The sparkle of China's diamond industry has tempted jewelers, miners and dealers alike.
(Read more: China is minting billionaires at an astonishing pace)
Global auction house Sotheby's is set to offer a huge white diamond in Hong Kong at the start of October, which would be the most expensive white diamond ever sold at auction if it hits its $28 million lower pre-sale target.
"From 2006 until now we've seen a threefold increase, close to 200 percent, of Asian buyers purchasing jewelry worldwide. What they've really focused on, of course, is diamonds," said Patti Wong, chairman of Sotheby's Asia, who added Chinese buyers were showing increasing confidence about snapping up the most expensive gems.
De Beers, the largest diamond producer by value and majority-owned by miner Anglo American Plc, sees China as driving growth over the next four years. It has five diamond-focused outlets in China with more set to open this year.
The incentive is clear. Tiffany's Lafay said over the last 20 years, the number of people buying diamond engagement rings has risen from less than 1 percent to more than 50 percent in urban China. More than half of the country's 1.3 billion population now live in cities.
(Read more: Chinese Can't Get Enough of 'Super Cities')
Even traditionally gold-focused jewelers, such as China's Chow Tai Fook, are looking to up exposure to diamonds. The world's biggest jewelry retailer by market value, it recently struck a deal with Russian miner AK Alrosa OAO to ensure its diamond supply.
"Mainland Chinese are becoming more westernised, so they tend to select diamond rings for their engagement proposal and wedding," said Chow Tai Fook's managing director Kent Wong.
China will also be a critical market for Rio Tinto's diamond business, after the world's No. 3 miner scrapped a planned sale of the unit earlier this year. Rio Tinto has now set up links with Chow Tai Fook, and last week invited 100 jewelry experts in Hong Kong to see its latest diamond haul.
"Going forward China will be the engine for growth in global retail diamond jewelry consumption," said Jean-Marc Lieberherr, managing director of Rio Tinto's diamonds and minerals division. He forecast low double-digit growth in China and said the firm was directing more of its production into the Chinese market.
China's bridegrooms may not be quite so convinced as their demanding brides, but the wives-to-be usually win in the end, conceded Yu Peidi, 27, a salesman in Shanghai, who proposed to his now-wife in 2011.
"Women are always getting together to compare, telling friends and colleagues that their husband has bought them such and such a diamond ring. Just talking about having a diamond seems to keep them happy," he said.