De Beers, the leading rough diamond producer this week reiterated that synthetic diamonds are not a threat to natural diamonds, despite fears they may affect the former’s sales in future. The diamond group itself has already launched the man-made diamonds.
Nonetheless, the De Beers top executive, Bruce Cleaver has been quick to point out that, lab diamonds ‘can never replace natural diamonds’ in the sense that, customers treat manufactured diamonds as ‘fashion items’ as opposed to natural diamonds which last forever. “They’re not to celebrate life’s greatest moments, but they’re for fun and fashion,” said Cleaver after the company announced they will enter the manufactured diamonds sector in May.
According to available data, global synthetic diamond market was valued at USD 16.83 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach USD 23.8 billion by 2021, growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.14 percent during the forecast period, 2016-2021. The De Beers CEO said to understand why they consider themselves natural diamonds business, one has to look at the investment they have made in the two diamonds business (natural and man-made).
De Beers will spend just over P90 million in the next four years to sustain the synthetic diamonds business. The amount is just a small fraction of what the part-owners of Debswana will continue to spend on mining natural diamonds. “We will always be a natural diamonds business.
This explains why we spend between $10 and $11 billion on our core business (diamond mining),” he said on Tuesday during the annual De Beers Diamond Conference in Gaborone. De Beers, together with its Debswana partner, Botswana Government is currently expanding Jwaneng and Orapa mines under Cut 9 and Cut 3 projects respectively. The above projects, which are yet to kick off, are expected to extend the lifespan’s of the two mines beyond 2030.