Lab-grown diamonds have been around since the 1950s, but this manufacturer has been able to produce larger, better-quality diamonds—ideal for both jewelry and semiconductor chips.
- Martin Roscheisen’s company Diamond Foundry produces large lab-grown diamonds that are cut down into wafers which he says can be used in chips that power phones, laptops, and cars.
- Diamond Foundry has tripled its diamond production in the last year and plans to produce 20 million carats worth of the gem by 2025.
- Natural diamonds are much more expensive and difficult to obtain. Roscheisen’s diamonds are much more cost-effective.
- Lab-grown diamonds have been used industrially for decades, but newly advanced technology has made it possible to produce diamonds of jewelry quality in sizes typically not found in nature.
- The artificial mineral now accounts for 10% of the diamond jewelry trade for a much lower price—sometimes 80% less.
Why it’s news
While luxury jewelers may still have an aversion to lab-grown diamonds, the price and the environmental benefits are something jewelry buyers may not be able to avoid.
A natural diamond has a carbon emission footprint of around 170 kilograms per carat. On the other hand, a lab-grown one has an 8-kilogram footprint, and Diamond Foundry has goals to get that number even lower with plans for zero-carbon production. Roscheisen’s Washington warehouse runs on hydropower, and his new production facility in Spain will be solar-powered.
“We plan to replace all of diamond mining in five years,” Roscheisen says.
Jewelry-making is not the only thing Roscheisen has in mind for his manufactured diamonds. For the next generation of microchips, chip-makers need a 423-carat wafer. Through a new process called diamond heteroepitaxy, Diamond Foundry has been able to direct the growth of the mineral to form a diamond sheet, Forbes reports.
The process takes several weeks to complete, compared to billions of years it takes for natural diamonds to form. Researchers study the method for 25 years before successfully developing a way to direct the diamond’s growth.
With Diamond Foundry’s new process, Roscheisen plans to produce 20 million carats per year by 2025. The rough stones will be about eight inches before being cut down into the more attractive gems displayed in jewelry.