Termed as the future of sustainable jewelry, Lab-grown diamond market is growing at a faster clip. In 2016, Lab Grown Diamonds were just 1% of the $14 billion rough diamond market. However, it is now around 2-3% of the market and according to industry estimates will grow to almost 7%, around $15 billion, by 2035. While for many diamond miners the production is declining, leading players in Lab-grown diamond sector like Diamond Foundry are augmenting their capacities, recently adding a new production facility in Washington state that will help them scale from 100,000 carats a year to more than 1 million carats grown annually. The trend can be witnessed across the diamond value chain, with numerous players whether producers, traders, retailers joining the bandwagon. Membership of IGDA (The International Grown Diamond Association) rose from 12 players to almost 50 now.
Tom Chatham – CEO of Chatham Gems, in an interview, described the two main reasons why Lab-grown diamonds are the future for consumers “One is that the major five producers of natural diamonds speculated that there will be no natural diamond production after 2050 because they’ve run out of profitable deposits. Reason two is that for the last 10 years, we’ve been sought out by people, millennials, who want to buy something that doesn’t come out of the earth, who care about the earth and the damage we’ve created.”
And all this market growth discussed is only for the jewelry sector. Apart from jewelry, Lab-created diamonds has a plethora of industrial, scientific, medical, electronics, hi-tech and other applications. Facilities in China already grow millions of carats of Lab Created Diamonds for such applications. As the market for Lab-grown diamond expands, applications for these stones is also advancing.
Lab-grown diamonds to give aero-dynamic stability to hypersonic missiles upon re-entry
Hypersonic missiles that travel faster than the speed of sound face high temperatures (>2,400oC) that can be destructive as it re-enters into earth’s atmosphere posing a hurdle to aero-dynamic stability. This heat dissipation issue has been a cause of concern across defence establishments globally. A Chennai, India-based tech start-up has come up with a solution to this problem, using Lab-grown diamonds.
Growing protective layer of thin films of diamonds (few microns thick), whose thermal conductivity is five times that of copper, diamond coatings can act as heat spreaders in electronic devices avoiding any intense wear and tear. The unique diamond coating technology with its patented microstructure is developed by Kapindra Precision Engineering – adjudged as #1 Start-up by India’s DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organization) and incubated at IIT Madras.
MS Ramachandra Rao – Department of Physics, IIT Madras termed “diamond as an ultimate engineering material with a plethora of application prospects and states that it is the material to explore for ‘quantum computing’ with the creation of ‘N-V centres in diamond’ – a very challenging and futuristic area of research.”
Nuclear diamond batteries to become a reality?
University of Bristol’s Cabot Institute recently released ‘Nuclear waste could be recycled for diamond battery power’, with the idea that nuclear waste especially stacks of graphite blocks that form the neutron moderator in a reactor’s core can be made into an active part of a small device that can generate electrical energy – a battery. A new way to make batteries that can last longer and also deals with radioactive waste – converting beta radiation into energy, can be possible by evaporating the graphite from nuclear reactor cores and condense it into diamonds that are then radioactive and self-activating as batteries. Whether nuclear diamond batteries becomes a reality for commercialization or remains just a concept needs to be seen.
Pepsi unveils a diamond engagement ring made out of its soda
Pepsi recently unveiled an engagement ring with a Lab-grown diamond made out of its soda – ‘Cyrstal Pepsi’. The Pepsi clear cola drink was boiled down to its ‘most basic carbon form’ into a powder and then mixed with carbon and a small piece of diamond, in a lab growing process under high temperature and high pressure to create a Lab-grown diamond – 1.53 carat that sits atop a platinum engagement ring and valued at $3,000. Pepsi is giving this ring free in a competition – ‘Pepsi Proposal’ that runs through March 6, to American Twitter users. The winner picked up in time for National Proposal Day, will win this Crystal Pepsi Lab-grown diamond engagement ring.