Industrial Sector Updates – Industrial Policy, Ease of Doing Business, etc.

What are Lab-Grown Diamonds?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Lab grown diamonds

Mains level: Not Much


During her Budget speech, Finance Minister announced the government’s move to focus on lab-grown diamonds (LGDs).

What did the FM announce?

  • Customs duty on the seeds used in lab-grown diamond manufacturing will be reduced, announced the finance minister.
  • She also announced a grant to IITs to facilitate the growth of LGDs in India.

What are Lab-Grown Diamonds (LGD)?

  • Lab-grown diamonds are diamonds that are produced using specific technology which mimics the geological processes that grow natural diamonds.
  • 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.
  • LGDs have basic properties similar to natural diamonds, including their optical dispersion, which provide them the signature diamond sheen.
  • 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.

How are LGDs produced?

There are multiple ways in which LGDs can be produced.

  • High pressure, high temperature (HPHT) method: This method requires extremely high pressure, high temperature 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: These include “Chemical Vapor Deposition” (CVD) and explosive formation that creates what are known as “detonation nano-diamonds”.

What are LGDs used for?

(1) Production

  • For instance, LGDs are most often used for industrial purposes, in machines and tools. Their hardness and extra strength make them ideal for use as cutters.
  • Furthermore, pure synthetic diamonds have high thermal conductivity, but negligible electrical conductivity.

(2) Electronics industry

  • 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.

(3) Jewelleries

  • Lastly, as the Earth’s reserves of natural diamonds are depleted, LGDs are slowly replacing the prized gemstone in the jewellery industry.
  • Crucially, like natural diamonds, LGDs undergo similar processes of polishing and cutting that are required to provide diamonds their characteristic lustre.


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