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Diamonds 101: Understanding Lab-Grown Diamonds

Lab-grown diamonds have taken the global market by storm, and their popularity is now rapidly growing in India. With a rich history in diamond craftsmanship, India is poised to become a significant player in the lab-grown diamond industry, leveraging technological advancements and consumer preferences for more planet-friendly options.

The Rise of Lab-Grown Diamonds

When Varniya launched in 2023, the Indian market was dominated by natural diamonds. However, the consumer mindset began to shift after Prime Minister Modi gifted a lab-grown diamond to Jill Biden in 2024, sparking widespread interest and leading to a surge in demand. Today, while lab-grown diamonds account for over half of the engagement rings sold in the USA they currently make up only about 5% of the Indian market, this number is expected to rise significantly.

What Are Lab-Grown Diamonds?

Lab-grown diamonds are not imitations or simulants; they possess the same physical, chemical, and optical properties as natural diamonds. Created through advanced methods like High-Pressure High-Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD), these diamonds are virtually indistinguishable from their natural counterparts without specialized equipment.

Historical Context

The journey of lab-grown diamonds began in 1954 when General Electric produced the first man-made diamonds for industrial use. It wasn't until the 1970s that gem-quality HPHT diamonds were introduced. Today, technological advancements have made it possible to produce high-quality lab-grown diamonds for the jewellery market. 


Why Are Lab-Grown Diamonds Popular?

The lab-grown diamond market is transforming the jewellery industry by combining advanced technology with sustainable practices. Investors are drawn to this market for its growth potential and innovative scope, while consumers appreciate the affordability primarily, ethical production, and minimal environmental impact of lab-grown diamonds.

Lab-Grown Diamond Grading

Lab-grown diamonds are graded on the same 4Cs scale as natural diamonds—Carat weight, Color, Clarity, and Cut. While the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) grades lab-grown diamonds, the International Gemological Institute (IGI) is more commonly seen in the market due to its early adoption of grading these diamonds.

Cost Comparison

Lab-grown diamonds cost significantly less than natural diamonds. Typically, a lab-grown diamond with similar specifications can cost between one-third to one-tenth the price of a natural diamond. This price is varied as the market for certain sizes, clarity, cuts and colour of these diamonds fluctuate. This price advantage makes them an attractive option for budget-conscious buyers.

Pros and Cons of Lab-Grown Diamonds

Pros:

  • Bigger diamonds for the same budget
  • Chemically and optically identical to natural diamonds
  • More eco-friendly and sustainable
  • Conflict-free by definition

Cons:

  • Uncertain resale value
  • Some consumers prefer the "natural" origin

Lab-Grown Diamonds vs. Natural Diamonds

While visually identical to the naked eye, lab-grown diamonds can have different types of inclusions and may exhibit phosphorescence or a slight blue tint due to trace elements used in the growing process. These characteristics are usually noted in grading reports to ensure transparency.

Post-Growth Treatment

Most lab-grown diamonds undergo post-growth treatment to enhance their colour, making them comparable to natural diamonds. These treatments are stable and do not affect the diamond's longevity or performance.

Growing Market in India

India's diamond industry is experiencing a shift with the rising popularity of lab-grown diamonds. The Indian government is offering subsidies and incentives to boost local manufacturing, making it a lucrative market for investors and businesses. As the global leader in diamond cutting and polishing, India's expertise and infrastructure provide a solid foundation for the lab-grown diamond industry to flourish.

Conclusion

Choosing between natural and lab-grown diamonds ultimately depends on personal preferences, budget, and values. Lab-grown diamonds offer a sustainable, cost-effective, and ethical alternative to natural diamonds, and their popularity is set to increase in both the Indian and global markets.

Whether you're looking for an engagement ring or a special piece of jewellery, lab-grown diamonds provide a beautiful and responsible choice. With India's growing capabilities and favourable market conditions, the future of lab-grown diamonds looks bright.