According to a recent study conducted by Bonas & Company Diamond Brokers and Consultants, global annual production of Lab-grown diamonds has soared to 4.2 million carats, from around 350,000 carats 2 years back. This study was commissioned by India’s Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC).
With this level, Lab-grown diamonds now account for almost 3% of the total annual mined diamond production of 127.4 million carats world-wide. According to the study, India, China and Singapore are the key manufacturing hubs of Lab-grown diamonds. While India and Singapore leads Lab-grown diamond production through Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) technique, in China, most of Lab-grown diamond production happens through High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) technique.
The study claims that there are around 420 CVD machines in India and Singapore. Russia is also one of the leading players for Lab-grown diamond production but mostly deals in bigger size diamonds. In Europe too, there are several Lab-grown diamond producers, but they mostly grow Lab-grown diamonds for industrial and R&D purposes.
For scientific and commercial purposes, Lab-grown diamonds have been used since long time but only recently with advancement of technology, producers have been able to grow Lab-grown diamonds that are fit for jewelry usage. Last year Gemological Institute of America (GIA) had published a report on CVD Lab-grown diamonds, based on the limited samples it observed and key points indicated that Lab-grown diamonds quality have dramatically improved over the years. In Jan-June 2016 samples, more than 50% of Lab-grown diamonds weighed more than 1 carat, 83% were of round brilliant cut while most of the sample fell in ‘near-colorless’ category.
Ethical and environmental concerns about mined diamonds have led to a trend among millennials going for Lab-grown diamonds, which are not only devoid of these issues but are also cheaper. Only such a surge in demand explains the phenomenal rise of Lab-grown diamond production.
According to a separate estimate, current Lab-grown diamond market stood at USD 16.2 billion and is anticipated to grow to USD 27.6 billion by 2023. This shifting trend is prompting several jewelry retailers, including prominent names like Swarovski to now sell Lab-grown diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds can help solve many woes not just of consumers but also of industry, the question remains is till when the traditional industry continue to fight Lab-grown diamonds instead of embracing them and thriving.