August 29, 2003
Diamonds are forever
This month's Wired Magazine cover story,
"The New Diamond
Age" is quite a read, merging Wired's standard breathless
technology-is-changing-everything fare with James Bond-style meetings and
secret labs complete with Russian scientists. At the root of the story are two
labs that make synthetic diamonds. These aren't simulated gemstones like
Cubic Zirconia (CZ) but real diamond gemstones that have been created in
the laboratory rather than mined from the Earth. Gemesis, based in Florida, uses high
pressure and temperature chambers that mimic how diamonds are created in
the Earth. Apollo Diamond,
based near Boston, uses chemical vapor deposition to grow diamonds.
These labs, Wired hints, might just bankrupt the diamond industry.
To those within the jewelry industry, however, synthetic diamonds are
business-as-usual. Gemesis and now synthetic gemstone-maker Chatham have been producing synthetic
diamonds for several years, and the process was even the subject of a Nova back in
2000. Apollo's technique has produced some recent advances, but to hear Jeweler's
Circular Keystone report it this is all just steady technological
progress. It would seem the only important point to jewelers is whether
gemologists can scientifically distinguish synthetics from natural
gemstones, not whether the synthetics are "as good as" diamonds in any
other way. And according to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), it
straightforward to identify even the new Apollo diamonds. They also
note that Apollo is working with the GIA "to ensure that these CVD
laboratory-grown diamonds are correctly identified before being introduced
into the market."
The key is that the price of diamonds, and gemstones in general, are
governed by the laws of fashion rather than some objective
standard. Certainly diamonds are pretty, but then so is Cubic
Zirconia. There are two things that keep diamonds in high demand over
substitutes like CZ. First, the De
Beers cartel goes to great lengths to remind us that the only way for a
man to prove his love to a woman is by giving her diamonds, and you
can bet that De Beers won't let synthetics in on that little bit of
spin. As Jef Van Royen, a senior scientist at the Diamond High Council put it to
Wired: "If people really love each other, then they give each other the
real stone. It is not a symbol of eternal love if it is something that was
created last week." The second reason reaches the heart of fashion:
diamonds and natural gemstones are expensive. This is why people will still
buy natural emeralds, even though they are some 300 times more expensive than synthetic emeralds. Or more
accurately, they buy natural emeralds because they are 300
times more expensive than synthetics. Like luxury cars and designer-brand clothing, the
point is not the product itself so much as the ability to say "I can afford
this and you can't." As long as people can still say "happy birthday, Honey
— it's a natural diamond" I don't see synthetics destroying
the diamond market anytime soon.
Posted by bug to at August 29, 2003 11:27 PM
From what I've read so far, the jewelry community is taking these newfangled diamonds in stride. No one seems especially worried about customers abandoning the "real thing" and several sound quite gleeful at the prospect of seeing the diamond mafia squirm a bit.
Oh boy, here we go again, let me tell ya, if I can get a 2 carat diamond ring for $200, and it shines and has the same lustre as a natural diamond which may cost $3000, uuh, im buying the synthetic one...all day long! Nobody cares if catfish are raised on catfish farms, is a catfish still a catfish because it was nt caught in its natural habitat? i love the way this technology is taking the jewelry industry, no more murdering to control the diamond mines in Africa, GOD has made it to where we can all own a diamond. How you like that Mr. DeBeer!...He,he!
I see a natural marketing slant here..."Honey, I love you enough to give you a diamond not tainted with blood and I'm sophisticated enough to see through the artificial manipulation of the natural diamond market!"
In a laymans view: A couple of gas cylinders, some microwave parts, a spectrometer, thermometer, and a container to hold it in. Plus the device into your electrical outlet and produce $1000 dollar diamonds every couple of days.
I hope they come out with the home version soon.
Just think, no more artificial prices, Plus, it would be a big boost to stopping terriorism as they would not be able to have DeBeers handing over cash so they can buy weapons.
