In an article dated April 9, 2023, The Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI) discussed the economic potential for India in the lab diamond industry and the role lab-grown diamonds in general could play in the future.
According to TPCI, laboratory diamonds produced in India already account for 15% of global production and the Indian market for laboratory diamonds is estimated to grow to 1,192.3 million by 2033. The global market for laboratory diamonds was estimated at around US$22.45 trillion in 2022 and is expected to reach US$37.32 trillion by 2028.
Laboratory diamonds offer great potential, as they have several advantages over their mined counterparts. For one thing, they are seen as a more environmentally friendly alternative, since no interference with nature through mining is necessary. It is well known that the younger generation in particular attaches great importance to sustainability, which is why lab-grown diamonds have a decisive advantage here. In addition, lab-grown diamonds are, depending on the manufacturer, much cheaper than mined diamonds, sometimes by up to 80-90%. If natural diamond resources run out in the next decades, this will also have a positive effect on the demand for lab-grown diamonds. Laboratory diamonds have been used in industry for decades, for example in the production of tools. With the development of new technologies, however, they could soon find use in even more areas, such as for the production of computer chips, be it for laptops, smartphones, etc. Another advantage here is that chips made from laboratory diamonds are more resistant and can also be used more energy-efficiently in extreme environments. Therefore, the use of laboratory diamonds could also multiply in areas outside the jewelry sector in the next few years, whether in industry, the medical field or similar - the areas of application are wide-ranging.
Due to this positive outlook on the development of the lab-grown industry, it is to be further promoted in India in the next years. Only recently it was announced that the duty on carbon seeds, which are needed for the production of lab-grown diamonds, will be abolished.
The forecasts for the global development of the laboratory diamond industry are extremely encouraging. Mining is always accompanied by serious interference with nature, with negative consequences for the environment, biodiversity and also the people living in the surrounding area. Laboratory diamonds, on the other hand, offer the possibility of using the highly sought-after and versatile gemstone without supporting environmental damage caused by mining. Nonetheless, it is wrong to portray lab diamonds as fundamentally sustainable, as the TPCI does in this article. Laboratory diamonds are not generally an environmentally friendly alternative; rather, the sustainability of the product depends heavily on the corporate practices of the particular producer. The production of lab diamonds requires an extremely large amount of energy and if this energy requirement is met by cheap coal-fired electricity, which is currently the case for an estimated 60-70% of lab diamond production worldwide, then this is not sustainable at all. From a social point of view, laboratory diamonds are also not necessarily more sustainable, because a large part of the industry also takes advantage of cheap labor in China or India and it is questionable whether the working conditions there are significantly better than in mining.
Therefore, we hope that if India wants to strongly promote the production of lab-grown diamonds in the future, it will not aim for growth at any price, but that the state will ensure ecologically and socially sustainable industry growth with appropriate regulations and controls.
Source: article "Lab Grown Diamonds: The eco-friendly sunrise opportunity?", published by the Trade Promotion Council of India on April 9th 2023
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