Budget diamond

Updated: 2015-03-20 08:14

By Sun Yuanqing(China Daily)

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Budget diamond

The diamond is no longer just for the rich and famous. Affordable outlets have made the glittering gemstone accessible to middle-class Chinese. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Wan Zihong, founder and CEO of In Love, had once controversially blamed the high price of diamonds on the store rents and "middlemen payments". While some labeled his outburst a marketing stunt, it did draw more attention to the rise of the affordable diamond market.

Young people are also going online to buy their wedding rings these days.

Zbird, an online diamond retailer founded in 2002, showcases its models online and invites customers to come to its brick-and-mortar store to check the rings out and place orders. Without the high rent and middlemen payments, Zbird is able to sell the diamonds half the price of that in traditional malls, says Xu Lei, CEO of Zbird.

The company introduced the standards issued by Gemological Institute of America in diamond identification in 2005, to ensure the quality of its gems. It recently bought Italian jewelry company Lani in a bid to expand its product range.

About 90 percent of its revenue now comes from online sales, says Xu.

"Our customers usually approach us online and later come to our physical store to seal the deal. About 30 percent of them place their orders online," he says.