian Revival Jewels Heading to Auction

The auction house is celebrating 100 years since the discovery of King Tut’s tomb.

MajorsSep 21, 2022
Claire’s Expands Walmart Partnership

The chain’s jewelry and accessories are now available in 2,500 Walmart locations.

Events & AwardsSep 21, 2022
Ethical Gem Fair Heads to NYC for the First Time

The event is slated for Oct. 20-22 at Brooklyn Metal Works.

MajorsSep 21, 2022
Hearts On Fire Announces Sales Teams Changes

Jacqueline Raffi has been promoted to vice president, sales, North America.

CrimeSep 20, 2022
Customs Seizes More Than 700 Counterfeit Cartier ‘Love’ Bracelets

Agents in Cincinnati intercepted three shipments of fake brand-name jewels that would be worth more than $10 million if genuine.

ColumnistsSep 20, 2022
The Smart Lab: 5 Holiday Shopping Predictions for 2022

From free shipping to early shopping, Emmanuel Raheb outlines a handful of factors expected to shape the holiday season this year.

Events & AwardsSep 20, 2022
Harwell Godfrey Nabs CFDA Fashion Award Nomination

The sole fine jewelry nominee, the brand is up for an award in the emerging designer category.

MajorsSep 20, 2022
Signet Expands Loyalty Program, Adds Personal Jewelry Insurance

Customers earn one “gem” for every dollar spent as part of the “Vault Rewards” program, unlocking discounts and special member-only offers.

TechnologySep 19, 2022
Signet Enters the Metaverse With Banter, DressX Partnership

See how it looked when our editor tried on virtual jewelry via the DressX app.

×

This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy