Diamond giant De Beers slashed the price of its precious solitaires amid plunging sales as bargain-hunting fiancées increasingly opt for cheaper lab-grown gems.
Among De Beers’ larger stones, one category of mined diamonds had its price slashed by as much as 25%, according to Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter.
The category, called “select makeables,” include big rocks between two and four carats that can be cut into smaller polished stones used in high-quality bridal rings, the outlet reported.
The prices within this category were already slashed heavily last year, sources told Bloomberg, as these mined gems took one of the biggest hits when synthetic options gained mainstream popularity.
Across the board, De Beers’ gems were lowered 10% at its first sale of the year, which typically reflects its largest price cuts, the sources told Bloomberg, asking to remain anonymous when discussing private details.
During its two sales in 2023, the London-based diamond company allowed its customers to refuse all gems they were contracted to buy in the year as it grappled with weak demand and too much stock in the wake of the pandemic, according to Bloomberg.
However, De Beers is no longer allowing its customers to reject its stones, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.
Representatives for De Beers did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.
The hefty price reductions come as natural diamonds lose market share to their lab-grown counterparts, which are nearly impossible to distinguish with the naked eye.
Lab diamonds are typically 60% to 85% cheaper than mined diamonds because making them is more efficient and cost-effective than the laborious process of extracting the jewels from hundreds of miles in the earth’s crust, according to London-based jeweler Queensmith.
For reference, the average one-carat lab diamond goes for roughly $1,290, while a mined diamond of the same weight would be roughly $10,000, according to Queensmith.
Consumers have also lost confidence in a key diamond-mining market, China, after it was hit by a property crisis attributed to the country’s prolonged zero-COVID policy that took a toll on its government and residents’ debt.
Collectively, these factors left the industry with little choice but to curb supply, Bloomberg reported.
Diamond miner, manufacturer and retailer Alrosa PJSC out of Russia — which has recently emerged as a top diamond market — halted all of its sales for two months in September in an attempt to revive plunging prices, according to Bloomberg.
A month later, diamond industry leaders in India implemented a two-month voluntarily suspension of rough diamond imports.
Vipul Shah, chairman of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council, India’s umbrella group for the industry, said at the time that the temporary import ban was intended to clear out the current oversupply of rough and polished gems, according to jewelry trade site JCK Online.
“We have to do what is right for the entire industry. We are seeing falling prices in both rough and polished. We feel if we collectively take action and stop prices from falling, that will boost confidence in the entire industry,” Shah said, according to JCK.