International diamond retailer and miner DeBeers has announced it will begin selling man-made diamonds, according to several sources.
The lab created diamonds will be sold under the company’s Lightbox brand and will cost significantly less than natural ones. These synthetic diamonds mark a major change of pace for the company, which had previously insisted it would never sell man-made stones and had been critical of competitors who did.
According to CNN, the man-made diamonds will cost around $800 for a one carat stone. A similar natural diamond would retail for closer to $8,000 Each will contain a tiny logo that is invisible to the naked eye but serve as an indicator for experts that the stones were produced in a lab. The man-made stones will be available by September.
DeBeers has been producing man-made diamonds for commercial use for some time. These diamonds have been used for drilling in industrial applications, particularly in the oil and natural gas fields. However, this will be the first time the company sells them as jewelry.
DeBeers has been mining diamonds since 1888. By the early 20th century, it controlled nearly 90 percent of the world’s diamonds. It maintained that stranglehold for much of that time, before industry fragmentation and more competition began cutting into its share. It currently operates mines in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Canada.