Lab-grown diamonds are known by several different names, including synthetic diamonds, man-made diamonds, and cultured diamonds. They have the same physical properties of natural diamonds because they are created in a lab using technology that replicates the natural diamond growing process. Rather than taking billions of years to form like natural diamonds, lab-grown diamonds can be grown in one to four weeks depending on their size. The lab-grown diamond industry has been steadily growing over the past decade as the technology improves and more companies have become involved in their manufacture. By 2030, the global market volume of lab-grown diamonds is forecast to be nearly 19.2 million carats.
Lab-grown diamond producing countries
The lab-grown diamond market share within the entire diamond market has been growing steadily in recent years, and is forecast to amount to ten percent of the diamond market worldwide by 2030. As of 2019, China was by far the world’s largest producer, accounting for a 56 percent share of lab-grown diamond production worldwide that year. India was the world’s second largest producer, having produced a distant 15 percent share of lab-grown diamonds. The United States followed closely to third place, at 13 percent.
Lab-grown diamond production methods
There are two main methods for producing lab-grown diamonds: high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT), and chemical vapor deposition (CVD). By 2024, it is forecast that the market revenue of lab-grown diamonds produced with the CVD method will amount to 16.5 billion U.S. dollars. It is forecast that the HPHT method’s market revenue will amount to 11.7 billion U.S. dollars that year. The HPHT process is less popular than diamonds produced with the CVD method however, because it typically produces yellow or brown diamonds of lower economic value.
Price and ethical production
Compared to natural diamonds, lab-grown diamonds are in general less expensive. As of 2020, the retail price of lab-grown diamonds produced by major diamond producer De Beers was 800 U.S. dollars per carat through its jewelry subsidiary Lightbox. In addition to being less expensive, lab-grown diamonds are considered by many to be a more environmentally and socially ethical alternative to natural diamonds. This is due to lab grown diamonds being made in a lab rather than requiring large amounts of earth to be moved and involving potentially problematic labor practices along the value chain. Some consumers consider this to be another appealing attribute of lab-grown diamonds.
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