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Diamond developments


#1

Hello folks, Recently the price of rough diamonds has been increased
by 5 to 10% the supply of rough was at this time very short, probably
due to the companies which control the industries, and given that
there several companies making diamonds in their laboratories which
are Diamonds nevertheless despite being made by man and not by nature
my question is-

How, since the price of these manufactured stones is to be one
third Less than the naturally produced article, can this increase in
the price of rough possibly be justified and the natural Diamond
price increased so as to match the 10% rough increase, which will
have to be done to maintain the margins of the processors involved.

I understand that from at least one of these companies that produce
lab diamonds that the quality of the product is equal to and very
often exceeds that of the natural item maybe I am missing a fact or
two but it seems to me that something is seriously wrong with the
valuation procedure. please Fellow Orchidians and no doubt Diamond
experts- correct my faulty reasoning, in any case your replies should
make interesting reading, regards Dave (in Darkest Africa).


#2

Hi all De Beers is still the ‘king of diamond’, they controlled the
rough diamond business, no doubt, always maintain the ever increasing
prices of rough. De Beers also into manufacturing of synthetic
diamond too!

Tay
Sunny Singapore
www.gem.com.sg


#3

David,

Seems logical to me that de Beers might be reducing the rough output
to the sight holders so as not to oversupply the market when it
starts loosing ground to the lab diamonds.

Furthermore, it has been announced that de Beers is close to signing
a settlement agreement with the American government which may enable
it to start directly marketing its own diamonds. They are already
doing this in Europe and Japan. Therefore, it behooves them to make
an effort to maintain high prices. Since the American market
consumes fifty per cent of the worlds’ diamonds we are probably
going to see a massive effort by de Beers to extoll the perceived
value of natural diamonds. I can just see it now: “ONLY NATURE DOES
IT BEST” …and ,of course, de Beers sells only the best…blah ,
blah, blah

As for lab diamonds , I think it is only a matter of time before
they come way down in price. I remember when C.Z. commanded a price
that was a hundred times more than it is now ! Witness how cheap
synthetic abrasive diamonds are now.

The gemstone market is poised on the brink of massive tumult…it
will be interesting to see how it all shakes out. Ron MIlls, Mills
Gem Co. Los Osos, Ca.


#4

When you guys are mentioning “lab created” diamonds - are you
specifically referring to Moissanite?

I thought only Charles and Colvard were the only lab diamonds out
there.

For my own education, are there other lab grown diamonds?

Thanks,
Alex


#5

Dave, The reality is that synthetic diamonds will not impact the
natural diamond market pricing in any way. Historically, no
synthetic material has impacted the pricing of natural material, with
perhaps the exception of amethyst (and in that case it is only
because the price of natural amethyst to begin with was too cheap to
bother paying for testing). The two markets are simply not related.
Since synthetics can be identified as such, they are marketed as
synthetic. Man tends to value natural products in the jewelry field
much higher than the synthetic because they are a “natural” product
and the amount of material that can be found is considered limited.
You might want to note that in the 1950’s when the Linde company
began producing Linde synthetic star sapphires (star sapphires that
had all the properties of natural with much more “perfect” stars) the
interest (and price of) natural star sapphires went up significantly,
simply because of people’s awareness being raised about the existence
of such stones.

Daniel R. Spirer,
GG Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140
617-491-6000
@spirersomes
http://www.spirersomes.com


#6

Alex, Moisannite is silicon carbide. Diamonds are carbon. Completely
different chemicals.

bruce


#7

MOISSANITES ARE NOT DIAMONDS ! ! ! (I am SHOUTING ! ! ! ) Please do
not confuse IMITATION diamonds like moissanite, cubic zirconia, GGG,
natural (or synthetic) white sapphires, natural (or synthetic) white
zircons, GLASS, rhinestones (foilbacks) etc., etc, etc. ! ! !

It is hard enough to educate the public about this without the
problem of correcting so-called “jewelry professionals” about it.

An IMITATION diamond can be any colorless faceted object which looks
something like a diamond. It can be a natural ‘gem’ or a synthetic
material like syn. corundum, syn. spinel, etc.

