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Synthetic diamonds growing, demand-driven by retailers rather than consumers – Bonas

16 october 2020
Image credit: PublicDomainPictures (Pixabay)

Synthetic diamonds have grown exponentially over the years, but remain relatively small compared to the natural diamond market, according to an expert from the Bonas Group.
Group industry expert Didier Backaert told an African Diamond Conference webinar that this year’s output of synthetic diamonds is expected to be between 4.5 million carats and 5.5 million carats compared to natural diamonds’ target of 135 million carats.
Between 300,000 carats and 350,000 carats of synthetic diamonds were produced in 2013 compared to 124 million carats of natural diamonds.
He said production capacity can be further scaled-up if demand grows. 
Backaert said that demand for synthetic diamonds was mostly driven by retailers rather than by consumer demand.
He said acceptance by US majors had led to substantial growth and there was a move from fashion jewellery into bridal jewellery.
The lab-grown diamonds are said to be available in over 5000 stores in both brick-and-motor and on-line.
“Synthetic diamonds are 20 to 40% cheaper than natural diamonds at the business to business (B2B) level, what we do see over the last few months is that prices have gone up so much due to lack of supply,” he said.
Polishing of the lab-grown diamonds was still taking place mainly in India and China.
Other centres include Israel, Thailand and Russia.
The diamond industry, at large, has about 600 000 polishers in India of which 3000 to 5000 were actively polishing synthetic diamonds.
“Synthetic diamonds go through the same pipeline as natural diamonds,” said Backaert.
“There is a need for clear segregation within the supply chain.”

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished