Why a Former Reeds Exec Is Climbing on the Lab-Grown Diamond Bandwagon

Last week, Scott Sedlacek, former vice president of merchandising at Reeds Jewelers, joined ALTR Created Diamonds and R.A. Riam Group as president of sales and business development.

Sedlacek has also worked at Ben Bridge Jewelers, Rolex, Columbia Gem House, and HRA Group.  All in all, he’s had a conventional industry career. But now he’s joining a sector that many view with concern and trepidation.

But he doesn’t see it that way.   Sedlacek says he made his decision after he put in a lab-grown diamond program at Reeds, and it turned out to be one of the most successful launches the retailer ever had.

The biggest resistance to lab diamonds, he says, was from staff.

“There is a fear out there,” he says. “For a jeweler, our biggest issue is consumers with less disposable income. Vacations, luxuries, all those things compete for our money. I’m more interested in getting that money into our stores.”

He notes that the R.A. Riam Group deals with natural diamonds, and he firmly believes both sectors can coexist.

“I’m old enough to remember the old [Diamond Promotion Service] training that said diamonds were addicting, not satiating,” he continues. “If we can get a consumer started with lab, the desire will be for more diamonds.”

He says that lab diamonds should be looked at as a choice for consumers.

“In the chain store environment, there is a race to the bottom,” he says. “We have convinced ourselves that I2 and I3 diamonds are beautiful. But when you put those diamonds next to a well-made SI or VS, whether it’s man-made or natural, the guest will always choose the better diamond.”

He sees lab diamonds as particularly attractive because they come with a story.

“We forget to talk about all the good mined diamonds do,” he says. “But with the lab diamond, we also have an amazing story and that technology that it involves. Most people like technology. This genie is out of the bottle. Let’s make a market for this and let’s grow the whole jewelry market.”

(Image courtesy of ALTR Created Diamonds)

JCK News Director

7 responses to “Why a Former Reeds Exec Is Climbing on the Lab-Grown Diamond Bandwagon”

  1. Nothing beats a real diamond, but how do these man-made diamonds hold up in a resale environment. With real diamonds you can get some kind of return but when you try a resale of a man-made I do not believe it holds up. Please prove me wrong. Provided the price does not sky rocket there is a market.

  2. Lab Grown diamonds are the future, are here to stay and are 100% REAL diamonds…as confirmed by the GIA. I have been buying/selling lab grown for 2 years now…my customers love them and have no problem buying them…this is technology in today’s world.. Whoever would have thought there would be driverless cars, but there are and that is technology. So, you can either stay in the past and miss out on sales or get past old school thinking (Rapaport) and get on board and start selling them!!

  3. My background is in wedding band manufacturing and I have seen first-hand the devastation that alternative metal rings have dealt the marketplace. We now have Chinese factories mass-producing and selling consumers direct for pennies on the dollar of what retail stores charge. The point I’m making is….how long before these and other factories start to mass-produce lab grown diamonds to the same zero-profit end? Diamonds are the jewelry industry’s backbone and if/when we destroy them as a prestigious product we’re doomed as an industry.

    • I agree the Chinese do not care about destroying the market or even cheating consumers. from what I have seen China makes more fake Tiffany & Co. in one year with box bags then Tiffany made in its lifetime.

      I am sure the same goes with Cartier, Tacori, Harry Winston ….. I assume in China they are also making forever mark, Canada mark …. diamonds with fake certificates and related boxes & receipts, selling them online and in stores in China and 3rd world countries as originals. It is a multi billion dollar business for them. There is no fear of going to jail in China. Chinese government indirectly supports and promotes this.

      China already has the ability to produce man made diamonds ( they produce millions of carats of industrial quality diamonds). My guess is the Chinese are waiting for companies such as Pure grown diamonds, ALTR and other’s to first spend the money to educate customers, promote it and create a big market. Chinese will then exploit it till these company go kaput.

      Unless our industry in one voice says enough is enough and puts an end to this. This will not end well.

      I also feel days in investing in diamonds days are over. It is time to move to coloured gemstones. With DeBeers itself opening its own stores with new concepts. It will not be long till Debeers will have website & stores selling all kind of diamonds directly to consumers cheaper than whole sale prices. Younger generation is clearly moving away from diamonds. Diamond prices will crash.

  4. All the comments here are right….and wrong. Yes, lab-grown diamonds are here to stay. And no, thinking that the value of real diamonds will always win is wrong. Lab-grown diamonds have invaded the critical part of the jewelry business – stones under 3 points. Just try and get “value” for real diamonds in those sizes, especially since the overwhelming bulk is imperfect. It is already a problem. Will value of real diamonds persist in sizes, say 2 carat and up? Probably. Will lab-grown undermine the viability of many mines? Undoubtedly. Will this be a battle for a few years? Yes. If the end-game turns into cheap, cheap diamonds, then we have a problem. But we don’t know. Meanwhile, De Beers, Alrosa, Rio Tinto, sell you’re productions as fast as you can and at the highest prices you can get. There may be no tomorrow.

  5. The question is in the headline. Why is Scott on the lab grown bandwagon? Because he is working for a lab grown diamond company. That’s where his paycheck is now coming from so of course he is a proponent. The rest is fluff.

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