August 2023 issue contents

Dr. Kavitta Shah, Krish Bhavesh Javeri


Lab-grown diamonds (LGD) are gaining traction as a viable alternative to natural diamonds (ND). Also referred to as synthetic or cultured diamonds, LGD are meticulously produced within controlled laboratory settings using technological methods that mimic the natural conditions conducive to diamond formation, as outlined in the 2021 Forbes article titled "The Choice Is Getting Clearer for Consumers and Retailers." One of the distinctive attributes of LGD is their relatively lower cost compared to ND of equivalent quality and size. This cost-effectiveness renders them an attractive choice for individuals seeking diamond jewelry that falls within a more budget-friendly range. LGD possess comparable physical and chemical characteristics to ND, rendering them virtually indistinguishable from their natural counterparts to the naked eye, without necessitating specialized equipment. This characteristic resonates with consumers desiring the elegance and brilliance of a diamond minus the exorbitant price tag. Furthermore, LGD holds appeal for certain consumers due to their production process that circumvents the environmental and ethical concerns associated with conventional diamond mining. The cultivation of LGD results in a diminished carbon footprint and avoids contributing to issues like habitat degradation and unfair labor practices. However, it's essential to acknowledge that the sustainability of laboratory-grown diamonds may not always align with prevalent claims. The manufacturing procedure, spanning several weeks, is resource-intensive, necessitating energy levels akin to 20% of the Sun's surface temperature, as highlighted in the Natural Diamond Council's 2022 report. Notably, a significant portion of LGD, exceeding 60%, is manufactured in China and India, where a substantial 63% and 74% of electricity originates from coal-based sources. Interestingly, while existing research predominantly delves into the popularity of LGD over ND due to factors like pricing, ethical and environmental considerations, quality, and appearance, there exists a notable gap in research exploring the validation of ethical and environmental considerations throughout the LGD production process. The overarching objective of this research paper is to delve into the underlying motivations for the endorsement of LGD primarily driven by ethical and environmental considerations, along with delving into the pertinent facts surrounding their production. However, it's imperative to acknowledge that the favorability of lab-grown diamonds can fluctuate based on diverse factors such as geographical location, consumer inclinations, and prevailing market trends. Keeping abreast of the current market landscape and consumer sentiments is crucial to obtain the most up-to-date insights.