The De Beers Group: Launching Lightbox Jewelry for Lab-Grown Diamonds

HBS Stratgegy Case No. 718-408, 2018

Posted: 24 Sep 2018

Date Written: August 3, 2018


In May 2018, the De Beers Group shocked the diamond industry when it announced it was launching a new fashion jewelry brand of laboratory-grown (synthetic) diamonds. The reaction was swift as people sought to understand the company’s motivations: was it a “huge gamble” or a “Machiavellian masterstroke”? What was the objective of the new product launch, would it succeed, and how would this new business affect the Group’s core business of selling natural (mined) diamonds? This case is intended to be used in conjunction with and to follow another HBS case: The De Beers Group: Exploring the Diamond Reselling Opportunity (HBS #717-430).

This case illustrates the process of strategy development at one of the world’s most iconic brands (De Beers). Along with the Diamond Reselling case, it illustrates how companies change strategies by testing new markets. Within the diamond industry, it shows an attempt to differentiate products (the market for natural vs. synthetic diamonds) and to defend a core market by commoditizing a potential threat. Finally, it illustrates the strategic concept of using “adjacent” markets to achieve incremental growth and profitability beyond a firm’s core market.

Keywords: Diamonds, Corporate Strategy, Differentiation, Disruption, New Business, Strategy Development, Strategy Execution, Scope, Adjacency, Core, Commoditization, New Product Launch, Segmentation

JEL Classification: M31, M16, L1, L12, L25, L68, L72

Suggested Citation

Esty, Benjamin C., The De Beers Group: Launching Lightbox Jewelry for Lab-Grown Diamonds (August 3, 2018). HBS Stratgegy Case No. 718-408, 2018, Available at SSRN:

Benjamin C. Esty (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States

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