With $300 billion worth of Chinese products being charged a 10% tariff starting Sept. 1, it’s more important than ever to become conscious consumers who research the origin and ethics behind products. Diamonds, gemstones, precious metals, and finished jewelry will all be subject to the increase.
For 2018, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that China exported over $2 billion in finished jewelry to the U.S., as well as $233 million in gem-grade diamonds, and $1 billion in gem-grade gemstones. If these numbers continue, that could be over $323 million in additional costs that consumers will be forced to absorb. Taking that down to an individual level, someone purchasing a standard 1.0ct. diamond solitaire engagement ring for $7,000 will pay at least $700 more to cover the cost of the tariffs.
Signet, the parent company of Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared, James Allen, and others, recently confirmed that 30% of their products come from China. This could have a devastating effect on their viability moving forward in an already fragile retail environment where we saw 852 jewelry retailers close shop in 2018. USB Group warns that these tariffs could force the closure of up to an additional 12,000 retail stores.
It’s always been morally important for American consumers to look for retailers who source materials from the U.S., but now it could also mean big savings. America isn't known for extensive earth-mined diamond operations, but it is known for pioneering lab-grown diamond technology. Not only are American lab-grown diamonds already up to 40% less than mined diamonds, but they will also be free of any passed through tariff fees.
The pressure-pioneers for U.S. based General Electric Company lead the development of lab-grown diamonds in the 1950s, and U.S.-created lab-grown diamonds are still at the forefront of this technology. We’ve seen a dramatic increase in the quality, size, and availability of these diamonds in recent years, and while there are now a plethora of manufacturers growing diamonds all over the world, including China, many of the original players are located right here in the United States and offer responsibly-sourced, ethical options.
Now, more than ever, MiaDonna’s lab-grown diamonds and gemstones, which are created in U.S. labs, are the best choice for budget-conscious consumers. Not only do they come free of any humanitarian or environmental abuses, but they will also be up to 50% less than diamonds and gems imported from China.