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Lab Grown Diamonds

In News: In the Budget speech made by the Finance Minister, the government’s move to focus on lab-grown diamonds was announced.

About the News

  • It was announced that the Customs duty on the seeds used in lab-grown diamond manufacturing will be reduced.
  • A grant to IITs to facilitate the growth of LGDs in India was announced.

Provisions for LGDs in the Budget

  • India is a global leader in cutting and polishing natural diamonds, but as its resources are becoming scarce, the industry is shifting towards LGDs.
  • Reducing custom duties: The 2023 Union Budget promises to reduce the basic customs duty on seeds used in the manufacture of lab-grown diamonds in a bid to popularise their production in India— the duty on seeds for rough LGDs will be reduced from 5% to nil. The change will come into effect starting February 2, 2023.
  • Research grant: A five-year research grant will also be provided to one of the Indian Institute of Technologies (IITs) for research and development in the field of LGDs.
  • New tariff lines: A proposal for the creation of new tariff lines to help in better identification of a number of products, including synthetic diamonds has also been made.

What are Lab-Grown Diamonds?

  • Lab-grown diamonds are diamonds that are produced using specific technology which mimics the geological processes that grow natural diamonds.
    • The world’s first-ever LGD was created in 1954 by scientists working at a General Electric research laboratory in New York.
  • They are not the same as “diamond simulants” – LGDs are chemically, physically and optically diamond and thus are difficult to identify as “lab-grown.”
    • While materials such as Moissanite, Cubic Zirconia (CZ), White Sapphire, YAG, etc. are “diamond simulants” that simply attempt to “look” like a diamond, they lack the sparkle and durability of a diamond and are thus easily identifiable.
  • However, differentiating between an LGD and an Earth Mined Diamond is hard, with advanced equipment required for the purpose.
Lab-Grown Diamonds
Lab-Grown Diamonds

How are they Produced?

There are multiple ways in which LGDs can be produced.

  • The most common (and cheapest) is the “High pressure, high temperature” (HPHT) method.
    • As the name suggests, this method requires extremely heavy presses that can produce up to 730,000 psi of pressure under extremely high temperatures (at least 1500 Celsius).
    • Usually, graphite is used as the “diamond seed” and when subjected to these extreme conditions, the relatively inexpensive form of carbon turns into one of the most expensive carbon forms.
  • Other processes include “Chemical Vapor Deposition” (CVD) and explosive formation that creates what is known as “detonation nanodiamonds”.
    • In the CVD method, the seed is heated to around 800 degrees Celsius inside a sealed chamber filled with a carbon-rich gas. The gas sticks to the seed, gradually building the diamond.

Characteristics and Application

  • LGDs have basic properties similar to natural diamonds, including their optical dispersion, which provides them with the signature diamond sheen.
  • However, since they are created in controlled environments, many of their properties can be enhanced for various purposes.
  • LGDs are most often used for industrial purposes, in machines and tools.
    • Their hardness and extra strength make them ideal for use as cutters.
    • Pure synthetic diamonds have high thermal conductivity, but negligible electrical conductivity. This combination is invaluable for electronics where such diamonds can be used as a heat spreader for high-power laser diodes, laser arrays and high-power transistors.


  • Declining natural reserves: As the Earth’s reserves of natural diamonds are getting depleted, LGDs are slowly replacing the prized gemstone in the jewellery industry.
  • Low environmental footprint: The environmental footprint of a diamond grown in a laboratory is much lesser than that of a naturally-occurring diamond.
  • Lower energy consumption: It takes ten times more energy to extract a natural diamond (by open pit mining) from the earth than it takes in creating one above the ground.
  • Similar features: Just like natural diamonds, since LGDs also undergo similar processes of polishing and cutting, they have a similar lustre.

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What is LGDs?

Lab-grown diamonds are diamonds that are produced using specific technology which mimics the geological processes that grow natural diamonds.

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