Lab-made diamonds are starting to catch on in Japan as more people embrace the idea of buying gems that are physically and chemically indistinguishable from natural diamonds.

Sold for around half the price of a similar natural gem, diamonds grown in labs are made inside a microwave chamber, superheated into a glowing plasma ball that crystallizes over weeks. Because of their quality and clarity, consumers are starting to pay more attention to the gems as an alternative to naturally mined diamonds.

Production of lab-grown diamonds reached 6 million to 7 million carats in 2020, with most of the sales coming from the U.S., according to a report by Bain & Co. That figure could potentially triple by the end of the decade as demand climbs, particularly in China and other markets.