What Will Tiffany & Co. Do About Lab Diamonds?

The iconic luxury diamond brand has fired shots at the ever-growing trend of choosing lab diamonds over traditional mined diamonds….

As more and more millennials come of age and start thinking about marriage, more and more lab diamond companies crop up. Today’s couples are shunning traditional mined diamonds in droves because of the environmental and social damage they can and often do cause in certain parts of the world. Lab diamonds are also a fraction of the cost of their mined counter parts, so it’s no wonder this cash-strapped generation is all about the lab-grown bling.

So what are all those luxury diamond retailers doing about this trend that refuses to go away? DeBeers have decided to jump on the bandwagon by launching their own lab-grown brand, Lightbox. Graff are doing what they’ve always done; target the top end of the luxury scale, especially super-rich markets in China and the Far East, and pretend lab diamonds aren’t the competition.

But the iconic Tiffany & Co. have come up with a slightly different strategy. In a drive to reassure customers that their mined diamonds are definitely not evil, they’ve launched the Diamond Source Initiative. Every newly sourced, individually registered diamond weighing over 0.18 carats can be traced by the customer from their finger all the way back to the mine it came from. Here’s a brief explainer:

It’s all thanks to a unique T&CO serial number laser-engraved onto each diamond – but don’t worry, it’s invisible to the naked eye. As well as the minute laser engraving, their diamonds will also come with a certificate detailing all the necessary information, and from 2020 customers will also be able to trace where their diamond was cut and polished too. It may not seem like such a huge deal, but for a brand with such a global reach, it’s a pretty big step.

So does this mean Tiffany & Co. will just be more transparent about their mined diamonds, and will never branch into lab-grown diamonds? Who knows what will happen in the future, but this is what Andy Hart, their Senior Vice President of Diamond and Jewelry Supply, has to say about it for now:

“Our position is lab-grown diamonds are not a luxury material. We don’t see a role for them in a luxury brand. They have their use and they have their place, but I think luxury consumers will continue to desire the rarity and amazing story of natural diamonds.”

Hmm. We certainly applaud Tiffany & Co. for their efforts to improve transparency in the diamond industry, but we can’t help thinking they may change their approach to lab diamonds eventually.