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Gen Z, Millennials lead global diamond jewellery demand, says De Beers

19 October 2018

The millennial and Gen Z generations combined accounted for two-thirds of global diamond jewellery sales in 2017, as diamond jewellery demand reached a new record high of US$82 billion, according to the latest Diamond Insight Report by De Beers Group. The report noted that millennials are in general more mistrusting, requiring brands to earn their trust before they can pursue growth, while Gen Z tend to be more individualistic and optimistic, desiring products that help build their own personal brands. At the same time, the two generations adopt similar stances with regards to valuing love, being digital natives, being engaged with social issues and desiring authenticity and self-expression.


The Diamond Insight Report 2018 at a glance


Global consumer demand continued to rise in 2017, driven by sustained growth in the US and increased demand in China. Demand increased by 2 percent in 2017 to US$82 billion, with the US once again the fastest-growing region. Consumer demand also rose in China but declined in the other main markets.


Trading conditions continued to stablise in 2017 after the short-term disruption from India’s demonetisation programme. Several supply chain innovations were also taking place.

• Blockchain technology is being developed for the diamond pipeline by Tracr, Everledger, TrustChain and Clara.

• Midstream operators are increasingly using digital platforms to inform manufacturers and retailers of their polished inventory, allowing "just-in-time" polished diamond sourcing and improving cash flow.

• Laboratory-grown diamonds can more easily be detected at speed using modern equipment.

• Midstream processes are becoming increasingly automated.


Rough sales to cutting centres increased by 2 percent to US$16.6 billion. De Beers Group remained the largest supplier, but with a reduced share of 34 percent (from 37 percent in 2016). Alrosa’s share also decreased in 2017 to 25 percent of total sales (from 27 percent in 2016).

Global production

Global diamond production values are estimated at US$17.5 billion in 2017, a 15 percent increase on 2016. In volume terms, production increased 14 percent to 164 million carats. De Beers Group accounted for the largest increase in production volumes (+6.1 million carats), followed by Rio Tinto (+3.7 million carats) and Alrosa (+2.3 million carats). Russia retained its position as the largest producer country in carat and value terms.