At the beginning, synthetic diamonds were primarily intended for industry. With technological advances of recent years their quality now equals natural gemstones, to the point that it's impossible to distinguish them with naked eyes.

But the arrival of synthetic diamonds on the jewelry market is a threat for Africa, which is largely absent in this developing market.

natural vs. synthetic diamonds

In addition to being cheaper, synthetic diamonds have the advantage of never being tainted by blood and armed conflict. They could therefore appear as the ideal alternative to diamonds and the bloody image associated with them.

Blood diamonds

But we can very easily say that synthetic diamonds aren't the answer.

" What is rare is expensive "

With an estimated production of 20 million carats by 2026, synthetic diamond will be able to cause a disruption of diamond market.

Value that is given to diamonds depends on their rarity.
Thus, the arrival on the market of synthetic diamonds could lead to the general fall in diamond prices, and the end of the social prestige granted to it.

The decline in raw diamond prices was 15% in 2015. An important drop for African countries dependent on the diamond trade.

Colored raw diamonds

Polished cubic raw diamonds

Arrival of synthetic diamond : what impact for Africa ?

Conflict issue is often mentioned when we talk about synthetic diamonds, which we're sure are guaranteed "conflict free".

But it should be noted that since the introduction of Kimberley Process, share of blood diamonds in world production is estimated at about 0.2%, compared with almost 15% in the late 1990s. War is minor compared to what it was only 15 years ago.

Moreover, by producing 60% of the world's raw diamond production, Africa derives many benefits from this market, a source of stability and development in many regions. This trade brings in about $ 8.4 billion a year. A significant sum for social and economic development of the continent.

Raw blue diamond

1,10 carat blue cubic raw diamond

However to date Africa is missing on the market of synthetic diamonds. If the latter become democratized, the consequences for the economy of the African producing countries could be detrimental : falling diamond prices, lower export earnings and taxes on multinationals, job cuts...
What shake their stability still often fragile !

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August 15, 2019 — Hugo Maherault

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