Lab Experiment: Retailers Tell Us Whether They Would Stock Lab-Grown Diamonds

Q: Would you consider stocking lab-grown diamonds?

A: “Though there’s not a visual difference between the two types of stones, people will more than likely want the natural product over something that is man-made. I’m a traditionalist and choose not to stock man-made diamonds when the natural product is available. We’re known for selling the finest crafted natural stones in the world, and we want to keep that credibility. If a company sells lab-produced diamonds, it can confuse buyers and decrease a brand’s stature. I believe that when man creates something from the ground up, it becomes synthetic, and I would rather provide my customers with quality natural diamonds that hold value and uniqueness. If a jeweler does decide to sell lab-produced diamonds, I would advise they provide full disclosure and documentation about their stones to ensure that consumers know exactly what they’re getting and aren’t confused about man-made versus natural diamonds.”
—BRIAN GAVIN, owner,

“Yes, I think I would. The millennial types seem to be about a lot of different things, but value and ecology are two main things they care about. I think you could make the case with lab-grown diamonds that you’re not tearing up virgin jungle or making huge holes in the earth to get them. You could make the case that they’re greener. And now that we have 3-D printers and are making organs and prosthetic arms, we’re living in an age where creating something like that doesn’t have the same stigma it once did. We’ve always done a lot of custom work and if people were to request [lab-grown], we would give it to them. We’re not too good to sell what people want.”
—ROBERT ARGO, owner, Argo & Lehne Jewelers, Columbus, Ohio

“The world may change and demand may change, but at this point I have no interest in lab-grown diamonds. I don’t see that as a real need [for us]. And I don’t see me being the one to educate the public on lab-grown diamonds. Obviously, demand drives it all. If that should change, we would reconsider.”
—LUCIAN LEE JR., owner, Hale’s Jewelers, Greenville, S.C.

“It really depends on how the market responds to them. If the public’s perception of them changes, there will be people who want to buy them. And it will depend a lot on the price difference between natural and lab-grown. I’d love to think everyone in the industry was aboveboard, but one of my concerns…would be, who’s going to develop the affordable device to detect these diamonds? It opens up a huge can of worms.”
—VESS BARNES, owner, Barnes Jewelry, Amarillo, Texas

“At this time, we have no interest. I feel there’s been too many word plays and word games [growers] have used to try to make their products attractive. I find they’ve ruined their credibility right out of the box. But I don’t have a problem with a consumer wanting that—and I’m not saying they shouldn’t have access to it.”
—MICHAEL MELNICK, owner, Armel Jewelers, Sarasota, Fla.

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