A SYNTHETIC diamond (a.k.a. ‘lab-created’) diamond is VERY, VERY
SPECIFICALLY a cubic crystalline structure of carbon atoms and
duplicates the chemical and physical properties of MINED FROM THE
EARTH (NATURAL) diamonds.

As far as I know, currently, jewelry size synthetic diamonds are only
being made in quantity by two companies.

Please don’t HELP Charles and Colvard OBFUSCATE the difference
between their overpriced ‘stuff’ and the real thing.

End of rant.

David Barzilay
Lord of the Rings
607 S Hill St Ste 850
Los Angeles, CA 90014-1718
213-488-9157


#8

First of all, as others have said - don’t confuse the vast variety
of diamond simulants (from glass to Moissanite) with synthetic
diamonds. A synthetic diamond is diamond in terms of composition,
structure etc. It just that it is made in a factory by people in
white coats, not in the earth.

But various other points need some commnent.

First of all Daniel, you say that ‘Historically, no synthetic
material has impacted the pricing of natural material …’ The media
frenzy over ‘treated’ emeralds a few years back had a significant
affect on the market for emeralds. If you stretch ‘synthetic
material’ to cover cultured pearls, then that is another major
exception. And we are talking about market stability and
sustainability as much as just ‘pricing’.

Good retailers buying from good suppliers are not the problem - if
there is a legitimate choice between real and synthetic then the
customer can make a reasoned decision as to what to buy. Even crooks
selling the ‘fake’ as real are not the major problem - there have
always been crooks and always will be, the law can or should deal
with that. I believe that the big problem over the next generation
will be the jewelry re-circulating via shops, auctions, Ebay etc.

25 years ago most dealers in estate jewelry could spot pretty well
any synthetic gemstone with a x 10 loupe. Now you need very
sophisticated equipment that is out of reach for most shops, and even
some labs. So either nobody will care if a gemstone is right or
wrong, or customers will insist on a lab report for every serious
purchase.

Which will it be? I can’t see that it can be both, but who will
steer this - the ‘industry’ or the public?

The industry (which includes individual jewelers as well as the
mega-companies) doesn’t have a good track record here. For example
it is reasonably well known that a significant percentage (50% +?) of
the amethysts you see in jewelry shops are now synthetics. But
testing often costs more (time and trouble, as much as $$$) than the
stones are worth. Who cares?

Now, for example, extent that to .25 carat diamonds set in rings -
who will care enough to think that buyers have some right to know if
they are genuine or synthetic?

Either the jewelry industry sits back and waits to see what happens
(which by definition means that it will be too late to do anything
…) or it starts discussions now to sort out codes of practice right
across the industry from ma and pa jewelry stores to Ebay to plan the
best way to approach things. (CIBJO - the International Jewellery
Confederation - should be in the driving seat here).

And, by the way, the diamond simulant is not called ‘moissanite’,
moissonite is a known natural mineral. The diamond simulant should be
clearly described as ‘synthetic moissanite’.

Jack


#9

Good Grief David, what have I been missing, do ‘we’ now have to now
tell Mother Nature that we have simulated stones that look better
than her own creations. She will not be amused ! Nothing is “like” a
diamond, nothing is as “hard” as a diamond. So why in blazes are
people thinking similar looking crystalline objects are diamonds???
If you find a substance of equal strength of a diamond, well lets
think this over, until then. Forget it! " Thou shall not confuse the
issue" No other material has the right to be called a simulated
diamond, because you can’t simulate a diamond.!!!..end of story!!!
Gerry! the guy who sets diamonds and other "!


