Groupe RSL is the first company to produce a Canadian lab-grown diamond gem, at its production facility in Quebec. The company is currently producing large diamonds for the premium jewellery market. With sustainability at the heart of its approach, Groupe RSL believes that lab diamonds have the potential to significantly reduce the environmental impacts of diamond production.
“Laboratory diamonds have the potential to revolutionize the industry, while reducing the environmental and human costs associated with diamond production,” said Luke Sinclair, CFO of Groupe RSL. “Consumers are seeking greater transparency in the diamonds that they purchase, and we firmly believe that the industry need not be at odds with the environment or principles of social responsibility. We are excited to see how the lab-grown diamond industry evolves over the coming years.”
Groupe RSL produces its diamonds locally in Quebec using a chemical vapour deposition, or CVD, process, whereby hydrogen and methane gas are combined in a plasma under precise conditions to grow diamonds one atom at a time over a period of several weeks to a month. Powered entirely by hydroelectricity, Groupe RSL has developed its own unique process to become the first Canadian company to use this approach to make diamond gems.
“For most of human scientific history, we thought that it was impossible to make diamonds in anything but the hottest high-pressure conditions. That’s why early attempts at man-made diamond focused on replicating the intense pressure that creates diamonds beneath the ground,” adds Sinclair. “Recent research has brought to light a new idea, using hydrogen and methane gas in a controlled reaction.”
Mined Diamonds vs. Lab-created Diamonds
Mined diamonds and lab created diamonds are identical—chemically, physically and optically, and cannot be distinguished from one another without highly specialized equipment. In fact, mined diamonds often contain defects or impurities, both of which can be controlled or removed in lab diamonds.
There has been a significant increase in demand for lab-grown diamonds in recent years, with lab diamond’s share of diamond sales more than doubling between 2020 and 2022. Millennials and Generation Z are moving away from mined diamonds, with nearly 70% of millennials considering buying a lab grown alternative. Consumers also seek greater transparency to ensure diamonds are sourced responsibly and produced sustainably. For example, nine in ten Generation Z consumers believe companies have a responsibility to address environmental and social issues.