With Interest in Lab-Grown Diamonds Rising, Groups Eye Expansion

The International Grown Diamond Association has helped raise the profile of synthetic gems, despite working on a shoestring budget. Now there’s word of a new group that would focus on marketing in the space.

If you’re planning on buying jewelry this Valentine’s Day, you might find the options a bit more varied than in the past—thanks in no small part to the emergence of lab-grown diamonds, which have already started to change the dynamic of the field.

The International Grown Diamond Association, formed in 2016, has been supporting the industry’s growth. Millennials in particular, according to an IGDA study, have shown interest in lab-grown diamonds: Among those looking for an engagement ring, two-thirds say they’d consider a grown diamond over one that came from a mine, while nearly a quarter (23 percent) said they definitely plan to.

“The growth in awareness and acceptance has been on a classic hockey-stick curve, and it happened without any significant marketing,” Marty Hurwitz, the CEO of MVI Marketing, the firm that conducted the study, said in a news release.

And now there are indications that a larger association play may be coming. JCK, a jewelry industry publication, recently reported that another group is in the works, with the specific goal to increase marketing of lab-grown diamonds. In comments to the magazine, Chris Casey, the former publisher of National Jeweler, revealed that such an organization is in development.

“[We’re] currently in the process of identifying a number of participants for a committee to assist in the development of the mission statement, organizational structure, and key initial areas of focus for the new association,” said Casey, head of the luxury division at the research firm NPD Group.

The shift could be significant for a growing space, as IGDA itself says its relatively small budget has prevented it from doing more promotional work.

But even with its small revenue totals—which JCK pinned at around $45,000 in 2017—IGDA has played an important role on the advocacy front, particularly last year, when the Federal Trade Commission expanded its definition of a diamond to include the lab-grown variety.

After that success, the group, currently run by volunteers, hopes to do an expansion of its own in the coming months, IGDA Secretary Richard Garard told JCK.

“We are in a position to start expanding,” he said of the association’s member roster, which now stands at 50 companies. “A number of organizations now have the strength and depth to want to do it. It was [originally] hard to get a time commitment.”

(FroggyFrogg/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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