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We are on the brink of a revolution in diamond technology - until recently, the diamond trade had been carefully controlled, with restrictions placed on both the supply and price set.

In 2010, the Chinese entered the market with synthetic diamonds, driving down the price and opening up a new world of possibilities. The diamond business has been changing ever since, and a gradual increase in high-quality, cheap diamonds for use in industry is predicted to soon reach a tipping point – with a huge impact on manufacturing.

Having the diamonds is one thing, knowing how to use them is another. Coborn Engineering, a company based in Romford, Essex, is poised to take advantage of this new era. “We live in exciting times,” says Coborn managing director Steve Westlake. “Diamonds are the hardest material known, and we help people around the world grind, lap, laser-cut and polish them.”

Although when we think of diamonds, we may think of engagement rings, the applications for the material go beyond jewellery. For example, when one major phone manufacturer started making their products out of aluminium rather than plastic, the need for cutting patterns into metal to produce as many as a million units a day created a boom for Coborn.

“Diamonds are replacing carbide in drills," explains Westlake. “A diamond drill might last six times longer than a carbide drill. As the cost of diamonds comes down, not only are they enabling factories to produce more units, there is less down time in replacing worn out parts. When you look at a factory that produces a million units a day, these savings quickly add up.”

With the diamond industry set to be a core element of many future developments in engineering and technology, knowing how to use the material could transform the fortunes of a company that deploys it – and put ever-more sophisticated technology within reach of their customers.

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