‘Man-made diamond’ wedding ring sparks market shift

Image copyright AFP Image caption The Mercedes-Maybach Coupe Coupe is one of the many man-made diamonds sold

Wanna pop the question? And to help you out, how about … a “man-made diamond”?

The diamond industry is claiming the “wedding industry” has switched to the trend.

Consumers are spending more on engagement rings, so marketing firms are compiling brand new products for the moment.

One example is a “stone” made from mini diamonds measuring only one-half of an inch (ten millimetres).

The stone’s manufacturers are basing sales on the success of they “wedding” industry, people buying diamonds for their loved ones.

Fariba Kami of the British Diamond Industry Council told Associated Press (AP): “Man-made diamond is something a person customises for himself or herself.”

Because of that, the mini diamonds cost less than a conventional diamond, and don’t take up a lot of room in a ring.

But they can make money for those who make them. A little boy in Antwerp set up the jewelry firm Digi-Jewelers in his grandmother’s former shoe shop.

Image copyright AP Image caption Just 16 of the six-inch diamonds can be ordered for around £330 per hole

This small, cheap slice of the diamond market is growing rapidly and is the ideal complement to the huge retail diamond companies, it says.

“Man-made diamond has developed into an alternative to traditional diamonds and people who are interested in the sustainability of the industry are looking for alternative diamonds,” Mr Kami said.

News reports claimed some single women had “bought diamonds” for themselves for around £1,200 ($1,720) – but the diamonds were in fact the man-made variety.

Separately, Swiss company Eclisse International collects and mines naturally-created diamonds at the summit of dormant volcanoes across the world and then crafts them into high-quality, jewellery-grade gems.

Eclisse’s head of sales, Francois-Xavier Eymar, said that its popular “earth diamond” product was “the new trend in the diamond world”.

“What people want today are exclusive stones but at a good price,” he said.

This may not be the first time diamonds have been marketed as “man-made”.

They were first embedded in bollards to protect embassies during the Arab Spring, but proved so popular, they’re now used to protect other buildings, rivers and even buildings.

Of course, news of big mergers and acquisitions in the diamond industry have been important – especially when it comes to diamond companies losing out – to other organisations.

In April, Qatar became the first Middle Eastern country to buy a stake in an exploration firm to supply the jewel sector.

“Qatar is the first Gulf state to become an investor in the mineral resources sector through Dominion Diamond Corporation, following an announcement earlier this year to develop the Chidliak diamond mine in Canada,” one market analyst said.

The gem itself is about 7kg (17lb) and was discovered by miners in Ekati.

But the introduction of diamond-hunting technology has not been matched by a surge in supply as two companies, Petra Diamonds and Rio Tinto, have shut down mines around the world in recent years.

Still, industry analysts believe the trend will continue.

“[Investment in technology] is likely to increase in the coming years,” one analyst said.

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