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Diamond query


Hello. I am a research associate at Harvard business school,
and am looking into the precious stone industry (that is,
analysing why de Beers runs a successful monopoly for diamonds).

My question is technical, and I am hoping for a simple response.
Are diamonds the only precious stones that can be
"scientifically" evaluated for the 3,000 or so gradations
according to which they are sold, or are other precious stones
gradable as well? If diamonds are the only gradable ones, why
aren’t the others gradable? Are the others gradable only
according to color? Can color be faked?

Thanks much,
Robert J. Crawford
Research Associate
Harvard Business School
Baker 400




My name is Sharon Ziemek and I live in southern NH. If you have
time and would like I would be glad to meet with you and give you
what info I have on the subject, either in my head or from books
on hand. I can be reached at my store, at 603-772-1806.



Robert Im not up to speed on diamonds but your reference to a
diamond monopoly intrigues me. 1 Scientific grading -probibally
diamonds are easy because there are only the 4 factors to
consider. Colour is the hardest to define but with diamond set
colour stones can be used for a comparism a diamond of good
colour grade is essentially colourless. Imagine trying to compare
the many hues and shades of blue. I think there are moves afoot
with modern technology to introduce standard grading for other
stones at some stage. Opals is my field they are further
complicated by types and sizes and colours of pattern. With opals
there are about 20 variables not 4 and most of them are
subjective. colorr can be faked in many stones including diamond

Monopoly if you have read about the formation of De Beers you
will agree that it has been a succesful monopoly. Whether that
will hold will be interesting to see. The Russians have more
diamonds in bags than they know what to do with maybe there could
be a dumping by them to raise a few bob. Australias mine Argyle
seperates from the De Beers monopoly soon however they have a
high cost of recovery. De Beers African mines can produce stones
from some areas relatively cheaply. If it wasen’t for industrial
uses it wouldn’t be economic to produce diamonds for jewellery.
There are a lot more diamonds stored than have ever been cut. In
New Zealand we have seen a steady decrease in price over the last
2-3 years. My brother is a jeweller also, he had cut back his
stock otherwise he would have seen a decrease in value of 15-20
thousand dollars in one small shop. I would hazard a guess that
in 12 months the monopoly will be over and free market conditions
apply. Wheter this will affect prices much I don’t know. All the
best Gerald

                Arrowtown opals & Jewellery
               ph 64 3 4421288 fax 64 3 4421488
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