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Eduard Gorodetsky: Currently we see high demand for synthetic diamonds for use in technology segment rather than in jewelry

11 march 2024

eduard_gorodetski_xx.pngThe Research Center ‘Advanced Synthetic Research’ was set up in Russia in 2019. It is a high-tech innovative company producing ultra-hard materials for the electronics, mining, medical and jewelry industries.

The company was founded by a group of engineers and is located at the Sestroretsk Tool Factory - Voskov Industrial Park, and it will soon launch a new large factory in the city of Kimry, the Tver Region.

Director General of the Research Center Eduard Gorodetsky told Rough&Polished about the current situation at the company, new exclusive technologies in the synthesis and production of lab-grown crystals, as well as the Research Center’s long-term plans.

 

About two years ago, you told Rough&Polished about your plans. What is your company working on today?

Two years have been quite successful for our company in improving our methods for growing diamond monocrystals. We developed a technology that enabled us to set two world records. In addition, we are conducting research in multilayer growing of melee diamonds in a cubic hydraulic press. Last year, these studies allowed us to introduce technology that increased the company’s production capacity.

Now, we continue improving the technology for growing diamond monocrystals larger than 60 carats. Over the past two years, the market for lab-grown diamonds has changed greatly and currently we see high demand for synthetic diamonds for use in technology segment rather than in jewelry. In this regard, we have refined and adjusted our goals.

Our company’s mission focuses on one of the high-demand market segments today, which is the development of innovative solutions and processes for producing lab-grown diamonds to ensure their further use in advanced technologies in various industries.

Large-size synthetic diamonds are unique and very rare in the market and enjoy high demand. There were publications in press and Rough&Polished about the new diamonds grown by your Research Center and certified by the Gemological Laboratory of the Moscow State University. Are you going to set new records?

As you noticed, the high-pressure high-temperature (HPHT) method we use allowed us to grow and cut&polish two of the world’s largest nitrogen-free diamonds weighing 20.75 and 16.04 carats, respectively. These polished diamonds have the highest characteristics, including the first color [under Russian diamond classification, similar to D color - ed.] and almost perfect clarity, which was confirmed by the independent Gemological Laboratory of the Moscow State University. The HPHT method allows us to grow diamonds with the highest characteristics in laboratory conditions, with pressure and temperature parameters very close to the conditions of diamond formation during natural geological processes, and our process takes many hours.

But we do not focus on diamond sizes; our main goal is the synthesis of electronic grade diamonds for the power electronics production. In this case, size is only one of the parameters in growing diamonds, and the ideal structure of the crystal lattice is of higher importance. We carefully examine all perfect and large-size stones and use them to create components for technological industries.

Two years ago, you talked about your plans to develop and scale-up your technology at additional production facilities in Russia. What is being done to scale-up your production?

We have set up a Research Center ‘Advanced Synthetic Research’ at our enterprise in Sestroretsk where we conduct scientific experiments, develop and improve our exclusive technology for production of lab-grown diamonds. Despite the great interest in our work shown by our colleagues, including foreign researchers and producers, we do not have plans to sell our technology. Our main goal is to introduce our technology on the basis of a high-tech advanced production facility in Russia. For this purpose, we acquired a former mechanical engineering factory in the city of Kimry, the Tver Region, not far from Moscow. We have reconstructed the factory and are now preparing for its start-up.

Can you tell us more about your new factory in the Tver Region and about your plans related to it?

The reconstruction work has already been completed. The presses and all the equipment have been installed at the site and commissioning work is underway. We are intensively preparing for launching the production. The conversion of the old factory into a new one allowed us to take into account all the peculiarities of the lab-grown diamond production. The factory in Kimry should bring the company to a new modern level of operation. Diamond synthesis is set to be carried out using 34 presses simultaneously, which is three times more than the current production capacity in Sestroretsk. More presses mean not only increasing our output, but also carrying out more research and making more discoveries. Scientific research and improvement of the technology are now very urgently needed in our country taking into account the global demand for them. In addition, launching these production facilities in our country allows Russia to take a leading position in the global market for electronic quality diamond monocrystals.

Now, the presses used in Kimry and Sestroretsk are similar. We have applied many innovative solutions in the press piping system and fittings as well as in software, but non-professionals cannot see these changes. Our plans also include the purchase of CVD systems and more advanced, up-to-date presses.

What new technologies are under development and how an exclusive technology for growing the synthetic crystals is used?

We are working on a new HPHT diamond growth technology that can allow the production of lab-grown diamonds weighing over 150 carats. For this purpose, our company’s specialists carry out research in doping grown crystals with various chemical compounds. Such crystals can be used in the microelectronics manufacture and new colors can be given to crystals.

What is your opinion on the situation in the lab-grown diamond sector, the market prospects and your company outlook?

The jewelry industry is undergoing great changes as lab-grown diamonds continue replacing the natural ones. According to market experts, half of the loose polished diamonds sold in the US retail are lab-growns. Global brands such as Tiffany and Prada have begun using lab-grown diamonds in their jewelry. Customer awareness on lab-grown diamonds has increased significantly.

At the same time, the competition and struggle for sales markets intensified, which led to a decrease in wholesale prices. As a result, WD Lab Grown Diamonds, one of the largest companies on the market, went bankrupt in 2023.

This suggests that lab-grown diamonds and the jewelry industry are on the path to achieving balance.

We see the greatest prospects in the use of diamonds in electronics, optics, and medicine. Demand for devices using lab-grown diamonds is steadily growing, and lab-grown diamonds can provide innovative solutions for a number of industries. However, we continue working in the jewelry and technology markets because this makes our business model more sustainable.

Galina Semyonova for Rough&Polished