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Diamonds may be forever…

…but now there’s lab-grown stones. Doesn’t it make sense then to get more carats for your cash than risk blood on your ring finger, asks Marisha Karwa

Having wrestled between personal profit and morality, Danny Archer embraced death in order to do the right thing in the 2006 hit Blood Diamond. About a decade later, Leonardo DiCaprio, nominated for an Oscar for essaying the role, put his money where Archer’s heart was — in conflict-free diamonds. As an investor in Silicon Valley’s Diamond Foundry, which creates diamonds in the laboratory, Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor might have done to the mined diamond industry what the iPod did to the discman/walkman.

This may sound like a coup waiting to happen. But then, change is not what the diamond trade is accustomed to. Diamonds, which form naturally at great depths under immense heat and pressure in the earth’s crust over millions of years, have been mined forever in what many observers say are environmentally unfriendly and ethically compromised practises. Besides, diamonds are increasingly in scarce supply because the mines are drying up.

Enter man-made diamonds for the gem trade i.e. diamonds grown in laboratories, which have the same attributes — physical qualities and chemical composition down to the atomic level — as mined diamonds, that are cut and polished for that magical sparkle. If you leave out the nomenclature, even a diamond expert’s naked eye won’t be able to tell the difference between a mined and a lab-grown stone set in an ornament. Carat to carat, a lab-grown diamond costs one-third of a mined one, according to industry reports. Add to this potential-for-upheaval, the fact that today’s luxury consumer and tomorrow’s millennial are increasingly conscious of making a responsible choice, then it is apparent why the ‘diamonds are forever’ proposition is ripe for disruption.

Read More: DNA India