Limelight Diamonds: Building A Dream Journey With LGD Jewellery

Pooja Seth Madhavan, Founder & CEO, Limelight Diamonds, shares her insights into why and how she established India’s first sustainable CVD diamond-studded jewellery brand in 2019.

Tell us more about your company and why did you focus on LGDs?

Limelight Diamonds was found in 2019 with an aspiration to create a luxury niche in the world for lab-grown CVD diamonds from India. I do not belong to the gems and jewellery industry. I graduated from the London School of Economics, studied at Harvard Business School, pursued an MSc in Finance at Imperial Business School, and then worked as an investment banker at Barclays, London. However, I always aspired to be an entrepreneur and build a category that could focus on bringing the “India” story to the limelight.

On one of my trips back home, I got a chance to visit the deep-tech labs of the Bhathwari Group in Surat producing the finest quality diamonds at a very large scale. I was surprised at the level of automation and efficiency of this cutting-edge technology that managed to establish the group as one of the pioneers in the lab-grown CVD diamond industry. I felt an immense sense of pride to see how our country is progressing and I knew this was a story that needed telling. The decision to move back and build a brand around this product was a natural progression. And I founded Limelight LabGrown Diamonds as India’s first sustainable CVD diamondstudded jewellery brand in 2019.

Passionate of the fact that this technology has been indigenously developed, completely made in India, and grown to such a scale that India is now the leading exporter of these diamonds, I took it upon myself to bring this India story into the limelight.

My vision for Limelight is to establish itself as the first sustainable luxury jewellery brand from India and create a luxury niche for lab-grown CVD diamond jewellery worldwide.

In these 4 years, Limelight has managed to build a differentiated product category in the class of luxury consumer goods through lab-grown CVD diamonds.

What factors do you believe will drive the growth of the lab-grown diamond jewellery market in the coming yers?

Lab-grown diamonds (LGDs) have been ruling the diamond market for quite some time now. LGD jewellery has gained huge prominence in the US, especially among the millennials.

Now, India is also rapidly joining the trend. A recent Deloitte report on Millennials in India stated that climate change and the environment has become the no. 1 priority or concern for them. Statistics also state that these millennials are willing to pay a 44% premium on sustainable products.

India has the world’s largest millennial population at 410 million, a population bigger than the entire population of the United States and climate is the top priority on their minds. 78% of that population prefers to spend on experiences rather than high-value possessions such as a house, gold or jewellery. LGDs are at least 50 percent cheaper than natural diamonds; therefore, they have the unique selling proposition of being sustainable yet affordable.

The unique & independent personality of lab grown diamonds as a sustainable & environmentally friendly yet affordable gemstone is extremely well accepted in the millennial consumers and is increasingly reflecting in the sales of LGD jewellery across India. We, at Limelight, have managed to increase our presence with over 65 partnerships pan India making CVD diamond studded jewellery available in all major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Surat, Ahmedabad, etc.

Which are the markets your company currently export to, and which new markets are you targeting for expansion?

With the largest millennial consumer base in India, Limelight strongly believes in being an India First brand. With two standalone stores in Mumbai and Kolkata and over 65+ partners across India, we have spread our wings across 25 cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Baroda, Surat, Raipur, etc. With strong consumer validation and acceptance, the brand continues to penetrate strongly in the Indian jewellery market. In the coming months, Limelight diamonds reveals its global expansion plans in UAE, USA, Australia and Europe.

What are the key challenges your company faces in selling LGD jewellery in India, and how are you addressing these challenges?

Whilst awareness on LGDs is increasing, we spend a lot of time in ensuring that consumers are factually made aware of the LGD technology and process. This is when misconceptions of LGDs being fake / artificial are erased from consumers mindset.

The ability to drive this mindset change was our biggest hurdle which we now see clearing rapidly. With increasing mined diamond and gold pricing, all consumers are looking for suitable alternatives – and LGDs fit in perfectly

Awareness in consumers have risen and retailers have begun keeping LGDs under our Limelight Brand to offer consumers this differentiated product category. Moreover, people believed that LGDs have no resale value. This misrepresentation has also been cleared with brands like ours offering buyback and exchange opportunities. We offer 100% exchange and 80% buyback offers to our clients which instills immense confidence in the consumers.

How do you ensure the quality and consistency of your LGDs, and what steps do you take to meet customer requirements and specifications?

We are a Make in India brand and produce all of our CVD diamond jewellery in India only. Our diamonds are grown in one of the world’s largest labs in Surat, and our jewellery pieces are also designed and created by our skilled craftsmen and artisans in the city.

Lab-grown CVD diamonds graded by world-renowned laboratory SGL which has the second-largest lab network.

How does your pricing strategy for lab-grown diamonds compare to that of natural diamonds, and how do you ensure that your prices remain competitive in the market?

Lab grown diamonds are at least 50% cheaper than mined diamonds, but with absolutely no compromise in quality. In fact, lab grown CVD diamonds are superior in quality as they are the purest type of diamonds certified as Type IIa by all diamond grading labs and have better shine & lustre. Only 2% of the mined diamonds ever have been Type IIa.

What is your company’s stance on ethical and sustainable practices in the LGD industry, and how do you ensure that your production processes are environmentally friendly?

Limelight’s core philosophy and belief is that the biggest benefit of lab- grown CVD diamonds is that they are environment friendly.

Moreover, we at Limelight are backed by the world’s largest CVD diamond growing Bhathwari Group that boasts of an annual production of over 5 million carats. And our facilities are on solar energy. Given that electricity is a huge component to this technology, our entire product is produced through renewable energy.

As India’s largest sustainable jewellery brand, and we are excited to announce that Limelight is globally the first exclusive CVD diamond jewellery brand from India to have achieved an ESG+ certification and have received the Butterfly Mark that is a globally respected trust mark of the independently verified evidence that Limelight Diamonds meet the highest standards of sustainability best practices across ESG+ (Environment, Social, Governance and Innovation).

How do you engage with and educate consumers about LGDs?

Our marketing strategy is purely to highlight the true facts of lab-grown diamonds, in particular CVD diamonds, that are fully homegrown and produced in India. We believe that every marketing material must strongly reflect our brand’s core philosophy of establ ishing a luxury yet sustainable brand from India to the world.

For this reason, we have developed a one-of-a-kind hologram to educate the consumers. The hologram technology enables consumers to understand the entire labgrown CVD diamond creation process in the simplest & most engaging way within minutes.

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