Now if we can just replace crude oil...
Now if we can just replace crude oil...
Funny, I was just listening to a lecture about that very subject...
I think this is a great invention. I want the sparkle and shine of a diamond, but i know too many people who have lost or had their jewelry stolen. I wouldn't walk around town with 20k in my pocket, much less sitting on my finger. I'd much rather my boyfriend put the money into a more practical use like our home or our future instead of a tiny piece of carbon on my finger. I honestly don't care if its not 'mined'. Most people don't realize the politics going on behind the DeBeers cartel and how they've done everything they can to corner the market. More over, the awful treatment of the miners in poor countries who go digging for them. The money is much better suited in our nest egg than in the hands of terrorists.
Hi - I was just wondering; where can you buy a synthetic diamond?? I can't seem to find any websites that sell them?? Please help!!!
Gemesis is currently selling through retail outlets. Apollo Diamond says they'll be opening a webstore to the general public "in 2006" and in the meantime take special orders on a case-by-case basis.
Hmm! That's good news about Apollo. I will never buy a de Beers diamond, and here's why - the mining methods they use are utterly destructive. You wonder why they just don't seem to find big diamonds like the Cullinan any more? It's because the diamonds are mined like coal, with smash-and-grind machines, because all the de Beers cares about getting are fragments suitable for putting in rings.
It's a particular tragedy when it comes to the rarer, colored stones. The Smithsonian was displaying a collection of colored stones a few years ago, and in regard to a beautiful blue diamond, the lecturer remarked that in the ground it had been much larger, but the stone was so fractured after the mining machine got through with it, that the piece on display was the largest one that could be worked to make something presentable.
Does anyone have a site or information on how to make synthetic diamonds?
i read your interesting article about synthetic diamonds. i am intersted in names of companies in russia and bellarus which create "synthetic diamonds" like "gemesis" and "appolo" create.
i know that the russian have the ability to create such diamonds in their labs. not unsing the hpth technology.
thank you for your help
can you help me in finding companies / labs in in Russia and Bellarus which create diamonds such diamonds as "Gemesis" and "Appolo" create. not using hpth technology. i want to buy in wholesaler's price.
I'm afraid I don't know much about synthetic diamond production in Russia (or for that matter about synthetic diamons in general beyond what I was able to learn from a few hours Googling). You might ask the journalist who wrote the Wired article if he knows some contacts, or contact gem trade groups in those countries.
A couple of years ago my boyfriend had received an invitation to a Corporate VP’s formal attire wedding. As I was working for a jewelry store at the time, I came up with what I thought was a clever scheme. I bought a lovely long satin gown on Bay and than wore it to work. I managed to convince my boss to lend me the really pretty jewellery I had been wearing, having a record sales day didn‘t hurt.. He agreed as long as I could say I had purchased there.
All seemed to work well. The reception was at the Ritz and we took in a hotel room across from a small park. We fit in quite well, and I must say I made a rather grand impression. By 12:30 am, we had been at the reception for almost 6 hours and both of us were feeling no pain. Deciding to call it quits we headed out. As it was rather a balmy evening, we started walking to our hotel to save cab fare. On the steps, my boyfriend was stopped by a colleague, and tired I headed on figuring he could catch up. I had just crossed the street when a couple on a motorcycle pulled alongside. The male driver asked me if he could have the time. I stepped over to them(dumb) watching the silly little grin plastered on the long haired female behind him. I raised my wrist to look at the time, and he grabbed it, no lady, gimme the watch. He pulled me, while the lady with him had hopped off the bike and got me from behind. It was over in seconds. She took the diamond earrings and necklace, the bloke got me bracelet, rings and rolex. They even snatched the rhinestone brooch from my gown. They then zoomed off, and were out of sight before I could even regain my feet. Talk about stupid. The insurance company money helped replace most of the jewellery, but none of my self esteem..