Do Gen Y & Z Care About Diamonds?

As Gen Z and millennials are on a fast track to becoming the biggest consumers of luxury – Bain & Co estimate 75% by 2026 – should diamond brands, whether mined or lab-grown, be paying extra attention? Traditionally, the world of luxury; fashion accessories, luxury cars or fine jewellery, has catered towards a clientele of a certain age. The growing demands of these newer generations mean that to stay ahead, brands should - and ultimately - need to adjust products and sales channels to suit this tech-savvy and eco-conscious group. But what does the young consumer really want?

Green luxury is a recurring hot topic in the industry, and it’s one the fine jewellery industry in particular needs to take note of. Where this becomes a problem for the mined diamond industry is a heightened awareness about social and environmental risks with Gen Y & Z. Yes, some mined diamonds are not as bad as others, but internet discourse and untruths have tarnished the reputation of even the most respected jewellers, with some believing that all mined diamonds are blood diamonds.

Lab-grown diamonds, however, appeal to this group for multiple reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, they are around 50-60% cheaper than mined diamonds. In an economic climate where young people are facing crises around the world, they want a luxury product - but certainly not for a luxury price. This is why we have seen “dupe culture” skyrocket in the last few years on social media, with young netizens sharing their lookalike products. The demand for comparable products at low prices is driving up demand for lab-grown diamonds, and the experts are agreeing too. Pandora CEO Alexander Lacik  [who announced the brand would exclusively use lab-grown diamonds] commented that “customers—when it comes to the bridal engagement space—are opting for spending the same or similar amount of money, but for a significantly larger stone,” in an interview with Fortune magazine.

Arguably, if price was the only consideration, there are cheaper options than lab-grown diamonds, such as cubic zirconia. Whilst price is a consideration, having a product that focuses on being sustainable, or ‘green’ is a huge added bonus, and lab-grown diamond brands more often than not have their ethos at the forefront of their marketing. Statistics are showing that these generations not only want to spend on sustainable products, but are also willing to spend more, and in the case of high-ticket items like fine jewellery - they want to know they’re getting what they’re paying for. So though they want to feel they are getting a good deal, if the product is slightly more than they want to spend, but the brand has evidence to back that the product is sustainable or has ethical values, they’ll still be likely to swipe their card.

Old-school mined diamond jewellery brands are likely never to go out of business thanks to their loyal Ultra-High-Net-Worth clientele, and certainly aren’t going to be switching to lab-grown stones anytime soon. However, new-age lab-grown diamond brands are targeting this upcoming generation of spenders. So although Gen Y and Z care about diamonds, it’s lab-grown all the way for the majority.  In a world trying to push every product imaginable through airbrushed campaigns and paid influencers, they just want brands to tell them the truth about the products they are buying. Though lab-grown diamonds aren’t all faultless, jewellers and brands in the space are more willing to do a level of due diligence that the old-school natural diamond brands have previously glossed over – perhaps just because they could get away with it.

Brands looking to pay heed to the concerns of these generations, and be ahead of the game can utilise platforms like Clear Neutral to offset the emissions from their lab-grown diamonds by investing in projects that their clientele care about. For more information about how we can help, get in touch here.