These Glow-in-the-Dark Diamonds Are Coming to Luxury

By Victoria Gomelsky

07/14/2021

“Demand for diamonds is so great,” Rebecca Foerster, president of Alrosa USA, tells JCK, “the other day I sold half a million dollars in polished goods on the phone, sight unseen.”

Next month, at the Luxury show in Las Vegas, the Russian diamond miner hopes to stimulate a similar rush in demand on its new consumer-facing brand, Luminous Diamonds.

Luminous offers finished diamond jewelry set in white, rose, and yellow gold, with one key distinction: The diamonds are all fluorescent.

“Demand for diamonds is so great,” Rebecca Foerster, president of Alrosa USA, tells JCK, “the other day I sold half a million dollars in polished goods on the phone, sight unseen.”

Next month, at the Luxury show in Las Vegas, the Russian diamond miner hopes to stimulate a similar rush in demand on its new consumer-facing brand, Luminous Diamonds.

Luminous offers finished diamond jewelry set in white, rose, and yellow gold, with one key distinction: The diamonds are all fluorescent.

GIA defines diamond fluorescence as “the effect that ultraviolet (UV) light has on a diamond.”

“When you stand under a blue light or ultraviolet light, sometimes you can see your whites get brighter or your teeth appear to glow,” the GIA writes. “This is the same effect the diamond has under the UV rays. Fluorescence is the visible light that a diamond emits when it is exposed to the UV rays.”

In this 2018 myth-busting post, GIA disputed the idea that all diamonds fluoresce. “In a study of more than 26,000 diamonds submitted for grading to GIA, researchers found that only approximately 25% to 35% of them exhibited some degree of diamond fluorescence when examined with a standard long-wave UV lamp.”

Alrosa, which produces a significant number of diamonds that fluoresce, is committed to changing the reputation that these stones have developed in the trade, where misunderstandings about their characteristics abound.

Below, Foerster discusses some of those misconceptions, as well as why she feels fluorescent diamonds—particularly those set in Luminous Diamonds’ stylish collections, which were introduced in 2020, but will make their real debut “across the independent world” in the second half of 2021—present a real business opportunity for retailers.

“We encourage everybody to stop by our booth at Luxury and experience the world of fluorescence and experience the beauty of this gift of nature,” Foerster says.

Why should retailers invest in fluorescent diamonds?

To me, it’s a business story. This category of diamonds that’s been so neglected and been treated so poorly is now finding its way back to being beautiful, unique, and rare, and we’re starting to see prices elevate. These diamonds should be at least on par with—if not more than—diamonds of the same price and color. They’re very rare.

Why is Alrosa promoting this category?

We have the most rough production of fluorescent diamonds because of the geology where we mine. It’s this beautiful consistent blue. It’s gorgeous. Let’s take this natural gift from Mother Earth and make it something special. We did that by creating the brand Luminous Diamonds.

The industry needs innovation, and this is natural innovation. We’re featuring something that’s already there, connecting it to an emotional value: Follow your inner light. And it’s created this whole new look at these diamonds that, up until a year and a half ago, were heavily discounted.

Why have fluorescent stones gotten such a bad rap?

The history is quite fascinating. It’s all about perception. The perception was that fluorescence can cause a milky appearance to a stone, but all the testing indicates that a very, very small percentage of diamonds look milky— and it’s usually because of something else, not the fluorescence. The reality is when you take a fluorescent stone into the sunlight, it has amazing scintillation and sparkle, and when you put it into UV light it has this secret glow. And in a lot of cases, it lifts the color of the stone, so you might have a G stone that looks like an F because of the sparkle.

Will you be doing anything at Luxury to help prospective buyers understand the diamonds?

We will create an interactive experience for the visitor to the Luminous Diamonds booth to actually see the effect that fluorescence has on diamonds, and we’ll do that with some interesting technology and installations. We’ll share our secret by inviting people into the booth, to travel into a space that’s going to share this gift of nature in a very interesting way. I don’t want to tell too much more, but we want to create different spaces and environments.

How would you describe the Luminous jewelry collection?

It’s fashion jewelry with a unique point of view and design. The designer is in Italy. The collection is focused on the geometric shape of the hexagon, but it’s our own version of the shape.

The hexagon is the strongest shape in nature; look at a beehive. We thought this notion of “follow your inner light”—every woman has her own inner light—should be accompanied by something that symbolizes strength, so we took the shape of the hexagon.

We’ve got three collections that vary in price range: the Lucent collection of more basic rings and pendants, the Starlight collection of statement pieces, and the Moonlight collection of highly stylized fashion pieces.

The inherent value is there and the emotional component is there—it’s our job to help retailers understand and promote it.

Top: Inner Glow earrings in 18k white gold with 1 ct. t.w. fluorescent diamonds and 0.86 ct. t.w. nonfluorescent diamonds, $7,400

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