Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi handed a 7.5-carat lab-grown diamond to US First Lady Jill Biden during a state visit.
The “beautiful eco-friendly lab-grown diamond” was a gift to the wife of President Joe Biden, Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted on Thursday.
The stone came in a papier-mâché box from the Kashmir region. It was one of several items Modi gave the Bidens at a private dinner, The Indian Express reported.
“The diamond reflects earth-mined diamonds’ chemical and optical properties,” the newspaper cited a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs as saying. “It is also eco-friendly, as eco-diversified resources like solar and wind power were used in its making.”
US presidents must hand in gifts from foreign officials to national ownership if their value exceeds $480.
The gesture won praise from India’s Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), which has been promoting the country’s lab-grown sector.
“GJEPC expresses its deep gratitude to [Modi] for presenting a 7.5-carat lab-grown diamond, grown in India with wind and solar power, as a gift to President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden,” the organization tweeted.
It described the piece as a “symbol of sustainable craftsmanship and the enduring bond between our nations.”
“Today, India is the largest player in growing of CVD [chemical vapor deposition] lab-grown diamonds,” the council continued. “7.5 carats in the 75th year of India’s independence highlights India’s leadership in the LGD [lab-grown diamond] sunrise sector.”
Last year, the GJEPC described the synthetic-diamond industry as a potential sector for economic growth. That came only a few years after the Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) in Mumbai lifted its ban on man-made diamonds. The US is by far the world’s largest retail market for the product.
Correction, June 27, 2023: The lab-grown diamond was F-color and not green; the Indian government’s mention of a “green” stone referred to its purported environmental credentials.
Main image: The lab-grown diamond. (Piyush Goyal/Twitter)