Their price points are typically 50 to 60 percent below Rap
Stuller, the prominent Lafayette, La.-based jewelry manufacturer, has become the latest company to offer lab-grown diamonds.
Stanley Zale, Stuller’s vice president of diamonds and gemstones, says the company has been selling the loose gems since before Christmas.
“We have been watching this, as everyone has,” he says. “Our view is that we want to provide customers with options. This is another stone, another price point.”
Those price points are typically 50 percent to 60 percent below the Rapaport list, he says.
For now, the company is selling the diamonds loose and does not have a specific Stuller lab-grown brand. The stones range from one-third to two carats, generally F to K and VS to I1. Stuller gets them from a wide range of suppliers. All come with reports from Gem Certification and Assurance Lab (GCAL).
Some customers have been concerned the lab-grown diamonds could get mixed up with naturals, Zale notes.
“We screen every diamond we sell for lab-grown,” Zale says, noting the company takes lots of precautions to keep the two kinds of diamonds apart.
“The inventory is kept separate,” he says. “Associates are not even permitted to have a lab-grown and naturals on the same table. We keep them in a separate safe. Even the box we keep them in is a different color.”
Stuller also has a sizable natural inventory, but Zale isn’t worried that one market will cannibalize the other.
“This isn’t going to change anything,” he says. “The technology is here. It won’t go away. The way for the industry to go forward is to understand this product.
“I don’t think this will change the world,” he adds. “But it could be a nice little business for us.”