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Lightbox To Sell Loose Lab-Grown Diamonds To Consumers, Further Challenging Prices |  October 19, 2021 (0 comments)


Gresham, OR—Lightbox, the lab-grown diamond brand developed by De Beers Group, will now sell loose stones to consumers online, using its linear $800/carat price structure. Lightbox Loose Stones launched October 19 on the Lightbox website, giving consumers the option to purchase individual white, pink, or blue Lightbox lab-grown diamonds in round or princess cuts in a range of sizes up to two carats. 

The concept for Lightbox Loose Stones evolved as the company saw a growing demand from customers, particularly women self-purchasers, looking for bespoke design options, says a statement from the company. Lightbox responded with an online purchase and referral experience where shoppers buy the loose stones and browse a vetted list of established jewelers known for their custom design work. The website also shows a selection of finished pieces intended to inspire visitors with ideas for creating their own piece. 

“From the beginning, we have had enquiries from consumers who see our lab-grown diamonds as an opportunity to explore their creativity, making something that is unique to them,” said Lightbox CEO Steven Coe. “We are thrilled to launch this exciting new concept that offers a simple and accessible way to create affordable custom-designed lab-grown diamond fashion jewelry. Lightbox Loose will open up a world of possibilities for consumers to experiment with customization, personalization, and creative design.” 

The launch comes just as the lab-grown diamond market is facing a pricing anomaly: rising consumer demand and declining prices. Normally, high demand would push prices up, but diamond industry analyst Edahn Golan says the exact opposite is happening in the lab-grown sector, especially for larger goods 0.70 carat and above. 

Golan explains that wholesalers are being squeezed between producers and retailers, who are standing firm on prices they're willing to pay and the kind of goods they want. The price delta between natural and lab-grown stones now stands at 60%, and year-on-year, lab-grown prices have declined 42.7%.

When Lightbox launched its $800/carat product in 2018, industry observers wondered if it would reset the entire lab-grown price structure. Its competitor growers believed the stones' price was either just a false marketing ploy or, if real, a terrible-looking product. But Abe Sherman of BIG recently put that theory to rest after taking a Lightbox stone to the American Gem Society Laboratory for grading. What skeptics assumed would be a poor-quality stone turned out to be 1.02 carat, H/VVS2, with an AGS cut grade of 1, or “near ideal cut.” How long, asked Sherman, can competitors sell similar qualities for two or three times the price? 

Related: Lightbox, De Beers’ Lab-Grown Brand, Bumps Up Size, Quality Offerings

It’s a valid question. Three years on, Lightbox’s pricing has not reset the entire market—yet, anyway. The loose stone offering follows on the heels of the company’s August launch of larger sizes in its standard collection and a new “Lightbox Finest” collection of better quality (and higher priced) stones. Standard Lightbox stones—including Lightbox Loose—are G through J color, VS clarity, very good cut, and $800 per carat, maximum size two carats. Lightbox Finest stones are D through F color, VVS clarity, excellent cut, and $1,500 per carat with a maximum size of one carat. Every Lightbox lab-grown diamond is inscribed with a quality mark, visible through a 10x loupe. 

As Sherman aptly puts it, “You can no longer claim to be unaware that these goods exist, at these prices, at this quality level.”

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