#10

Hello Gerry: I have been following your great posts with
considerable interest. Just read your post about diamond
developments in the list received today (3-10-04). A report has
just come out in Science News, February 28, 2004, Vol. 165, No. 9
about a recently developed type of synthetic CVD diamond that has
yielded the hardest single-crystal diamond material ever tested,
apparently considerably harder than natural diamond. The material
was so hard that tools used to measure hardness of very hard
materials left no mark on several of the crystals tested. The
crystals are also very tough and fracture resistant. The extra
hardness was achieved by subjecting the original CVD product to
temperature of 2,000 degrees Celsius at very high pressures.
Testing has shown that one or two types of natural diamonds also
show big jumps in hardness when treated the same way. Nothing was
said about the size of the material tested. It, no doubt, is a long
way from being marketed as a new gem material. A substance of
greater strength than a diamond, much less of “equal strength of a
diamond,” may require thinking it over much earlier than you
anticipated. Captain Blood “Marlinespike Seamanship in Precious
Metals” @Alden_Glenda_Blood


#11

Gerry, I hope you did not mis-understand my ‘rant.’ I certainly did
not intend to give the impression that I confuse SIMULANTS nor
synthetics with the real thing. There is ONLY one (unqualified)
‘diamond’ material. There are ALSO many, many SIMULANTS, AND there
are synthetic (man-made) diamonds. But NONE of those are ‘diamonds,’
(without some qualifying word attached.)

David Barzilay
Lord of the Rings
607 S Hill St Ste 850
Los Angeles, CA 90014-1718
213-488-9157


#12
    For my own education, are there other lab grown diamonds? 

Oh you betcha. Here is the fascinating article from “Wired” of a
while back: The New Diamond Age by Joshua Davis
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.09/diamond.html

There are two companies using different techniques to produce
low-cost diamonds that are indistinguishable from the dug-up stuff
except by extremely expensive, sophisticated lab equipment. The
coolest thing is that eventually, diamonds will be used for computer
chips. Here are a couple of quotes from the article (it’s several
pages long and well worth reading):

#1

Aron Weingarten brings the yellow diamond up to the stainless steel
jeweler’s loupe he holds against his eye. We are in Antwerp, Belgium,
in Weingarten’s marbled and gilded living room on the edge of the
city’s gem district, the center of the diamond universe. Nearly 80
percent of the world’s rough and polished diamonds move through the
hands of Belgian gem traders like Weingarten, a dealer who wears the
thick beard and black suit of the Hasidim.

“This is very rare stone,” he says, almost to himself, in thickly
accented English. “Yellow diamonds of this color are very hard to
find. It is probably worth 10, maybe 15 thousand dollars.”

“I have two more exactly like it in my pocket,” I tell him.

He puts the diamond down and looks at me seriously for the first
time. I place the other two stones on the table. They are all the
same color and size. To find three nearly identical yellow diamonds
is like flipping a coin 10,000 times and never seeing tails.

“These are cubic zirconium?” Weingarten says without much hope.

“No, they’re real,” I tell him. “But they were made by a machine in
Florida for less than a hundred dollars.”

Weingarten shifts uncomfortably in his chair and stares at the
glittering gems on his dining room table. “Unless they can be
detected,” he says, “these stones will bankrupt the industry.”

#2

Diamond, it turns out, is a geek’s best friend. Not only is it the
hardest substance known, it also has the highest thermal
conductivity - tremendous heat can pass through it without causing
damage. Today’s speedy microprocessors run hot - at upwards of 200
degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, they can’t go much faster without
failing. Diamond microchips, on the other hand, could handle much
higher temperatures, allowing them to run at speeds that would
liquefy ordinary silicon. But manufacturers have been loath even to
consider using the precious material, because it has never been
possible to produce large diamond wafers affordably. With the
arrival of Gemesis, the Florida-based company, and Apollo Diamond,
in Boston, that is changing. Both startups plan to use the diamond
jewelry business to finance their attempt to reshape the
semiconducting world.

(end of quotes)

IMO, ordinary computer parts can be beautiful enough to make jewelry
from. I can’t wait for the next generation of surplus chips to play
with!

/jen


#13
 First of all Daniel, you say that 'Historically, no synthetic
material has impacted the pricing of natural material ...' The
media frenzy over 'treated' emeralds a few years back had a
significant affect on the market for emeralds. If you stretch
'synthetic material' to cover cultured pearls, then that is another
major exception. And we are talking about market stability and
sustainability as much as just 'pricing'. 

