Jewelry with lab-grown diamonds has comprised around 10% of U.S. diamond engagement ring sales so far in 2022, according to data provided by industry analyst Edahn Golan at Facets 2022, the recent conference held by Antwerp World Diamond Centre.
The numbers were calculated by Tenoris, the consultancy Golan cofounded with former National Jeweler publisher Chris Casey. Tenoris calculates its numbers using data from 1,200 specialty jewelry stores in the United States.
That lab-grown market share number for engagement rings is up substantially from Tenoris’ numbers for 2021, which found that lab-grown diamond sales represented about 6% of the overall engagement ring market.
The consultancy also found that natural diamond engagement rings sold for an average $4,512 in 2022, while the average lab-grown diamond ring sold for $3,916, a sign at least some consumers are lowering their spend when they purchase lab-growns. Those numbers are up 7.2% for natural diamonds and 14.3% for lab-growns.
And while margins for lab-grown diamonds remain higher than those of natural gems, the gap between the two isn’t as wide as some may think, Tenoris found. According to the service, the average gross margin for a natural diamond engagement ring was 48.6% versus 54.4% for lab-grown. That’s up 5.1% for natural and 0.2% for lab-grown.
The average carat weight for engagement rings was 0.84 ct. for naturals, versus 1.38 cts. for lab-growns. That represents a 1.4% decline for natural diamonds but a 4.9% jump for lab-grown.
What’s behind the rise in lab-grown market share? Golan said that 2021 was a record year for diamond engagement ring sales, the result of “pent-up demand” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But so far in 2022, demand for diamond engagement rings of all types has dropped substantially. However, natural diamond engagement rings seem to have taken the brunt of that hit; sales of lab-grown diamond engagement rings fell only 12% year-over-year versus 51% for natural diamond engagement rings, Tenoris found.
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