The market for lab-grown diamonds is exploding this wedding season, putting larger gems onto more hands than ever.
But some say that shine can wear off when the synthetic stones quickly lose their value.
Pandora, the largest jeweler in the world, is now very much in the diamond business.
Last year, the company that’s well-known for its accessible charm bracelets began selling lab-grown diamonds set in rings and other jewelry.
The diamonds are offered at prices Pandora says make sense for their slice of the jewelry market.
“What we are seeing a lot is people that always dreamed but never had a chance to buy a diamond. Now they can,” said Luciano Rodembusch, Pandora’s North American President.
At Pandora, a one carat diamond ring goes for less than $2,000, while a 2-carat piece sells for roughly $5,000, a fraction of what similar, mined stones would cost.
Pandora says its lab-created diamonds are manufactured in U.S. facility using 100% renewable energy.
“Ours are going to be one-fifth to one-seventh of the price,” Rodembusch said.
According to The Knot, the popularity of lab-grown diamonds has doubled since 2020.
In 2022, more than a third of engagement ring center stones were manufactured, not mined.
Regardless of the source, the diamonds are visually and chemically the same.
But, some argue that there is a key value difference.
Olivia Landau, co-founder and CEO of custom jewelry company The Clear Cut, sells only natural diamonds, which she says hold or even increase in monetary value.
“Lab grown diamonds hold zero value. They’re mass produced. You can create an endless supply of them,” Landau said. “They’re kind of the fast-fashion of diamonds, whereas natural diamonds do hold inherent value.”
The Clear Cut does use lab-grown diamonds but it actually gives them away for free, set in a travel ring that customers can wear when their more-expensive bling is stored away.
“If you want to go lab or you want to go natural, it’s a personal decision. Just know the value and what you’re getting for it and be happy with that,” said Landau.
Customers ultimately will make the call, but everyone agrees that diamonds will continue to hold lasting allure for engaged couples. And, much of the value of a diamond ring is in the story behind it.
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