The idea of investing in diamond jewellery has drastically changed over the past few years. Consumers now seek not only aesthetics and rarity in their jewels but also an assurance that they are ethically sourced.
According to a recent Deloitte report, millennials prefer spending most of their discretionary income on entertainment, apparel, accessories, mobile, and electronics, while remaining extremely brand conscious. Even so, they seem to want to support brands not only for the products they sell, but also the philosophies and values they stand for. What’s more, this class of customers is willing to pay a premium for brands that endorse an ethical or sustainable product.
The idea of investing in diamond jewellery has drastically changed over the past few years. Consumers now seek not only aesthetics and rarity in their jewels but also an assurance that they are ethically sourced. And this is especially so among the younger consumers, leading to an increased demand for lab-grown diamonds across the world.
Harvesting diamonds in labs
A few years ago, the biggest fear that stalked the diamond industry was that unlike their parents, millennials weren’t keen on buying diamonds. But today, lab-grown diamonds are attracting the new generation of shoppers as they’re not only non-controversial but also cheaper. Reiterating the fact, a 2019 report by the International Grown Diamond Association states that 66 per cent of millennials shop for an engagement ring embedded with lab-grown diamond.
Pooja Sheth, founder of Limelight Handcrafted Diamonds, explains about a technology called the Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD), which recreates real diamonds in laboratories by creating the same environment required for the growth of diamonds under the surface of the earth. The technology helps save at least 50 per cent of the consumer’s money. "What happens below the surface of the earth is now replicated above the surface of the earth and this is analogous to the concept of IVF technology or test-tube babies, where the process is different but the end product is the same. This is mainly because the DNA doesn’t change. The CVD diamond technology also starts from a natural diamond seed to grow its first CVD diamond. Following that, every seed is replanted from the CVD diamond production itself," she explains.
Bringing back the bygone glitter
In ancient times, India was one of the largest mines for Type IIa diamonds, considered the most valued and the purest type of diamonds.The Type IIa diamond is composed of carbon devoid of any other chemical impurities, which makes it as valuable even among diamonds. Less than 2 per cent of the world’s natural diamonds are the purest Type IIa. A famous example is the 105.6-carat Koh-i-Noor, a Golconda Type IIa diamond extracted from the Golconda Kullur mines of Andhra Pradesh.
"There is no difference between a natural and CVD diamond — you have to look out for the same 4Cs in both of them-cut, colour, clarity, and carat. The only differentiation is that unlike natural diamonds, CVD diamonds are not mined. They are devoid of ethical conflicts as they don’t undergo an ambiguous supply chain or face hazards owing to mining conditions. Also, they don’t incur huge mining and extraction costs, making it more sustainable," adds Pooja.
Additionally, the lab-grown variety of the Type IIa diamond saves 109 gallons of water and 1,750 tonnes of land excavation per carat. Naturally, it is much cheaper, and available minus the guilt.