Do You Still Have Any Prejudices Concerning Man Made Diamonds? But Celebs Don’t!

There is hardly a person who haven’t watched Oscar award and there is hardly a girl who haven’t paid attention to celebrity’s attire. In order to intensify the beauty of their haute couture dresses, ‘red carpet’ divas prefer to wear only fine jewelry and there is nothing better than diamonds. But it shouldn’t make you jump into conclusion that elite prefer only high-priced jewelry with as much zeros in a price tag as you can hardly imagine. Not at all! Man made diamonds are their recent choice. Don’t you still believe? Hope this information will be convincing enough to dispel negative myth about lab grown diamonds you might heard:

With the dawning of the summer wedding season comes diamond selling opportunities, after all, special occasions call for a frosting of diamonds, just ask the celebs.

But having said that, not all the celebs are insisting on the real deal. In May, the red carpet of the BAFTAs was full of bling but not necessarily from precious stones. Well-known names including Dame Kelly Holmes and actress Melissa George ditched real diamonds and instead were bedecked in attention-grabbing jewellery featuring man-made stones from Carat*.

The diamond market has not been immune from the eurozone crisis, price hikes and changes in fashion. However, industry insiders are adamant that diamonds have not lost their sparkle and that there’s room in the market for both synthetic stones and the real deal.

Like gold, diamonds had a record year in 2011, with prices peaking in the summer before stabilising in quarters three and four. The price hike was linked to a number of market forces, including an increase in rough diamond prices, Swiss watch houses paying premiums on diamonds and strong demand in markets such as China and India.

“Diamond prices hit an all-time high in the middle of last year before correcting themselves,” says Nick Kasler, chief operations officer at diamond brand
Alfred Terry. “However, we have seen prices once again rising since the beginning of this year and in some categories are already back at the peaks of last year. The diamond market has become very volatile, something one never saw in the past, with big price changes in a short span of time.”

Despite factors influencing diamond prices, including lingering economic uncertainties and in India the polished trade declining after the government introduced a 2% import tax in January, Rapaport reported that in April polished diamond prices stabilised somewhat and demand was steady for commercial quality 0.50 carat to 1.10 carat, G-H, VS-SI stones.

However, the eurozone crisis continues to take its toll, and the sector remains cautious, with Rapaport stating that wholesalers and retailers kept polished diamond inventory at low levels throughout April.

Retailer response
UK retailers had to, and still are, responding to market changes. “We experienced the extent of the changes last year when, on one of our buying trips to Antwerp, we noticed many diamond prices had shot up by as much as 25% in only a three-month period,” says Gaynor Haylett, general manager of Baker Brothers, which has stores in Bedford and Letchworth.

“One of the most significant areas of increase is within the smaller diamonds, as a result of several factors; mine production has decreased and both watch and wedding ring companies are purchasing considerably higher quantities of the melee stones than ever before to satisfy an ever-increasing demand for both diamond-set watches and wedding rings. The result is an increased price of 30% to 50% in some areas.”

Scottish retailer Rox has been careful to prevent its customers from feeling the hit. “We took a decision to cut our margin to avoid passing the increase onto our customers,” says Rox co-founder Kyron Keogh. “We also saw micro-set jewellery becoming very expensive so we reduced our range to focus on our most popular and best-selling pieces.”

Manufacturers, such as Canadian company Corona, are keeping a close eye on retailer reaction. “Generally we find the industry is taking a wait-and-see attitude, buying for special orders as usual but placing stock orders in smaller quantities and doing it more frequently,” says Jon Phillips, manager of Canadian Diamonds at Corona. “This way the retailer can adjust its selling prices to market selling prices quicker.”

Trading in the rough diamond market for April was also said by Rapaport to be cautious because polished prices failed to keep up with rough diamond price rises.
James Maxwell, managing partner at 21st Dimension, distributor of Mastercut Diamonds in the UK, explains: “We have seen a disconnect between rough and polished diamond prices, with rough prices continuing to rise without the corresponding rise in polished prices.

“This has meant that diamond manufacturers have found themselves squeezed as there is certainly no consumer appetite for price increases.”

This has been experienced in the Israeli market but the diamond industry there has been resilient. Manufacturers’ margins have taken a hit due to the price of rough diamond rising far more than the resultant polished diamond over the past two years. Israeli Diamond Manufacturers Association managing director Udi Sheintal warns that at some point the margins could disappear, stopping manufacturers from converting rough to polished and creating shortages of polished diamonds, which will push prices up. However, he adds that the Israeli industry has responded to the narrowing margins with efficiency and shortened turnover cycles. “While there are certainly challenges in global demand, the Israeli centre seems to outperform other centres,” he says.

April was a shaky period in growth-market India, with jewellery retailers striking in protest against government proposals to effectively double the customs and excise duty on gemstones, gold and unbranded jewellery.

Rapaport reported that local retail buying was limited and diamond trading confidence had declined. However, the situation improved after the government agreed to review its budget proposal and jewellery retailers reopened for business.

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