Bengaluru is buzzing about lab-grown diamonds after PM Modi presented it to Jill Biden
Bengalureans share their views on lab-grown diamonds and whether they would prefer it over the original form
During his recent visit to the US, Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented Jill Biden, the First Lady of the USA, a lab-grown 7.5-carat diamond, putting much spotlight on them. A growing community of Bengalurueans is opting for this eco-friendly option owing to it being pocket-friendly, thereby giving them the option to make other financial investments. In the recent Budget, the govt removed 5% duty on lab-grown diamonds.
For example, Rumya Misquita, who works in the field of learning and development, went in for a labgrown diamond for her engagement and now has a ring of her choice as well as money in the bank. “I always dreamt of one big rock. Let’s say, the bigger the diamonds, the better. But for a bigger diamond, I was clear I didn’t want to compromise on the brilliance. That’s when my colleague suggested lab-grown diamonds. I got the rock I wanted, and the value too,” says Misquita. Even Neha Bajpai, who works in financial services, wanted a ‘solid rock’ but without it denting her finances. “My parents recently turned 60. As a tradition, the women of the house were given generous amounts of money to buy jewellery of our choice for the Shashti Poorthi. I wanted diamonds, of course. Not just any, but the traditional three-layer neckpiece. My design was final which is when my cousin suggested man-made diamonds. At first, I was shocked, then I was pleasantly surprised. The big cloud on my head was, are they even diamonds? But they are real, and come with a certification,” says Bajpai. Giving a perspective, a lab-grown solitaire ring costs close to ₹45,000 while a natural one costs over ₹1 lakh.
While the number of lab-grown diamond takers is increasing, there are many who still prefer traditionally- mined diamonds. Like Amber Sundka, a lifestyle content creator who manages her family business in hospitality. “The beauty of the diamond is it’s a natural substance. The fact that it’s synthetically made takes away that factor. Moreover, when you own a very expensive stone like a diamond, it should come with a legacy. For example, the diamonds that my mother owns have a story behind them. By making the stone easily available, that exclusivity is gone,” says Sundka.
Sundka is not alone in her line of thinking. Lisa Mukhedkar, the founder of city-based lab-grown diamond brand Aukera also sources diamonds from the Surat-based firm – which sourced the lab-grown diamond which PM Modi carried to the White House– says the transition will be gradual but she can see the change already. “To begin with, lab-grown diamonds have been around for about 60 years. But as recently as 2018, the US Federal Trade Commission declared them as diamonds. And that spurred phenomenal growth in the US when it got the required legitimacy. The India story is just beginning. Lab-grown diamonds have similar certificates to mined diamonds. They have a buy-back and exchange value. They are made in specialised facilities in highly-controlled conditions. When designed and crafted right, they make the most exquisite jewellery,” says Mukhedkar, who believes that in the future lab-grown diamonds and natural diamonds will co-exist.