Diamonds are forever, but patents can tell us about the next 20 years

By François Grange,

Patent analytics can provide valuable insights into current risks and future trends across all types of industry sectors, including the mining and retail of diamonds, as François Grange illustrates.

Of all the gemstones, it is diamonds that have the most historical and emotional charge: from the long-established skill and industry involved in cutting and setting the stone to the exceptional and captivating jewellery that results.

In his 1940 Book of Diamonds, the US chemist J Willard Hershey reported legends of diamond mining as far back as over 6,000 years ago, including use by the Egyptians, ancient India, and the ancient Greeks and Romans.

But, as Hershey himself knew from his own early work on synthetic diamond production, artificial diamonds offer the opportunity to reduce the costs involved with mining the precious gems. To produce the artificial version requires manufacturers to reproduce extreme and incredible conditions however.

New trends in an age-old sector

We have seen from our IP analysis that a new trend is emerging in the creation and use of these artificial diamonds as high-end jewellery. A number of jeweller and goldsmiths have put the spotlight on cultured and/or laboratory diamonds and set out to make their clients’ dreams using the magic of technology.

This technological trend was mirrored  – and predicted – by another trend: the filing of patents to protect the innovation. Competitive analysis of the patent analytics (or ‘competitive intelligence’) also reveals a number of new entrants in this sector, in competition with and/or sharing the ecosystem with the historical players.

This might well shake up the traditional players in this industry, who already face significant environmental and social challenges in relation to their mining and use of natural diamonds.

Traditional innovators?

Of course, the diamond sector isn’t the only industry facing exciting technological shifts. From digital transformation to artificial intelligence and the intelligent supply chain, many so-called ‘traditional’ sectors are finding themselves to have become hotbeds of innovation.

This offers important opportunities for future growth, but also poses the risk that slow-to-move ‘historical players’ might be left behind. Here, patent analytics and competitive intelligence can provide the all-important trend and industry landscape data that businesses need to identify and act on their related risks and opportunities.

If you are also facing challenges or technological shifts in your field of activity and are interested in knowing more about anticipating such trends ahead of time, or how to measure the strength of your patent portfolio, please get in touch with our dedicated IP Analytics and Competitive Intelligence team below.

François Grange is a Patent Engineer at Novagraaf in Switzerland.

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