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Are Indian consumers ready for Lab Grown Diamonds?
Indian consumers are slowly, but steadily, taking to LGDs; they are seen to be environment- and pocket-friendly -- attributes that are important to millennials, who constitute a significant customer base, finds out Suneeta Kaul
By: Diamond World News Service
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Sep 13 2022 9:58AM
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Reference: 26519  

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Lab Grown Diamonds (LGDs) are an idea whose time has come -- not only are they gaining ground and acceptance in the country, they are also proving to be a major disruptive force in the diamond jewellery industry. Millennials and young adults are particularly drawn to them in view of their eco-friendly tag and pocket-friendly pricing.

However, LGDs are still having to fight whisper campaigns that they are not real diamonds. The fact is that LGDs are 100% real diamonds, and not imitation diamonds, as cubic zirconia or moissanite are. They have the same chemical, physical and optical properties as mined diamonds.

“There is lack of awareness about LGDs,” says Parag Agrawal, Co-founder and CEO, Fiona Diamonds, Bangalore, adding, “We need more and more retailers to start promoting them in order to create a bigger market. Acceptance comes only post awareness. Once the consumer looks at designer jewellery made with LGDs at a much lesser cost, acceptance will follow naturally. And with good branding, products, policy and pricing, we can win over the consumers and make them ready for LGD jewellery.  In the next two years the snowball effect will be so big, the market will explode!”

Parag Agrawal, Fiona Diamonds, Bangalore

There is lack of awareness about LGDs. We need more and more retailers to start promoting them in order to create a bigger market. Acceptance comes only post awareness. Once the consumer looks at designer jewellery made with LGDs at a much lesser cost, acceptance will follow naturally.


The US has seen the biggest shift towards LGDs, with surveys revealing that 70% of millennials would consider buying a lab-grown diamond over a mined diamond. Demand is increasing in India as well, albeit slowly. “The unique and independent personality of lab grown diamonds as a sustainable and environmentally friendly, yet affordable, gemstone is extremely well accepted by the Indian millennial consumers, and this is increasingly reflecting in the sales of lab grown diamond studded jewellery across India,” explains Pooja Sheth, Managing Director & Founder, Limelight Lab Grown Diamonds, Mumbai.


Pooja Sheth, Limelight Lab Grown Diamonds, Mumbai

Since lab grown diamonds are nearly 60%-70% cheaper than a mined diamond, consumers have begun to opt for a much larger stone than a mined diamond of the same size. LGDs appeal to the eco-conscious and ethical sensibilities of young consumers. In order to promote them further, the industry needs to launch promotional campaigns.

 

“Since lab grown diamonds are nearly 60%-70% cheaper than a mined diamond, consumers have begun to opt for a much larger stone than a mined diamond of the same size. LGDs appeal to the eco-conscious and ethical sensibilities of young consumers. In order to promote them further, the industry needs to launch promotional campaigns. Apart from regular campaigns using traditional and digital media, a very powerful way to promote a brand and disseminate a campaign message is through influencer marketing. It is a smart way to use someone’s influence to promote your brand to a potential consumer. Brands have a huge potential to tap through bloggers and influencers to leverage the potential of digital word-of-mouth,” she adds.


Dipu Mehta, ORRA Fine Jewellery, Mumbai

The LGD market in India is maturing fast. Many brands are launching LGD jewellery, and educating people about the benefits of LGDs. Awareness levels are growing. Social media is doing its bit in popularizing the category. Though it is taking a bit of time, the market is definitely growing.

 

The fact that several brands are launching LGD jewellery points to the growing acceptance of the category. According to Dipu Mehta, Managing Director & Promoter, ORRA Fine Jewellery, Mumbai, “The LGD market in India is maturing fast. The purchasing patterns of people are changing – they are opting for better designs, and are conscious of their budget. This is true of all strata of the customer base. And there is a large shift towards LGDs. Many brands are launching LGD jewellery, and educating people about the benefits of LGDs. Awareness levels are growing. Social media is doing its bit in popularizing the category. Though it is taking a bit of time, the market is definitely growing.


“We are doing a lot of work on spreading awareness about LGDs. Our marketing spend on an awareness and educational campaign is quite substantial. We are connecting with consumers and explaining to them that LGDs are essentially the same as mined diamonds – the latter took 3 billion years to form, the former takes three weeks to be ready. The end result is the same – you get a diamond. Our LGD brand, Divaa, is doing very well. As an incentive, we are offering EMIs and 0% down payment facility, and this has worked for us.”

Even as consumer acceptance of LGDs is increasing, most retailers agree that LGDs are not a replacement for natural diamonds. “Ethically, LGDs should be marketed as a separate category – and there is enough merit in this category,” opines Pratap Kamath, managing Director, Abaran Timeless Jewellery, Bengaluru, adding, “We are very positive towards LGDs. They have a lot of potential, and are the closest to a natural diamond. Moreover, they are environment-friendly, and you get them at a much lesser price. But they should be clearly marked as synthetic diamonds, and marketed as such. Some LGD retailers have been comparing them to IVF babies, but this is misleading. An IVF baby still needs a mother’s womb, whereas an LGD does not need to be put back in earth. It gets ready outside the earth in a few weeks. Overall, the market is evolving and there are immense possibilities,” he adds.

Looking at the way the market for LGD jewellery is increasing, one can safely conclude that LGDs, too, are a girl’s best friend!

Pratap Kamath, Abaran Timeless Jewellery, Bengaluru

We are very positive towards LGDs. They have a lot of potential, and are the closest to a natural diamond. Moreover, they are environment-friendly, and you get them at a much lesser price. But they should be clearly marked as synthetic diamonds, and marketed as such.

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