Budget 2023: What Are Lab-Grown Diamonds And Why Government Is Betting On Them

Budget 2023: What Are Lab-Grown Diamonds And Why Government Is Betting On Them

by Swarajya Staff - Feb 1, 2023 02:54 PM +05:30 IST
Budget 2023: What Are Lab-Grown Diamonds And Why Government Is Betting On ThemA diamond. (Needpix)

"Lab-grown diamonds is a technology and innovation-driven emerging sector with high employment potential," said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget speech.

To encourage production of lab-grown diamonds, the Union government will provide a research and development grant to one of the IITs for a period of five years.

To reduce the cost of production of such diamonds, a proposal to reduce custom duties on 'lab-grown diamond seeds' is also present in the Budget (Part B).

What are lab-grown diamonds and how are they produced?

  • Lab-grown diamonds are also known as CVD diamonds. Here, 'CVD' stands for 'chemical vapour deposition', the process by which these diamonds are produced.

  • Lab-grown diamonds have the same physical, chemical and optical properties as natural diamonds.

  • Chemically, they undergo more or less the same process as the naturally-occurring diamonds.

  • A thin layer is first cut from a natural diamond, to form the lab-grown diamond's seed.

  • This seed, which is 100 per cent carbon, is then polished and placed in a plasma reactor.

  • Inside the plasma reactor, the same temperature and pressure conditions are recreated as under the surface of the Earth where diamonds naturally form. In fact, in natural diamonds, several other impurities and gases enter the diamond too. This is not the case with lab-grown diamonds.

  • Eventually, carbon particles begin to disintegrate and form layers on the original seed.

  • Ultimately, this forms a rough lab-grown diamond, just as a rough natural diamond.

  • This rough diamond is then cut and polished to take it to its final form.

Why the Union government want to go big on them

  • As per 2021 data, India is the largest importer of diamonds in the world.

  • In 2021, India reportedly imported diamonds worth $26 billion.

  • An ecosystem to produce lab-grown diamonds will help reduce this part of India's import bill.

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