Lab-grown diamonds give Surat workers lifeline after rough diamond shortage

New Delhi: A sharp drop in imports of rough diamond coins following the war in Ukraine, and is a factor increasing the use of laboratory diamondsgiving respite to around 2.5 lakh workers who were asked to go on 15-day leave last month by the natural diamond cutting and polishing units in Surat due to the shortage of rough diamonds.

According to a report in HEYnatural diamond cutting and polishing entities replaced 20% of their production with laboratory diamonds due to the lack of natural rough diamonds from the Russian mining company Alrosa and employed these workers.

Moreover, this decision is due to the growing demand for lab-grown diamonds in the United States, driven by enormous popularity. Currently, America, reeling from inflationary pressure, is demanding lab-grown diamonds from India because they are 40% cheaper than natural diamonds.

It should be mentioned here that lab-grown diamond exports increased by 108.27% in FY22 compared to FY21. lab-grown diamonds to the Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) as it has an export potential of Rs 40,000 crore over the next five years.

India currently contributes around 15% of the world’s production of lab-grown diamonds, as these man-made gemstones are grown in a lab using state-of-the-art technology that mimics the growth process of natural diamonds.

Ramesh Zilariya, president of the Diamond Workers Union, Gujarat, told the business daily: “The situation has improved a bit in Surat. Along with the cutting and polishing of natural diamonds, much lab-grown diamond manufacturing has resumed. Some of the units dedicated to the cutting and polishing of natural diamonds have converted 20 to 30% of their production into laboratory diamonds. This creates jobs for diamond dealers in Surat.

He added that new lab-created entities are also appearing in Surat and more jobs are being created.

“Natural diamonds and lab-grown diamonds are two different types, and they cannot replace each other. Lab-grown diamond as a category is growing, and it has a different clientele that likes to wear different types of fashion jewelry,” said said Colin Shah, chairman of the Gem & Jewelery Export Promotion Council, quoted by the daily.
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