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Ex-Dominion Diamond CEO to launch company selling synthetic stones

Former Dominion Diamond Mines CEO Patrick Evans is launching a company producing lab-grown diamonds, selling gem-quality stones larger than 1 carat for the bridal market, the Financial Times reported Jan. 13.

Evans said his company, which aims for a listing on the TSX in 2020, targets to offer prices of about 15% to 20% cheaper than the natural diamonds. A U.S. location with access to cheap solar power to produce the lab-grown gems will be picked by the producer, the report said.

The industry veteran also said that natural supplies of diamonds will be almost completely depleted by the middle of the century, as gemstone deposits are hard to find.

Previously, De Beers SA announced plans to sell synthetic diamonds to the fashion jewelry market, with plans to spend US$94 million to build a hydropower-fueled plant which will produce the lab-grown stones. This resulted in the sharp decline in the price of synthetic stones compared to its natural counterpart.

In the report, New York-based diamond analyst Paul Zimnisky said the average discount for a 1-carat lab-grown stone versus its natural diamond counterpart increased to 43%, from 29% in January 2018.