Leonardo DiCaprio invests in lab-grown diamonds
American actor Leonardo DiCaprio, Diamond Foundry's major investor, has decided to finance part of the construction of a synthetic diamond production plant in Spain. This unit will be powered by solar energy.
By Eva Morletto20 mars 2023
Since his role in the movie "Blood Diamonds" directed by Edward Zwick, which portrays diamond trafficking in African war zones, American actor Leonardo DiCaprio has shown interest in synthetic diamonds. He sees this industrial alternative as one of the solutions that can counteract the underground gemstone trafficking networks.
In a few years, the "Wolf of Wall Street" actor has become the spokesperson for movements against natural diamonds, a source of conflict and greed in several areas of the world. He is now one of the major investors in Diamond Foundry, the largest American producer of lab-grown diamonds. Recently, the company signed a contract to build a synthetic diamond production plant in Spain, in the rural region of Extremadura, which will benefit economically. The plant will create 300 jobs and 700 indirect jobs.
Diamond Foundry has purchased 30,000 square meters of industrial land in Trujillo, a small town once famous for being the birthplace of several "conquistadores" during the discovery of America and now a slumber village. The company will build plasma reactors to produce artificial gems - a system that replicates the pressure and heat needed to produce diamonds - powered by solar energy (with a total capacity of 120 MW), available year-round in the arid region. The total cost of the project is approximately 800 million dollars, with an initial investment of 245 million euros, 120 million of which is being credited to Diamond Foundry by the Industrial Investment Support Fund, promoted by the Spanish Ministry of Industry to encourage regional projects.
The aims of this giant new plant are multiple: although the bulk of the production will be for the semiconductor market, a small part will be dedicated to the production of diamonds for the jewelry industry. Spain being a stable European market with a large availability of solar energy, this prompted Diamond Foundry to sign this important contract, the first in Europe.
Lab-grown diamonds are gradually gaining ground in the jewelry world. In France, in 2020, these laboratory stones accounted for 3.5% of the diamond jewelry market, according to the Francéclat Observatory. The following year, sales increased to 5% of the market. Brands like Pandora have opted for lab-grown diamonds for many of their designs. By 2021, in the United States, lab-grown diamonds generated $3.9 billion in business, indicating that this market is destined to become increasingly prosperous.
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