From The Desk of Rajesh Bajaj
Lab-Grown Diamonds Sparking the New India dream
It is a well-known fact that India has had a long-established connection with diamonds not for years but centuries! The earliest diamond in the world was found in India in the 4th century BC and later some of the finest quality diamonds (majority Type IIa diamonds) were produced from the historical Golconda mines during the 7th century BC.
Over time as the Indian mines depleted, India's control over the trade got restricted to its strong manufacturing capabilities wherein over 95% of the diamonds worldwide are cut & polished in India.
However, times are changing again for India. With the rising popularity of lab-grown diamond across the world and India is the world's leading producer of Type IIa CVD diamonds - India once again is regaining its claim to fame of being the world's leading producer of the finest quality diamonds.
The CVD (Carbon Vapor Deposition) technology that is indigenously developed and completely made in India - India is now emerging as a global hub of not just manufacturing but also Diamond Production.
Bain & Co's recent Diamond Industry Report 2021 reveals that global lab-grown diamond production has crossed 7 million carats per year. Of this, India is leading the charts in CVD diamond production of almost 1.5 million carats each year, higher than overall production levels even in the USA, Europe & Middle East, Russia & Singapore.
These huge production volumes have translated into rapid growth in export collections this year for India. As reported by the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, polished lab-grown diamonds exports nearly doubled to INR 5,175 Crores for FY2021, compared to INR 2,985 Crores last year.
Leading the evolution of the lab-grown diamond industry in India is Bakul Limbasiya, the leading technocrat to have developed the CVD diamond technology in India. Limbasiya has been instrumental in shaping the lab-grown industry in India. Having produced scalable volumes, he has remained successful in proving that India can emerge from being just a manufacturing hub to becoming one of the largest producers of diamonds, that too those of the finest quality.
"This is just the beginning for India. FY 21 yet again proved to be a robust year for the Indian lab-grown industry with exports up 74% y/y, crossing INR 5,000 Crores in value. Going forward, the industry will see even stronger growth in exports as global economies recover and there will be a significant pick up in consumer demand. And India will have a huge role to play in further shaping up the industry worldwide because of its expanding growing & production strength of CVD diamonds combined with manufacturing strength but also a huge consumption potential with the largest millennial population," says Limbasiya.
As per the Frost & Sullivan 2015 report, mined diamond supply is expected to decline to 62m carats by 2030 due to limitations of resources and difficulty in finding commercial discoveries. At the same time, the demand for diamonds will increase leaving a deficit of nearly 160m carats.
Limbasiya strongly feels that this huge gap between demand and depleting supply of mined diamonds will serve as a huge opportunity that can be filled in ten years with lab-grown CVD diamonds. And India, as a leading producer and exporter of CVD diamonds today, is well poised to benefit the most from this.