You are confusing the issue here. The two examples you bring up do
not relate to synthetic vs natural material, merely the difference
between treated and untreated (in the case of emeralds) and in the
case of cultured pearls, I can’t ever recall them being known as
synthetic. Actually in the case of emerald, there was no impact on
the pricing of natural materials when synthetic emerald (not treated
emerald) was introduced to the market place. As for cultured pearls,
they were introduced at a time when natural pearls had been virtually
fished out of existence. The price of natural pearls was in no way
effected by their introduction. The prices had gone through the roof
because of the dwindling supply and they have stayed that way.

So if you are going to talk about the impact of pricing on natural
diamond from the introduction of synthetic diamond I believe that as
long as there is some way to identify them (whether it is more or
less sophisticated than previously) there will be no long term
impact. I think if that were going to be the case then we would have
seen the price of natural sapphires, rubies, alexandrites, and every
other gem material collapse as synthetics were introduced. As a
matter of fact, alexandrite is a great example as it is extremely
difficult to tell natural and synthetic material apart and yet the
natural material’s prices were not impacted at all by the
introduction of the synthetic material.

As for it being up to the jewelry industry to set the standards, you
are right and quite frankly, there are a number of organizations
working on this very topic all the time. So I’ve said it before and
I’ll say it again: Put your money where your mouth is and pay up to
join all of the ethics based organizations you can so that they can
have enough money to devote to the issue. A list of a few to join:
Jewelers Vigilance Committee, American Gem Trade Association,
Jewelers of America, your local Better Business Bureau.

Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140
617-491-6000
@spirersomes
www.spirersomes.com


#14

Dear Mariner, Your reference to the letter in Science News regarding
diamond hardness is fascinating. Several years ago I suggested in a
letter to Orchid that there might be variation in hardness amongst
diamonds and I was met with a barrage of denials. And yet, when one
goes back into the history of diamond production and processing you
will encounter numerous references to said variations. There were
actually references to the perception that the diamonds from South
Africa were the softest while the ones from Borneo were the hardest.
I pursued this issue with John Sinkankas before his demise and he
claimed to know of no reference to that assertion. He did refer me
to an authority at GIA who also claimed to know nothing of hardness
variation in diamonds.

If, indeed, some synthetic diamonds have been produced that have
hardness in excess of assumed values, it is entirely probable that
natural diamonds might vary in hardness. It is widely recognized
that the “knots” in natural diamonds ,which are associated with
twinning plane convergences ,are decidedly harder than ordinary
crystals. But, if in a single crystal, there is increased hardness
without twinning, it does suggest said variation.

The most fascinating anomaly in diamond characteristics is the one in
which diamonds from the Orange River in South Africa lose their
afinity for grease. If this is the case, then why might there not be
other anomalies ? Ron MIlls at Mills Gem Co. Los Osos, Ca.


#15

I have to say that I am really curious why a group that is supposed
to be composed of a bunch of jewelers repeatedly references an
article in Wired magazine, a magazine that has no connection to the
jewelry industry, when talking about the developments in synthetic
diamonds. There have been no less than a dozen separate references,
and articles, detailing what is going on with synthetic diamonds in
far less emotional terms in the various jewelry trade magazines like
JCK, Modern Jeweler, Professional Jeweler, etc. Don’t any of you
guys read the magazines designed specifically for you?

Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140
617-491-6000
@spirersomes
www.spirersomes.com


#16

Daniel,

I read the Wired article after it was first mentioned on Orchid some
time ago. I found it to be an interesting article, particularly in
how it described the two different approaches to producing a
synthetic diamond and the primary and secondary goals of the two
companies. I can’t answer your question about why all the references
on Orchid have not talked about any discussion in the trades. Perhaps
it is just and interest in how people from a different perspective
than ours view synthetic diamonds. Joel

Joel Schwalb
@Joel_Schwalb
www.schwalbstudio.com


#17
    I have to say that I am really curious why a group that is
supposed to be composed of a bunch of jewelers repeatedly
references an article in Wired magazine, a magazine that has no
connection to the jewelry industry, when talking about the
developments in synthetic diamonds. 

Daniel, I too wondered this but, after reading the article, found
that one of the reasons for the synthetic diamond is as a material
for computer chips rather than silicon. Diamond holds up to the heat
thus allowing the computers to process faster.

Orchid Rules!
Karla in Sunny S. California