Surat: The green lab-grown diamond gifted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the first lady of the United States, Jill Biden, has been cut and polished in diamond hub Surat in Gujarat. The 7.5 carat diamond was grown at the renowned Green Lab in the city’s Ichhapore Gems and Jewellery Park.
Sources close to Mukesh Patel, the chairman of Green Lab, said he was elated that Modi picked a lab-grown diamond produced in his state-of-the-art facility that runs on green energy. Grown in Green Lab, the diamond was delicately cut and polished into a round shape specifically for the purpose of gifting it to Jill Biden. However, the sources refused to divulge the value of the diamond.
Surat’s diamond industry that cuts and polishes as much as 80% of the gems produced in the world is enthused by this development. According to Dinesh Navadia, chairman of Surat-based Indian Diamond Institute, “By this gesture Narendra Modi has become a veritable ambassador of the ‘Make In India’ campaign given that Surat has also emerged as the global leader in lab-grown diamond cultivation and manufacturing.”
Innovation, expertise driving diamond industry's growth
Navadia says the very fact that the United States is the world’s biggest consumer of lab-grown diamond jewellery worldwide gives a special meaning to this gift by the Prime Minister. “The 7.5 carat diamond made by Green Lab using sustainable energy sources, symbolizes the innovation and expertise driving the industry’s growth.”
Vipul Shah, Chairman of the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), India’s apex body backed by the Union Commerce Ministry beamed, “This remarkable gesture not only signifies the deep bond between our nations but also highlights the exemplary advancements made by India in the lab-grown diamond (LGD) sector.”
“Today India is the largest player in growing chemical vapour deposition (CVD) lab-grown diamonds. Presenting 7.5 carats in the 75th year of India’s Independence highlights India’s leadership in the LGD sunrise sector and is a great example of the Make in India story, after attaining undisputed global leadership in natural diamonds. India’s exports of LGD have grown exponentially and crossed USD 1.67 billion in 2022- 2023,” Shah said.
Compelling alternative to natural diamonds
Says Melvyn Thomas, a senior Surat-based journalist who has been tracking the diamond industry for the last two decades, “Lab-grown diamonds have emerged as a compelling alternative to natural diamonds. The shortage of rough diamonds from Russia due to the US sanctions has presented challenges for Surat.”
“In such a situation, the lab-grown diamond industry has become a viable alternative, providing employment opportunities for diamond workers in the region,” Thomas adds.
Navadia explained that the lab-grown green diamond gifted to Jill Biden has the same chemical and optical properties as earth-mined diamonds, while also being environmentally friendly. “The manufacturing process (at Green Lab) employed eco-diversified resources such as solar and wind power, further highlighting the commitment to sustainability and green practices,” he said.
With Prime Minister Modi’s endorsement to India’s advancements in lab-grown diamond manufacturing, the country “is poised to be a trailblazer in the industry, setting new standards for excellence and environmental responsibility,” Navadia adds.