Lab-Grown Diamonds: Complementary, Not Competitive

Nov 06, 2023

Lab-grown diamonds, often referred to as synthetic or cultured diamonds, have been a subject of both fascination and debate in the world of diamonds. Over the past few decades, advancements in technology have made it possible to create diamonds in a laboratory setting, sparking a new and rapidly growing industry. However, it is essential to understand that lab-grown diamonds are not a competitive product aiming to replace natural diamonds; rather, they complement the existing diamond industry in unique and valuable ways.

Natural Diamonds History & Lore

Some historians estimate that India was trading in natural diamonds as early as the fourth century BC. Since then, the natural diamond industry remains of paramount importance, as it upholds the intrinsic allure of these exquisite gemstones. Gradually, Indian diamonds made their way to Western Europe through the caravans traveling to Venice’s medieval markets. By the 1400s, diamonds were becoming fashionable accessories for Europe’s elite. Natural diamonds, formed deep within the Earth, are not merely precious minerals; they carry stories of geological artistry and rarity. They serve as timeless symbols of love, emotions, commitment, and luxury, capturing the essence of enduring beauty and significance. As an industry and product, natural diamonds stand as timeless treasures that transcend trends and continue to hold a cherished place in the hearts and minds of consumers worldwide. Natural diamonds contribute to the life and livelihood of more than ten million people globally by improving healthcare, education, and infrastructure access, facilitating funding for global challenges, forestation and tree planting and passionately promoting land protection and rehabilitation across continents.

Lab-Grown Diamonds – Technological Miracle

The lab-grown diamond industry plays a pivotal role in expanding the horizons of diamond accessibility and sustainability. These gems offer an affordable, ethically sourced, and customizable alternative, while also contributing to environmental sustainability. Lab-grown diamonds encourage innovation and cater to an eco-conscious market, coexisting harmoniously with their natural counterparts, providing consumers with an inclusive and diverse range of choices. Moreover, this industry provides substantial employment opportunities to skilled diamond cutters in India, further enhancing its socio-economic impact.

Synthetic Gemstone Industry Transformation

The gemstone industry witnessed a pioneering shift with the introduction of synthetic gemstones, a transformation that occurred many years ago and has since significantly impacted the market dynamics. Synthetic gemstones have not replaced their natural counterparts; instead, they have evolved into valuable additions that serve as a creative and cost-effective tool for designers and jewellery manufacturers. These lab-grown gemstones have made luxury and elegance accessible to a broader audience by providing an affordable alternative. Jewellery designers now have the freedom to experiment with a versatile range of colors, sizes, and cuts, pushing the boundaries of creativity. The ethical and environmental advantages of synthetic gemstones have also highlighted the importance of natural gemstones, allowing consumers to choose between the two based on their preferences. As a result, the industry has flourished, blending the beauty and uniqueness of natural gemstones with the affordability and innovation offered by synthetic alternatives, embodying a harmonious and dynamic coexistence that caters to the diverse needs of jewellery enthusiasts.

The diamond industry is on the brink of a transformative journey, significantly enhanced by the advent of lab-grown diamonds that are proudly 100% Make in India. This innovation doesn’t set out to compete with natural diamonds; rather, it establishes itself as a key complement, unlocking a world of opportunities. Lab-grown diamonds, crafted within the country’s borders, promise affordability and accessibility, expanding the luxury of diamond jewellery to a broader spectrum of consumers. The Indian diamond industry, known for its cutting and polishing expertise, can now leverage its skills to refine these lab-grown gems with precision, creating exquisite jewellery that is both cost-effective and customizable. The environmentally conscious production methods of lab-grown diamonds align with global sustainability trends, making them an ethical choice. This coexistence between natural and lab-grown diamonds fosters a vibrant industry that celebrates the cultural heritage of India while embracing cutting-edge technology, promising a sparkling future where diamonds continue to be forever.

Complementary, Not Competitive

Meeting Diverse Consumer Needs:

Lab-grown diamonds cater to a distinct segment of consumers who seek more affordable and sustainable alternatives to natural diamonds. While natural diamonds are valued for their rarity and geological origin, lab-grown diamonds appeal to individuals who prioritize environmental and ethical considerations. They offer a choice to consumers, making the jewellery industry more inclusive by addressing a broader spectrum of preferences.

