Synthetic Diamonds in the Future

Facts About Man Made Diamonds. De Beers was founded in South Africa in 1888 and today is the largest producer and seller of diamonds. Almost from the beginning the De Beers company has had a strangle hold on the diamond industry and a huge advertising budget. Diamonds are not as rare as the advertiser would have you to believe. De Beers keeps a huge stockpile of diamonds and tightly controls supply.

De Beers started the very successful advertising campaign A Diamond Is Forever in 1947. The Advertising Age magazine has voted this to be the most recognizable advertising line of the twentieth century. This advertising campaign was designed to discourage diamonds owners from putting their old diamonds back into the market. The success of this campaign turned diamond into the symbol of eternal love and dramatically increased demand for the gems.

The ability to create cubic zirconium happened in the 1950 but it was not until 1979 that it became economically feasible to mass-produce and use them as a diamond substitute. Only a gemologist can tell the difference between a diamond created by nature and a diamond created in a laboratory.

There are several companies that are investing a lot of time and money in developing a laboratory-grown diamond process and are doing quite well. Because of the diamonds optical, thermal, chemical, and electronic properties, laboratory-grown diamonds have a lot of potential to affect many industries and not just the Jewelry industry.

Gemesis is a company founded in 1996 and based in Sarasota, Fla., that is growing diamonds in high-pressure, high-temperature crystal growing chambers. Each chamber starts with a tiny diamond crystal or diamond seed that is bathed in a molten solution of graphite and a metal-based catalyst at about 2,600 degrees Fahrenheit and 58,000 atmospheres of pressure. The diamond begins to grow, molecule by molecule and in about three and a half days a gem-quality 2.8 carat rough diamond has been created.

A rough diamond of this size can create a diamond of about 1.5 carats that has been cut, polished, and is ready for mounting in a setting. Naturally occurring colored diamonds will show color because of the trace amounts of impurities in them. Replacing fewer than five atoms per 100,000 of carbon atoms in a diamond crystal lattice with nitrogen atoms gives a diamond with a yellow coloration or tint. These diamonds sell for about $4,000 per carat, which is about one third of the cost of a mined diamond.

The company adopted the term Gemesis Cultured Diamond to distinguish its laboratory-grown diamonds from the mined diamond to assure that consumers were not being misled as to the nature of the product. The first commercial production of gem quality diamonds, were made in 2002.

The company business strategy changed in 2005 from producing from offering individual loose, cut and polished diamonds to retailers to producing and selling only rough stones in lots to jewelry manufactures and designers similarly to the way in which diamond mines sell natural diamonds.

The man-made diamonds made today are of a better quality than the natural ones. A trained jeweler will be unable to determine a real one from a made-one unless he had some very expensive equipment. Insist on a certification before purchasing a diamond for investment purposes. It will tell you the stone’s carat weight, its color and clarity, and its flaws. If the seller is unwilling to supply a certification with the diamond then he may not be telling the truth and you should find someone who will. After all when you want to sell the diamond the new owner will want a certification from you.