How synthetic diamonds are upending the industry's status quo

Lab-grown diamonds are causing changes in a business that is already under heavy scrutiny

A pair of tweezers holding a diamond
Synthetic diamonds are forcing companies like De Beers to pivot
(Image credit: Stock Photo via Getty Images)

The size of the global diamond industry is projected to reach nearly $140 billion by 2030, and it's easy to see why: the gemstones are sold for thousands of dollars each and remain a common purchase for a variety of occasions. However, some people are starting to look for alternatives to the pricey gift, namely in the form of synthetic diamonds. 

Also known as lab-based or cultured diamonds, these are stones that are made to mimic the look of a real diamond using synthetic material. As a result, they are typically "between 60% to 85% less than the price of a natural diamond of the same size and quality," according to U.K.-based jeweler Queensmith. Cultured diamonds are also a popular option for those who are critical of the exploitative practices of mining diamonds, often referred to as the "blood diamond" trade

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