Rogers & Hollands is now selling synthetic diamonds, making the 73-store chain the largest jewelry retailer to do so.
But it might not be the only big name jumping into the business. Pure Grown Diamonds CEO Lisa Bissell says that “it is the largest chain so far, but stay tuned.”
Rogers & Hollands seems well placed for a lab-grown program: It has other lines aimed at socially conscious shoppers, including an eco-friendly engagement ring line made with recycled gold, a Canadian diamond line, and LGBT Rony Tennenbaum line.
Still, the retailer did not want to comment on its lab-grown program to JCK. It didn’t give an explanation, but I have noticed that some retailers who carry synthetics are skittish about publicly discussing it, given how much this product has unsettled the industry. I also could not find any information about the lab-grown diamond program on Rogers & Hollands’ site. This should not need to be said, but lab-grown diamonds are a legitimate product that are fine to carry (if not for everyone), provided they are sold honestly.
That said, there is a certain risk of lab-grown diamonds cannibalizing natural sales—which makes retailers nervous, given how much they have invested in diamond inventory. Retailers who carry both synthetics and naturals likely face a challenge on how to manage what can be competing sales pitches. (The selling point for lab-grown is often the “same product, but cheaper.”) And both sectors regularly disparage each other, which doesn’t help.
We are still in the early days of figuring out how to integrate lab-grown diamonds into our industry. They aren’t going away, and we are clearly seeing bigger companies and retailers get into the business. There are no easy answers about how to handle all this, but the sooner we start the conversation, the better.