India may soon become a major hub of lab-grown diamonds as the units in Surat have started production, which will reduce India’s dependence on China and Russia for imports of this category of diamonds. Rough diamonds will be manufactured, cut and polished in Surat and then exported to overseas markets.“India will become a major hub of lab-grown diamonds by 2030. Already, production of rough lab-grown diamonds has begun in Surat,” said Colin Shah, chairman, Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council. “Going ahead, there will be three centres for producing lab-grown diamonds – Surat, Jaipur and Mumbai. Indian players have come up with machines that can churn out rough diamonds. So the value-chain for lab-grown diamonds has completed.”Industry executives said natural diamond players in the country are entering this segment because of growing demand for lab-grown diamonds across the world given their relatively cheaper prices.Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, imports of rough lab-grown diamonds shot up 68.28% year-on-year in the first ten months of this financial year to $536.16 million. Exports went up 57.09% to $617.67 million during this period.Shah said the lab-grown diamond industry will employ about 100,000 people in the next three years. “Improving accuracy and speed in lab-grown diamond detection machines has today made it feasible to maintain the integrity of both diamond pipelines with relative ease. As long as disclosures are made, there is a bright future for lab-grown diamond to co-exist with natural diamonds,” he said.A Bain & Company said in a report that out of the global output of 6- 7 million carats in 2020, India’s share in production of lab-grown diamonds was an estimated 1.5 million carats. China ranks first in lab-grown diamond production, with an output of 3 million carats, as per the Bain report. Singapore and the US jointly hold the third position with an output of a million carats. The synthetic diamonds global market growth is expected to increase by $9.8 billion at a compounded annual growth rate of 8.11% during 2019-2024. The market share of lab-grown diamonds has been growing steadily and is expected to account for 10% (estimated at 19.2 million carats) of the entire worldwide diamond market by 2030. India’s lab-grown diamond production is mainly through the carbon vapour deposition method, followed by high pressure high temperature (HPHT). Chinese production is primarily through the HPHT method. The lab-grown diamond industry is expected to employ about 1.15 million people worldwide by 2050.