De Beers to Halt Production of Lab-Grown Diamonds

  •  Move follows Masisi’s strong disapproval of the synthetics in the US recently
  • De Beers says it will focus on its jewellery marketing of mined natural diamonds


De Beers has announced a decision to put an end to its production of lab-grown diamonds after a six-year experimental run.

The diamond mining giant in which Botswana has a 15 percent stake has elected to focus its efforts on natural, mined diamonds while shifting its synthetic diamonds project to industrial purposes only.

CEO Al Cook made the announcement in a side line interview with Forbes at the JCK Trade Show in Las Vegas, USA on Monday last week.

Industrial applications 

In 2018, De Beers entered the synthetic diamond market and introduced its own products of synthetic diamond jewellery with the Lightbox lab-grown diamond line.

De Beers has discovered an opportunity for lab-grown diamonds in advanced technology and industrial applications, putting an end to selling them as part of its commercial portfolio.

“As the value of lab grown diamonds continues to fall, their focus increasingly shifts to lower priced fashion jewellery rather than the meaningful pieces people buy to celebrate the key moments in life,” Cook told Forbes.

President’s disapproval  

“We see the long-term opportunities for synthetic diamonds, as they are known in the tech space, being in a range of exciting technology applications due to the extreme physical properties that make them ideal for use in high value applications like 6G technology, semiconductors and quantum computing.”

The move coincides with President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s well-documented disapproval of synthetic diamonds during one of the world’s biggest diamond trade shows in Las Vegas last week.

Threat to Botswana 

The President stated that the existence of lab-grown diamonds presents a threat to Botswana’s revenue making stream of natural diamond production and trading.

In a previous address, the President stated: “If lab-grown diamonds take our space, then you and I are finished.”

He repeated the remarks as he addressed major international diamond traders, producers and exhibitors in Las Vegas, downplaying the value of synthetics.