“Man-made diamonds” are not just a substitute for traditional diamonds

Diamond marketing has been called "the biggest marketing scam of the 20th century" by some because of its artificial rarity and sentimental value.

With the popularization of science in the 2006 movie "Blood Diamond", more people have learned that behind these shining gems are armed conflict and blood.

However, when the technology for growing diamonds grown in laboratories matures and begins to enter the consumer market, some consumers will think that artificial gemstones lack the love connotation of natural diamonds.

In the jewelry industry, whether diamonds or lab-grown diamonds, they seem to be facing an "existential crisis."

Founded in 2019, "The Future Rocks" is an e-commerce platform focused on cultivating gem and jewelry products, with a selection of design brands from different countries around the world.

In November last year, The Future Rocks launched its self-designed product The Ring. The special feature of this ring is that its setting is also made of cultured sapphire, which gives the overall visual effect of "diamond suspension".

Recently, we chatted with The Future Rocks CEO Anthony Tsang and CDO Ray Cheng, trying to gain a deeper understanding of consumers in different regions regarding lab-grown diamonds and their views on the potential of this new material.

The following is a condensed and edited transcript of the interview:

ifanr: What are your criteria for selecting brands?

Anthony: Our platform now has more than 20 brands from 13 countries and regions.

Our standards are: first, the design must be made with cultured gemstones; second, the design must be special. The advantage of the platform is that we will first help consumers screen and prepare strategies; thirdly, we hope that the brand has a story, because today's young people not only buy products, but also pay attention to the brand as a whole; Fourth, the cooperative brands are consistent with our sustainable concepts.

We hope to "play" with new materials, such as using cultured gemstones, enamel and other materials. The design should be more avant-garde and bold, and there should be something new for consumers.

▲ In addition to using cultivated diamonds, Maren, a brand on The Future Rocks, also uses recycled rare metals for its designs.

ifanr: What is the current user composition of the platform?

Anthony: American users have the highest awareness, but the Chinese market is developing very fast. We only started launching it in China in 2022, and now the user ratios in the Chinese and American markets are very close. In addition, the response from the Japanese market has been good.

ifanr: What are the similarities and differences between users in different markets?

Anthony: Consumers in the United States and China tend to be younger, while consumers in Japan are slightly older.

American consumers prefer products with a large calorie count, Japanese consumers prefer relatively sophisticated products, and Chinese consumers pay more attention to cost-effectiveness.

Based on this insight, the series we promote in different markets will have certain differences. This is also the benefit of being a platform. We have products ranging from tens of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars, which can meet the needs of different groups.

▲ The Future Rocks x Lightbox Jewelry collaboration product

ifanr: "A diamond is forever, a diamond lasts forever" is said about natural diamonds. So what do you think is the story of lab-grown diamonds?

Anthony: I think the value of lab-grown diamonds is not limited to the value of the diamond itself, but the entire product, including the design and the story behind the designer.

Lab-grown diamonds can be cut more freely. While natural diamonds are also available, the cost of doing so is very high, so it’s difficult to do something personal and innovative, whereas there is more room for lab-grown diamonds.

The story of lab-grown diamonds is not that the whole world can tell only one story, but that everyone can tell a unique story.

ifanr: As you have been working on platforms before, why do you want to design The Ring yourself?

Anthony: It embodies our company’s pursuit of innovation and “playing with materials.”

In terms of material experimentation, the raw material of The Ring setting is a 60-carat cultured sapphire, which is cut into a ring setting of about 10 carats, and the loss is considerable.

With this design, the diamonds are held up as if they are suspended.

Ray: From a designer's perspective, lab-grown diamonds do provide a lot of freedom for innovation, while traditional diamonds may not dare to use such bold designs.

ifanr: Why is the ring setting made of cultured sapphire instead of cultured diamond?

Ray: In addition to bringing out the design information, using cultured sapphire can also reduce the overall cost of the ring, allowing more people to have the opportunity to experience it.

Moreover, we also use processes that exceed industry standards when processing sapphire. Its cutting and polishing technology allows the overall performance to reach the level of diamonds.

We have a senior master who spent 59 hours slowly polishing it by hand, and the cutting accuracy is very high.

ifanr: How long did it take for The Ring to come to fruition?

Ray: About two years. When making such breakthrough and innovative products, many things actually go hand in hand with technological development.

For example, when we started preparations two or three years ago, the technology had not developed enough to support us in such precise craftsmanship.

The technology related to cultivated diamonds is also changing with each passing day, and the development of design and technology is like a see-saw.

ifanr: From a designer’s perspective, what new space does lab-grown diamonds provide you?

Ray: We can make some new categories of jewelry.

Traditionally, jewelry includes rings, earrings, and necklaces, and they certainly have their own meaning.

But the formation of these jewelry categories is also due to a limitation brought by traditional gem shapes. Lab-grown diamonds can set aside these limitations and take on new shapes and forms.

As a wearer, you can also think about it, what is the meaning of jewelry to you? Is jewelry meant to be worn on your hand? Are there other possibilities?

ifanr: Think about it, what other possibilities do you think there are?

Ray: Lab-grown diamonds themselves can also be used in cutting-edge technologies, such as semiconductors.

Perhaps, future jewelry can also accommodate high-tech elements – maybe your ring can also have memories.

▲ In the science fiction drama "Your Marriage Is Not Your Marriage", the matchmaking agency is also a "mobile phone"

People don’t just make lab-grown diamonds for jewelry either. It’s just that the relationship between jewelry and diamonds is more familiar to the public. It is a good medium to communicate with the public and let the public understand cultivated diamonds.

Next, we may be able to let the public know that cultivated gemstones are not just diamonds, nor do they only have a single purpose and meaning. As technology develops, it may become a more high-tech product and gradually enter consumers' lives. Just like today’s lab-grown diamonds.

Maybe everyone can look at lab-grown diamonds with a more open mind.

Lab-grown diamonds and traditional diamonds are not substitutes and substitutes. They can be completely different things.

# Welcome to follow the official WeChat public account of aifaner: aifaner (WeChat ID: ifanr). More exciting content will be provided to you as soon as possible.

Ai Faner | Original link · View comments · Sina Weibo