Diamonds on a Dime: LGDs Being Sold at Throwaway Prices Across the US

Deteriorating Condition of Lab-Grown Diamond (LGD) Industry Sparks Concern as Street Vendors in New York's Manhattan sell LGD ring for $20 per piece


Surat : A shocking video of lab-grown diamonds (LGDs) being sold for a mere $20 on the bustling streets of Canal Street in lower Manhattan has sent shockwaves through the diamond industry. The viral video captured a street vendor offering 1-carat LGD diamond rings for the astonishingly low price, casting doubt on the industry’s future.

In the video that has spread like wildfire on social media, a customer approached the street vendor and inquired about the price of an LGD ring. The vendor responded, “A one-carat lab-grown diamond typically costs $100 per piece, but I’m selling them for just $20 each.” Despite negotiating to purchase three LGD rings for $20, the vendor refused the offer, emphasizing the staggering drop in prices.

What raised eyebrows even further was the presence of a certificate from a well-known gemological laboratory in the viral video. Canal Street, a 1.6-kilometer-long stretch of commerce in the heart of Manhattan’s Chinatown, has long been known for its bustling market atmosphere, but the sight of LGDs being sold at a fraction of their usual price with certificates added an element of intrigue.

The LGD industry, once touted as the future of ethical and affordable diamonds, is now facing a crisis. Consumers in developed countries, who once embraced LGDs as an alternative to natural diamonds, are increasingly perceiving them as mere stones with diminishing value.

Surat, India, the diamond manufacturing hub, witnessed substantial growth in its LGD industry, primarily driven by the overwhelming demand from the United States—the largest consumer market for LGDs. However, over the past year, consumers in the US have shifted their preferences away from LGD diamond jewelry, posing significant challenges for the industry.

India’s LGD diamond exports have been on a steady decline in 2023, with a 34% drop in April, 21% in May, 34% in June, 28% in July, and 17% in August. While there has been a slight recovery in LGD trade in August compared to the preceding months, both international and domestic buyers appear to be steering clear of LGD purchases.

The oversupply of LGDs in Surat and Mumbai has also led to drastic measures, such as a reported 90% discount negotiation by a Labgrown dealer at a recent Sparkle gems and jewellery exhibition organized by the Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SGCCI).