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De Beers is also investing $94 million over four years to build a U.S. factory that will churn out 500,000 carats of lab-grown gems a year and Chinese producers are stepping up their output of cheap manufactured diamonds. “I think De Beers will keep the pressure up and may even cut prices further from the $800 level once they get their new factory up and running,” a diamond industry executive who used to work for De Beers said on condition of anonymity. Until about five years ago, diamonds produced from carbon using complex technology had largely been shunned by jewelers as a fringe product, even though they have been used in industry for decades best luxury cufflinks uk online.

But man-made gem-quality diamonds have enjoyed growing sales from millennials attracted by the prospect of cheaper stones that are guaranteed to be conflict-free best luxury cufflinks uk online. The industry has attracted investors from Silicon Valley and Hollywood, including “Blood Diamond” star Leonardo DiCaprio, who helps promote man-made diamonds as ethical and low-carbon – claims that are disputed by the natural diamond sector. While the nascent lab-grown sector can still be profitable with a wider discount to natural gems, the eye-watering margins at a string of start-ups could be threatened if prices continue to fall, especially for larger gems, analysts and insiders said..

Public data is not available for the privately-held lab-grown diamond firms, but Zimnisky calculates many have core profit margins of about 50 percent. Retailers selling both natural and lab-grown diamonds are also less likely to apply the same sales pressure to lab-grown diamonds once the incentive of huge margins has been eroded. “The idea of De Beers is clearly to set a price point where it may deter large volumes of capital to come into the lab-grown diamond market,” said Morgan Stanley (MS.N) analyst Menno Sanderse. “They are trying to minimize the tail risk of the substitution scenario.” best luxury cufflinks uk online.

‘HIGH-RISK GAMBLE’. While operating costs of man-made diamonds are falling, initial investments can be steep, handing De Beers an advantage given it is backed by mining company Anglo American (AAL.L). De Beers declined to comment on its costs. It said it was selling lab-grown diamonds at a profit, refuting suggestions from rivals that it is dumping the man-made gems on the market. De Beers says it simply saw a demand for lab-grown diamonds and now technology is sophisticated enough to produce gem quality as well as industrial stones, it decided to fill it best luxury cufflinks uk online.

So far, lab-grown diamonds only account for about 2 percent of the overall diamond jewelery market. California’s Diamond Foundry, backed by DiCaprio and Silicon Valley investors, is among dozens of lab-grown gem producers to emerge over the last decade as technology has evolved since the first synthetic industrial-quality diamond was created in 1954. Firms have been attracted by high prices and the ability to extract profits from several areas of the value chain. While the natural diamond industry includes miners, traders, polishers, jewelery makers and retailers, all adding their own margins, the man-made sector controls many if not all of those functions in single firms best luxury cufflinks uk online.