De Beers opening synthetic-diamond plant in Oregon

GRESHAM, Ore. (AP) — The De Beers Group has announced plans to manufacture synthetic diamonds at a factory in Gresham, Oregon.

The British diamond giant said in a news release Tuesday it will spend $94 million on the production facility over the next four years. Once fully operational, the plant will be able to annually produce 500,000 rough carats of lab-grown diamonds.

The diamonds will be marketed under the name Lightbox. They will retail from $200 for a quarter-carat stone to $800 for a one-carat stone — much less than traditional diamonds.

CEO Bruce Cleaver described the product as “affordable fashion jewelry that may not be forever, but is perfect for right now.”

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the plant will be in the Gresham Vista Business Park, and eventually employ about 60 workers.