GJEPC outlines growth potential of lab-grown diamonds in meeting chaired by Honorable Minister of Commerce Shri Piyush Goyal

(PRESS RELEASE) MUMBAI – GJEPC officials were present at a meeting on the laboratory grown diamond (LGD) industry chaired by the Union Minister of Commerce and Industry; Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution and Textiles, Shri Piyush Goyal in New Delhi on May 17, 2022.

Shri BVR Subrahmanyam, Secretary, MOC&I; Shri Vipul Bansal, Joint Secretary, MOC&I; and Shri R. Arulanandan, Director, DOC were present at the meeting. Industry was represented by Shri Colin Shah, President, GJEPC; Shri Dinesh Navadiya, Regional Chairman (Gujarat), GJEPC; Shri Naresh Lathiya, Head of Lab-Grown Committee, GJEPC; Shri Manish Jiwani, Co-Organizer, Diamond & Lab-Grown Diamond, GJEPC; and Shri Sabyasachi Ray, Executive Director, GJEPC among others.

Shri Colin Shah, President of GJEPC gave a presentation on the state of the LGD industry, current market scenario and growth potential. Discussions also focused on a proposal to include the development of LGD machines under the Production Linked Incentives (PLI) scheme, which was approved by the minister.

In his remarks on the meeting, Shri Colin Shah said, “Lab-grown diamonds have the potential to build and sustain a stronger and more self-sufficient national cutting and polishing industry. The industry thanks Honorable Minister of Commerce Piyush Goyal for hearing the industry’s proposal to include lab-grown diamonds under the Production Linked Incentives (PLI) scheme and for believing that the LGD industry has the potential to employ 1 million people to process 150 million carats of lab-grown diamonds and achieve an export turnover of Rs. 40,000 crores in the near future. The introduction of an LGD tracking system will help GJEPC monitor the supply chain and maintain consumer confidence in lab-grown diamonds.

Under the proposed PLI scheme, the unit to obtain benefits will have to invest a minimum of Rs. 50 crores and achieve a turnover equal to twice the investment. In addition, the government will consider allowing the import of sophisticated machinery needed for lab-grown diamonds at preferential import duty for one year with a view to promoting the local manufacture of such machinery in subsequent years. Companies benefiting from the advantages of the PLI must be certified by the GJEPC.

Discussions also focused on listing an eminent institute for research and development, establishing a Mega Common Facility Center in Gujarat and developing the skills of adequate manpower through training on the job. LGDs will also be included in the upcoming FTP 2021-26, and a separate country-level HSN code for natural studded and LGD studded jewelry to have a bifurcation on the types of diamonds used in jewelry.

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The Department of Commerce was asked to encourage the manufacture of the machines, so that the industry could develop more rapidly.

Currently, India contributes around 15% of the world’s lab-grown diamond production for which it is currently self-sufficient. However, keeping in mind the future potential, it is necessary to maintain technological autonomy in the production of machinery and a leading position in the production of synthetic diamonds. Given India’s expertise in polishing diamonds, it is imperative that India position itself firmly in the synthetic diamond business as well, as the polishing process is similar.

Lab-grown diamonds are grown in a lab using state-of-the-art technology that mimics the process of growing natural diamonds and the result is a man-made diamond. Synthetic diamonds can be created by two processes: high pressure high temperature (HPHT), which is prevalent in China, and chemical vapor deposition (CVD), which is commonly seen in the United States and India.

Apart from the jewelry industry, lab-grown diamonds are also used in computer chips, satellites and 5G networks as they can be used in extreme environments as they have the potential to operate at higher speeds while using less power than silicon-based chips.

India’s exports of lab-polished diamonds more than doubled (+105.63%) to $1.3 billion from April 2021 to March 2022, from $636.25 million in fiscal 2020- 21.

Sarah C. Figueiredo