How India strives to dazzle in the Lab-Grown diamond revolution
Amidst the surging lab-grown diamond (LGD) market, India emerges as a global powerhouse, producing a significant portion of the world's man-made diamonds. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent gift of a 7.5-carat lab-grown diamond to US President Joe Biden signifies India's pivotal role.
By Shilpa Dhamija14 septembre 2023
With the global LGD jewelry market reaching $12 billion in 2022, major brands are embracing these cost-effective, sustainably-produced alternatives. During a state visit to the United States this summer, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented several ‘Made in India’ gifts to US President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden. The global media highlighted one in particular - a 7.5-carat type 2A man-made diamond grown in a lab in India - representing India’s prominence and progress in the global diamond industry. Only 1-2% of earth-grown diamonds are reported to be of type 2A, a grade given to the most chemically pure diamonds. Some of the popular type 2A natural diamonds are Elizabeth Taylor’s 33.19-carat Krupp diamond, which was auctioned for about US$8.8 Million, and the Koh-i-Noor.
India has been cutting and polishing over 90% of the world’s diamonds for decades. The country is now also emerging as one of the world’s largest growers of man-made CVD LGDs by producing millions of carats annually. LGDs are chemically, optically, and physically the same as natural diamonds. They are produced more sustainably and cost a fraction of the price.
Lab-grown diamonds are produced using two methods - High-Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD). HPHT diamonds may have magnetic inclusions, whereas CVDs are mostly type 2A diamonds and are thus preferred by leading brands for making jewellery.
Why is the LGD jewellery market booming?
The LGD jewellery market grew to US$12 billion in 2022, up 38% y-o-y from US$1 billion in 2016, taking up more than 10% of the total diamond jewellery sales for the first time ever, according to Paul Zimnisky, an independent diamond market analyst from New York. July 2023 marked another notable growth for LGD jewellery. “After months of gradually nearing each other, natural and lab-grown reached the 50/50 share of unit sales in July”, notes Edahn Golan, a diamond industry specialist at Tenoris, a fine jewellery trend analytics company. Many of the world’s large jewellery brands, such as Pandora and Signet, have adopted the cheaper alternative of natural diamonds because of surging demand in markets that are price-conscious and where the carat size governs sales. “One carat of CVD-LGD diamond can be 70% to 90% cheaper than a natural diamond of the same size”, says Hasu Dholakia, founder of Craft Diamonds, an India-based CVD-LGD grower and processor, whose client list includes Signet and Helzberg Diamonds. “However, the prices of LGDs vary depending on demand and supply”, he adds.
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