Gems & Jewellery News

Lab-grown diamonds give a lifeline to Surat workers after supply shortage of rough diamonds

New Delhi: A huge dip in the import of rough diamond pieces following the war in Ukraine, and is a factor raising the use of lab-grown diamonds, giving respite to about 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 because of supply crunch of rough diamonds.

According to a report in ET, the natural diamond cutting-and-polishing entities have changed 20 per cent of their production to lab-grown diamonds due to lack of natural rough diamonds from Russian miner Alrosa and have employed these workers.

Plus, the move is because of the growing demand for lab-grown diamonds in the US driven by huge popularity. Currently, America, which is reeling under inflationary pressure, is asking for lab-grown diamonds from India as it is less expensive by 40 per cent compared to natural diamonds.

Worth mentioning here is that lab-grown diamond exports rose by 108. 27 per cent in FY22 from FY21. Also, the diamond trade has asked the commerce minister to bring lab-grown diamonds under the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme as it has an export potential of Rs 40,000 crore in the next five years.

At present, India contributes about 15 per cent in the global production of lab-grown diamonds, as these man-made gems are grown inside a lab using cutting-edge technology that replicates the natural diamond growing process.

Ramesh Zilariya, president, Diamond Workers Union, Gujarat, told the business daily: “The situation has improved a bit in Surat. Alongside the natural diamond cutting and polishing, a lot of lab-grown diamond manufacturing has picked up. Some of the units that are into natural diamond cutting and polishing have converted 20-30 per cent of their production into lab-grown diamonds. This is generating jobs for the diamond workers in Surat.”

He went on add that new lab-grown entities too are coming up in Surat and more employment is being created.

“Natural diamond 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 client base who love to wear different types of fashion jewellery,” the daily quoted Colin Shah, chairman, Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council, as saying.

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