The microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition (MPCVD) diamond growth process has witnessed significant technological advancements, widening the prospects of lab-grown diamonds in gem applications as well as in scientific and high-tech applications. While the MPCVD technique has been used over the last decade to successfully grow small single crystal, colorless diamonds at various research facilities around the world in a limited scale for scientific studies, scalable growth of consistent quality diamonds has been almost impossible to achieve.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (industrialautomation.frost.com), Grown Diamonds - Shaping the Future Of the Diamond Industry, finds that leading industry firms have now been able to integrate high-end research with effective management of formidable supply-chain and cost-related challenges, enabling the scalable production of high-quality, single-crystal, colorless lab-grown diamonds.
Mr. Tom Chatham, Chatham Created Gems & Diamonds Inc. notes that "success in scaling-up production of diamonds using CVD technology requires scientific know-how, continuous flow of funds and a passion for years of research. There are several aspects - and not all are related to Chemistry - that need to be optimized in order to achieve successful continuous production."
Like any new and potentially disruptive technology, MPCVD grown diamonds have been perceived both as an opportunity and as a threat. As a direct consumer product, the challenge faced by the grown diamond industry is to eliminate terminologies aimed at reducing its acceptability and to educate consumers about the reality and benefits of grown diamonds. In scientific and high technology applications, consistent supply and commercial viability will lead to rapid uptake.
"The confusion in terminology of grown diamonds may have an impact on end-buyers in the gem application market," noted Mr. Mike McMahon, CEO of SCIO Diamond Technology Corporation. "In this regard, marketing campaigns and a consortium message from industry participants that comprehensively cover the benefits of lab-grown diamonds would be a welcome step." He goes on to add that "for the customers in scientific & high-tech applications, consistent availability of diamonds suited to their particular applications is paramount".
Industry participants will be able to overcome these challenges by effective marketing campaigns that increase awareness of grown diamonds among consumers. MPCVD doesn't involve synthesis at any stage of the diamond growth process, and leads to the formation of diamond in its native element form, just like earth-derived diamonds. Grown MPCVD diamonds, unlike diamond simulants such as Moissanite, are identical to earth-derived diamonds in terms of physical, chemical and optical properties. In fact, these diamonds are high-quality Type IIA diamonds, which is a very pure, very rare type of diamond, comprising less than two percent of the world's earth-derived diamonds.
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