India is set to become a major hub for production as well as processing of laboratory-grown diamonds (LGDs). Thanks to technological breakthroughs, cost-efficient production of gem-quality stones and growing consumer awareness of synthetic diamonds, India’s LGD output is estimated to have reached 1.5 million carats in 2020, according to a report by consulting firm Bain & Co. India accounts for about a quarter of the estimated global LGD output of 6 to 7 million carats.

China ranks first in LGD production with an output of 3 million carats, as per the same Bain report. Singapore and the USA jointly hold the third position with an output of 1 million carats. 

The synthetic diamonds global market growth is expected to increase by $9.8 billion at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.11% during 2019-2024, research shows. 

The total LGD market share has been growing steadily and is expected to account for 10% (estimated at 19.2 million carats) of the entire worldwide diamond market by 2030. 

India’s polished LGD exports are growing at around 55% per year, and account for approximately 6.2% of natural polished diamond exports. LGD prices are approximately 80-90% less than natural diamonds.

India’s gross exports of polished LGDs for the period April 2020 to January 2021 stood at $558.71 million, marking a year-on-year growth of 57%.

Colin Shah, Chairman, GJEPC, states, “Improving accuracy and speed in LGD detection machines has today made it feasible to maintain the integrity of both diamond pipelines with relative ease. As long as disclosures are made, there is a bright future for LGDs to co-exist with natural diamonds. We believe LGDs have great potential for employment generation and contributing to the country’s export basket.”

India’s LGD production is mainly through the carbon vapour deposition (CVD) method, followed by high pressure high temperature (HPHT). Chinese production is primarily through the HPHT method. It is estimated that India has approximately 1,500 to 1,800 LGD reactors, internal GJEPC research shows. 

The lab-grown diamond industry is expected to employ some 1.15 million people worldwide by the year 2050.