b'SHOWSTHE LAB- 5 RETAILTHEWRAP-UPWENTGROWNTRENDS SWEET DARK QUESTION SPOTgagement ring they pick right nowwith a trade show. is going to be the ring thats onIN LAB-GROWN DIAMONDS,When Hoover went to Las their finger for life.THERE IS NO VALUE- Vegas for the trade shows a few They think of it more as a start- RETENTION DISCUSSIONmonths later, he felt ready to start er ring, akin to a starter home. Itslooking at some stones but found a place to begin, with the hopes ofAMONG CONSUMERS.vendors werent exactly plentiful. moving into something bigger andINSTEAD, CONSUMERS AREAmong those that were exhibit-better in the future.ing at the show, Hoover found only Ferrari points out many couplesEYEING VALUE OF PURCHASE a handful that had the quality and today have financial obligationsGETTING AS MUCH OF Aselection he was looking for, he says. that past generations didnt whenDIAMOND FOR AS It wasnt until the next year, they were getting engaged. They2018, that JCK Las Vegas orga-might already own a home, for ex- LITTLE AS POSSIBLE. nizers added a dedicated section ample, or have children together. for lab-grown diamonds and, even The latter may be more com-EDAHN GOLAN, INDUSTRY ANALYST then, the section topped off at 29 mon than you think.exhibitors. U.S. Census Bureau data cited inAt this years JCK Las Vegas a 2018 article from the Pew Research Center shows thatshow, nearly 70 companies selling lab-grown stones were between 1970 and 2016, the number of unmarriedset to exhibit before COVID-19 forced the cancellation of women (either single mothers or women livingall the Vegas shows. with a nonmarital partner) having babies roseAmong the companies now selling lab-grown diamonds are a from 26 births per 1,000 women to 42 birthsnumber of familiar names, companies that have been in the industryper 1,000 women.and, in some cases, selling natural diamondsfor decades: Benchmark, At the same time, the birth rate amongChatham, Frederick Goldman, M. Geller, Overnight Mountings, Quali-married women declined, resulting inty Gold, Richline Group, Stuller and Swarovski.unmarried women accounting for four inOthers are new brands or offshoots of some of the 10 births in 2016, or 40 percent.industrys largest diamond companies. Altr, for Budgeting for an engagement ringexample, is the lab-grown diamond arm of becomes a different exercise when you haveR.A. Riam Group. kids to support and its one of the reasons some couplesIts a fact that hasnt gone unnoticed today are open to a lot of different options, including lab-grownby Hoover, who was hard-pressed to diamonds, says Ferrari.pull together a viable selection of the stones just a few years ago. FROM SCARCE TO SATURATED Its so funny, he remarks. Now all my Though the lab-grown diamond market stillbig diamond companies, theyre onto lab-grown diamonds. A lot of the represents only a sliver of the total diamond mar- big boys are going to them. ket, the number of suppliers carrying them hasRetailers new to the category should begin their search for lab-exploded in the past couple of years, seeminglygrown diamonds with large, familiar suppliers, recommends ignited by De Beers 2018 bombshell announce- Chris Casey, president of the Lab-Grown Diamond Council. ment it was launching Lightbox.Start with people you know and ask them if theyre And jewelers, who are getting more and more calls from ven- in the lab-grown business, he says. Start with who dors asking if they want to carry lab-grown diamonds in their stores,you know, and there are a lot of them.have noticed.He points out that both large and small diamond It was late 2016 when Brian Hoover, owner of Avant Garde Jew- companies are taking a position in the category. elers in Austin, Texas, says he first started fielding questions fromTheres huge potential, and we dont know consumers about lab-grown diamonds in his store. whether we will realize that potential, we dont know A Canadian chain had just opened a branch in his fast-grow- what it will ultimately be, but this is truly a product ing college town, advertising its artisan-created diamonds, andLightbox startedthat can come in and not only capture a share of the young people began trickling into his store asking, what are these?selling piercedexisting market but, to the Lightbox side of things, lab-grown The jeweler didnt know a lot, but he figured hed better find out.diamond earringshelp expand the market by creating a real bridge.As a rule, Hoover doesnt sell anything in his store until heand pendants, likeThink about relatively affordable diamond the one pictured researches it so that hes prepared to answer questions. If youhere, in product. Its not been available before, and we look at my store and reputation, my referralsits all aboutMarch 2019. should get to that point. education and trust, he says.Casey, a former publisher of National Jeweler, and In spring 2017, he flew up to New York at attend an educa- Michael Barlerin, the longtime head of the Silver tion session on lab-grown diamonds being held in conjunctionPromotion Service, started the Lab-Grown Diamond Continued on page 2218 MARKET ISSUE 2020'