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Lab-grown Diamonds (LGDs)

Context:

India is playing a significant role in the lab-grown diamond industry, positioning itself as the world’s second-largest producer of precious stones created in laboratories rather than extracted from the earth.

Relevance:

GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What are lab grown diamonds?
  2. How are LDGs produced?
  3. What are Lab-Grown Diamonds (LDGs) used for?
  4. Upanishads

What are lab grown diamonds?

  • Lab grown diamonds are diamonds that are produced using specific technology which mimics the geological processes that grow natural diamonds.
  • They are not the same as “diamond simulants” – LDGs are chemically, physically and optically diamond and thus are difficult to identify as “lab grown.”
  • While materials such as Moissanite, Cubic Zirconia (CZ), White Sapphire, YAG, etc. are “diamond simulants” that simply attempt to “look” like a diamond, they lack the sparkle and durability of a diamond and are thus easily identifiable.
  • However, differentiating between an LDG and an Earth Mined Diamond is hard, with advanced equipment required for the purpose.

How are LDGs produced?

  • The most common (and cheapest) is the “High pressure, high temperature” (HPHT) method.
  • As the name suggests, this method requires extremely heavy presses that can produce up to 730,000 psi of pressure under extremely high temperatures (at least 1500 celsius).
  • Usually graphite is used as the “diamond seed” and when subjected to these extreme conditions, the relatively inexpensive form of carbon turns into one of the most expensive carbon forms.
  • Other processes include “Chemical Vapor Deposition” (CVD) and explosive formation that creates what are known as “detonation nanodiamonds”.

What are Lab-Grown Diamonds (LDGs) used for?

  • LDGs have properties similar to natural diamonds, including their optical dispersion which gives them the diamond sheen.
  • They are often used for industrial purposes in machines and tools due to their hardness and extra strength.
  • LDGs have high thermal conductivity but negligible electrical conductivity which makes them valuable for electronics.
  • With the depletion of natural diamonds, LDGs are becoming a replacement for the precious gemstone in the jewelry industry.
  • The growth in production of LDGs does not affect India’s established diamond industry that involves polishing and cutting of diamonds.

-Source: The Hindu


June 2024
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