De Beers is tackling one of the biggest risks to its rough- diamond business head on by setting up its own synthetic- diamond production and sales facility, undercutting its competition and drawing a distinction in the marketing of natural and laboratory-grown diamonds. While the decision to move into laboratory-grown diamonds, which have the same look, hardness and chemical composition as natural diamonds, appears to be at odds with De Beers’s drive to nurture and protect its mined-diamond business, there is a canny strategy underlying the move. De Beers established a business called Lightbox Jewelry, with an initial focus on the US market, to deliver about 250,000 carats a year of cut and polished diamonds from 2020 at prices about 75% below those of other synthetic diamond producers, said De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver. De Beers is investing $94m over four years to build a plant delivering 500,000 carats or more of rough diamonds in Portland, Oregon, using the technology developed at...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, Morningstar financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00.