Ramble On Ron

Diamonds, Music and other Facets of Life

Diamond Market Report 2022

Posted on | December 9, 2022 | No Comments

I can’t believe my last diamond market report was in 2015. Where did the time go? COVID, getting lost in transactions, trying to keep things going here, opening a new office in Richmond, we’ve been busy. The diamond market has been pretty volatile the past few years, below are my thoughts:

How have Lab Grown Diamonds (LGD) Affected Market Prices?

I’ve wrote about lab grown back in 2016 and expressed my concerns about the second hand market. Aside from fraud and people trying to pass them off as natural diamonds, (we had to buy $6,000 testers for our offices) I wondered if these stones would carry any second hand value. The answer seven years later is NO. That’s the issue for me, the intrinsic value of lab grown diamonds are ZERO. Not because they don’t look nice, it’s because I keep seeing these goods offered from dealers for less and less. So for me to purchase one from the public makes no sense. I can acquire them for so little these days new from the manufacturer, that we can’t pay anything for them second hand. Because they can be grown for so little, retailers LOVE selling them. Big profits, nice looking product, but no trades…

The fact that LGD’s are cheap and look nice has lead the lower quality diamond market to fall. We buy and sell it all here, and I’m seeing that the “bluff” stone market, (I2 and lower colors) keeps going down. The reason is that if you put a 2 carat low quality natural diamond next to a high quality lab grown for cheaper, the customer always picks the LGD.

Then we go back to the same old story. Nicer goods still bring good prices. Shape wise, rounds are still king, ovals have been hot for a few years, marquise and pears are pretty strong and princess cuts are dead. They were the hottest stone of the late 90’s early 2000’s but it seems that princess cut diamonds have fallen out of favor.

Melee (small diamonds) prices are not bad. They fell pre-pandemic but made a comeback. Hopefully this means that India is back to manufacturing and exporting to a higher level than then when the pandemic hit.

It looks like LGD has legs for a certain type of shopper. All of the majors carry them. In 2015, I discussed that the sustainability factor was a non-issue and talked about the fact that recycled diamonds are a better option if you’re concerned about that. Since then, we’ve learned that growing man made diamonds take a lot of energy and materials so they are not as sustainable as advertised.

In conclusion, I am cautiously optimistic on the diamond market. There are always disrupters to any industry. As usual, it’s ADAPT OR DIE…