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
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):
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."
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
(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