Sustainability and Ethical Sourcing:

One of the significant advantages of lab-grown diamonds is their ethical and eco-friendly production. Natural diamond mining can have significant environmental and social implications, including habitat destruction and labor disputes. Lab-grown diamonds, on the other hand, are created in controlled environments, eliminating the concerns associated with mining and unethical labor practices. The industry’s commitment to sustainability is evident as it resonates with consumers who are environmentally conscious.


Natural diamonds, especially large, high-quality stones, are often out of reach for many consumers due to their high price tags. Lab-grown diamonds provide an affordable option for those who desire a diamond’s beauty without breaking the bank. This affordability has enabled a more diverse range of people to access diamond jewellery, making it more inclusive and accessible.

Innovation and Customization:

The lab-grown diamond industry is driving innovation in the jewellery sector. Their growth methods, such as chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and high pressure high temperature (HPHT), have paved the way for new designs and jewellery possibilities. Additionally, lab-grown diamonds can be customized to meet specific requirements, allowing consumers to create unique, one-of-a-kind pieces. This level of customization is less feasible with natural diamonds, which are constrained by their inherent characteristics.

Research and Development:

The development of lab-grown diamonds has encouraged scientific advancements in material science, optics, and engineering. This research benefits various industries, not just jewellery, by exploring the potential of diamond in various applications, including electronics, medicine, and manufacturing. Lab-grown diamonds have, therefore, opened up avenues for research and development that extend beyond their role in the jewellery market.

Today’s Task

The coexistence of both industries, natural and lab-grown diamonds, is like a harmonious partnership, working hand in hand. Instead of expending energy in internal conflicts, our industry should seize this opportunity to unite and focus on addressing the changing consumer trends. Today’s generation, the millennials, are increasingly opting for travels & holidays, luxury gadgets and alternative investments over traditional gold and diamond jewellery. Therefore, it’s imperative that we adapt and innovate together, redirecting our efforts to compete in this evolving landscape, rather than within our own ranks. In unity, we can remain relevant and continue to capture the imagination of these changing consumer preferences. By joining forces, we can channel our collective efforts into addressing the changing preferences of these consumers. This means innovating together to make diamond jewellery more appealing, relevant, and aligned with the contemporary tastes and values of the younger generation.

It’s not a question of natural diamonds versus lab-grown diamonds; it’s about how we can adapt, evolve, and capture the imagination of millennials who are reshaping the luxury market. By doing so, we can direct our energy towards competing with other luxury products and gadgets that are currently vying for the attention of this demographic.

In this spirit of collaboration and adaptation, the diamond industry can continue to shine brightly in an ever-changing consumer landscape, ensuring its enduring relevance and appeal.


Lab-grown diamonds are not competitors but complementary to natural diamonds. They offer a sustainable, ethical, and more affordable alternative, appealing to a different set of consumers with varying priorities and tastes. Both industries co-exist, each with its unique advantages and characteristics. The future of diamonds is a dual one, where natural and lab-grown diamonds complement each other, expanding the horizons of the jewellery industry and catering to the diverse needs of consumers.

As this technology, proudly of Indian origin and a ‘Make in India’ product, continues to evolve, it is becoming increasingly evident that lab-grown diamonds are here to stay, side by side with their natural counterparts, forming a harmonious and dynamic industry that benefits all. The production of lab-grown diamonds in India also positions the country to earn a significant amount of foreign exchange and generate employment opportunities for skilled Indian craftsmen, contributing to economic growth and the global recognition of Indian expertise.

About Author

Rahul Desai is the CEO & MD at the International Institute Of Gemology (IIG), a passionate mentor, educator, and motivator with 20 years of experience. Follows his father’s legacy since 1965, Rahul has empowered over 25,000 individuals to achieve unparalleled success in their careers, solidifying his reputation as a trusted mentor and catalyst for professional growth in the Gems & Jewellery industry. His profound expertise spans industry trends, diverse career paths, comprehensive education, networking strategies, job search techniques, and industry insights. Played instrumental in collaborating with De Beers Diamond Education Institute, Gem-A, GemeWizard, Venus Jewel, The Designer’s Class to name few! Recently appointed as Executive Director for Finestar Educational Institute and Director at IBJA Skill Development Council. Under his strong leadership, IIG has established 5 branches pan India, making it the fastest growing institute in the Gem & Jewellery education field.
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