Why Lab Diamonds Will Never be Cheap to Manufacture
Are lab diamonds expensive to grow?
It is a common misconception that the price of growing diamonds will fall precipitously in the decades ahead. The mined diamond industry aggressively promotes this misconception, arguing that the price of lab diamonds will fall to the price inferior diamond simulants such as cubic zirconia in the decades ahead.
Unfortunately for the mined diamond industry, this misconception can be proven false for the following three reasons:
There is a well-known speed limit as to how fast a diamond crystal can be grown. If you 'turn it up to 11' to try to grow a diamond faster, the diamonds grown will have fractures in the crystal resulting in low-clarity, low-value diamond gemstones. The growth speed limit will not change no matter how large the grown diamond industry becomes in the decades ahead.
The cost of cutting and polishing a rough diamond into a diamond gemstone is A) significant and B) exactly the same for both grown and mined diamonds. Diamond is the hardest naturally occurring material on Earth, and it can only be cut and polished by other diamonds or multi-million dollar laser tools. It will always cost the same amount of money to cut mined diamonds and synthetic diamonds, as both are diamonds.
The process to grow diamonds is one of the most difficult and precise manufacturing techniques ever achieved by humankind. The operation and care of diamond growth equipment takes PhDs and highly skilled technicians. Each diamond production machine ranges from approximately $250k to over $1 million dollars.
Lastly, it is far cheaper to mine diamonds that you would think. De Beers self-reported costs to mine diamonds was $104 per carat (for rough diamonds). It is Ada Diamonds' position that the marginal cost to grow each diamond in a laboratory will always be greater than the cost for De Beers and other mining operations to dig diamonds out of the Earth, and the costs to cut, polish, and grade diamonds is exactly the same, regardless of the origin: grown or mined.