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India’s Lab-Grown Diamond Sector Continues to Flourish

Mumbai, India — India, traditionally recognized as the global hub for polished natural diamonds, is now making significant strides towards dominance in the lab-grown diamond market.

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The country’s production capacity has experienced exponential growth, potentially increasing by a factor of ten within the span of five to seven years, accompanied by a notable surge in polished diamond exports.

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Despite a substantial decline in lab-grown diamond prices, plummeting as much as 70-90 percent across various categories according to industry analysts, the sector sustained its growth trajectory over the past year.

Smit Patel, director of Greenlab Diamonds and organizer of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council’s Lab-Grown Diamond Subcommittee, expressed, “The rapid expansion of India’s lab-grown diamond industry is evident from every perspective. There’s a palpable optimism reflected in the significant rise in both the number of diamond growers and reactors, as well as the workforce engaged in cutting and polishing.”

Export data compiled by GJEPC underscores this trend. In 2023, the volume of polished lab-grown diamond exports surged by over 50 percent to 6.45 million carats, while the value declined by nearly 20 percent to $1.38 million. Similarly, lab-grown diamond rough imports saw a 31 percent increase in volume to 31.7 million carats, albeit with a 24 percent decrease in value to $1.12 billion.

Market observers note that most new entrants had anticipated the price decline and adjusted their strategies accordingly. Patel remarked, “While the era of high profits based on easily accessible opportunities may have concluded, technological advancements and scaled manufacturing ensure satisfactory margins even amidst prevailing lower price levels.”

Vijay Desai, a committee member of Surat’s Lab-Grown Diamond Association, highlighted the industry’s focus on producing gem-quality diamonds for jewelry, citing significant growth and considerable investment in the sector.

Manish Jiwani of Ecolight Diamonds noted the presence of lab-grown diamond growers not only in Surat but also in Mumbai and Jaipur. The industry is estimated to have between 8,000 to 10,000 reactors, predominantly employing the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process, double the figure from just a few years ago.

This surge in rough diamond production and imports is being absorbed by cutting and polishing units, partly due to a decline in natural diamond output. Approximately 90 percent of companies previously engaged solely in natural diamond processing have entered the lab-grown diamond arena, with larger players diversifying their operations and smaller entities entirely transitioning to lab-grown diamonds.

Nirav Jogani of Surat-based Lemon Consultech emphasized the maturation of the lab-grown diamond industry into a distinct vertical, marked by consolidation and the emergence of major player groups.

Despite the decline in retail prices, industry sentiment remains bullish. Jogani noted, “Investors typically plan CapEx with a mid- to long-term outlook, thereby remaining resilient to short-term price fluctuations.”

Major players like Kira Diam and Greenlab report robust demand, with Kira Diam boasting over 2,000 reactors at its Surat facility and Greenlab expanding its presence internationally.

Industry insiders anticipate further growth driven by technological advancements, niche market development, and potential applications in sectors like electronics and high-end industries.

The evolution of specialized niches within the lab-grown diamond segment, coupled with the exploration of fashion accessories markets, indicates a promising future for India’s lab-grown diamond industry.

Both Patel and Jogani stress the need for the industry to embrace innovation and pursue independent growth trajectories rather than mimicking the natural diamond sector.

As India solidifies its position as a global leader in lab-grown diamonds, the industry’s potential for further expansion appears limitless, fueled by innovation and evolving market dynamics.

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