According to media reports, India’s consideration of a 10% import duty on lab-grown diamonds may prove to be detrimental to the Indian Jewelry industry that employs around 40 million people. Lab-grown diamonds constitute a miniscule fraction of the entire diamond trade in India, with only 60 such stones reported in the past year. The diamond trading faction fears that such a move will enable the customs department to check and seize diamond roughs for months on to find consignments of lab-grown diamonds, disrupting the supply and trade of roughs in the cutting & polishing centers and hurting the livelihood of 0.8 million people employed in such centers.
There has already been problem of supplies from major mining centers and countries like Zimbabwe and Botswana have started their own cutting & polishing centers. Lab-grown diamonds give an opportunity to the industry to use a steady supply of roughs at a cheaper price and also help in several other applications like Semiconductors and Surgical industry. Lab-grown have gained tremendous acceptance worldwide, especially in countries like US and China. However, the diamond mining companies, reportedly led by the De Beers conglomerate, are trying their best to restrain the trade of Lab-grown diamonds. India’s proposed move will only compound and aggravate the jewelry industry’s problems.
Source: Bhaskar, R N (2014) “Duty on lab-grown-diamond imports will hurt local jewellery industry”, DNA