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The US consumer market is the key market for the diamond industry, responsible for about 40% of global demand by value. However, although the US is the leading market, it is a very stable one, for better or for worse. While stability in a business is valuable, it is difficult to generate a drive for growth in a stable environment.

Last week, we looked at the history of synthetic diamond manufacturing, and saw how it began in the late 1800s. While the machines for growing diamonds have improved tremendously over the past few decades, the methodology of today is not very different than it was in the 1950s, when GE pioneered the mass production of industrial-quality synthetic diamond. For the moment, there are two primary methods of manufacturing diamonds that most in the industry are familiar with. But there are, however, other processes that for the moment are cost prohibitive and do not possess the ability to mass-produce diamonds of any quality. But as technology improves, and as other technologies built for other industries become applicable to the manufacturing of diamonds, we may still see further developments. Let’s take a closer look at how diamonds are being synthesized in laboratories today.

It seems that the US has always been the largest consumer market for diamond jewelry, and, for many years, Japan the second largest. It also used to be that Japan was the second largest economy after the US. Those days are gone. Today, China is the ‘Giant in the East,’ and as such, the second largest diamond consumer market. The shift of many exports to a different economy, with a different business and social culture, required a shift in approach. The diamond industry had to learn that new culture, adapt to it, and find ways to grow it.

Synthetic, lab-grown, artisan-created, man-made, or cultured. Whatever you choose to call them, lab-grown diamonds are highly controversial these days, and the diamond media reports regularly on new developments in this growing industry. Whether you like it or not, lab-grown diamonds are not going away, and the technology used to grow them is improving rapidly. As with any product or service, when there is demand for something, companies will continue to enter the marketplace to provide the supply to meet that demand. The demand for lab-grown diamonds is growing in some of the major diamond-consuming nations, but not in others. In my next series of articles, I will take an in-depth look at the burgeoning phenomenon of lab-grown diamonds. I’ll examine their history, how they are made, and their applications. I’ll also discuss how the natural diamond market is reacting to them, how the supply/demand fundamentals are shaping up, and how they are currently being priced in the market.

"One of the most satisfying moments in my career to date was the night I was privileged enough to sell a 12.03 carat blue diamond, the Blue Moon, at Sotheby’s in Geneva for $48.5m in November 2015. The diamond still holds the world record for the highest price paid per carat for any diamond ever sold at auction – $4.1m. Within minutes of the diamond selling, it was announced that the new buyer would re-name this dazzling, ocean blue diamond the Blue Moon of Josephine, in honour of his then seven year old daughter. Now if that’s not an investment for the future, I don’t know what is".. (Ehud Laniado, EAT LOVE SAVOR® International Luxury Lifestyle Magazine)

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