The Central government has announced that IIT Madras will be the hub for cultivating lab-created diamonds.

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The government declared on Thursday their plans to build the India centre for lab-grown diamond (InCent-LGD) at IIT Madras, with an expected expenditure of Rs 242.96 crore. Financial support will be given over the next five years. The commerce ministry declared that the goal of this project is to offer technical help to the industrialists and business owners in the field.

In the Union Budget 2023-24, a five-year research grant was allocated to one of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) to support the local production of lab-grown diamond (LGD) items, such as machinery, seeds and recipes. This would help boost the production of both chemical vapour deposition and high-pressure and temperature systems, as well as promote the expansion of the LGD industry. Furthermore, it would make the technology accessible to startups at a reasonable cost, create job opportunities, and raise exports of LGD.

It has been proposed to build an India Centre for Lab-Grown Diamonds (InCent-LGD) at IIT Madras, with an estimated cost of Rs 242.96 crore over a period of 5 years. Not only are lab-grown diamonds used in the jewellery industry, but they also have a wide range of applications in the defense, optics, thermal, and medical sectors, due to their capacity to perform at higher speeds while consuming less energy than silicon-based chips, even in extreme conditions.

In 2020, the lab-grown diamond jewellery sector had a market value of USD 1 billion around the world. According to the ministry, it is anticipated to increase sharply to USD 5 billion by 2025 and go above USD 15 billion by the year 2035. The production of lab-grown diamonds is done by two technologies – High-Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapour Deposition. India is one of the key producers of these diamonds, employing the CVD technique. Estimates from the industry state that India’s share in global trade in 2021-22 was 25.8%.

The ministry noted that reliance on foreign countries for the required machinery parts and ‘seeds’ (the materials used to create synthetic diamonds) is essential. It is thus important that India develops its own technologies to produce the necessary components and seeds in order to reduce the dependence on imported goods.

Lab-grown diamonds of high quality with proper accreditation, manufactured with modern equipment and optimized processes will draw in many international buyers, thus increasing foreign exports of lab-grown diamonds and the capability of production. The thorough process parameters and established recipe will persuade new entrepreneurs to join the lab-grown diamond sector, making it simpler and cheaper to build the facility, begin the business and create jobs, it was further noted.

Mayank Tewari

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