Was: Large diamond substitute
Sapphire and ruby are both varieties of corundum. Corundum in it's pure form is aluminum oxide. Introduce a little bit of other elements and you produce ruby or sapphire, depending on the element.
I have taken the thread in this direction for a reason and perhaps I
can present the rationale for critical feedback and also I would like
to submit a new subject line as above to accompany that direction.
The question: Are we on the threshold of a jewelry revolution?
Lab-made versions of real diamond, ruby-sapphire, emerald etc. today
are lower priced than nature-made versions but I see no reason why
future gems made in the lab could not greatly surpass natural gems in
total score for aesthetics, rarity and durability, especially if we
consider these gem-quality stones to be rocks and therefore chemical
mixes rather than pure (single atom or single molecule) minerals.
Thus we could talk about C-family gems (which might include coal
carvings as well as bort, diamonds etc) and Al2O3-family gems
(rubies, sapphires, oriental emerald etc) and Be family (emeralds,
aquamarine, morganite etc). And one might ask at what point the
pigment mixture changes the gem so much that it is now in a
different class or family.
In a previous discussion on Future Jade, someone noted (in accord
with Leaming) that in China, “jade” may refer to any stone which is
worthy of attention at a jeweller’s bench. Since I never met a stone
I did not like, the possibilities for Future Jade (on and off planet)
are almost endless. I chalk up the Chinese jade diversity to an
interest in taxonomy starting with the thesis-antithesis-synthesis of
universal logic (yin-yang-___) and to the metaphoric-symbolic
applications of the word “jade” as in jade referring to highest
character (male or female).
What then does Future Jewelry bring us? Despite the many tongue in
cheek postings on “fine jewelry”, FJ (which also abbreviates Future
Jade) could be almost any combination of organic-inorganic chemicals
and we are on the threshold of a revolution in jewelry.
Stones made either way (lab or nature) are the product of chemistry
and human chemists today who specialize in high temperature/high
pressure chemistry may lead the way along with roboticists like the
people at Torart whose online videos (eg of replicating the Pieta)
are impressive. “Imagination at Work” (GE Slogan) may take us into
jewelry simulations of the rich iridescence in beetle chitins and
butterfly wings and new combinations of organic and inorganic
chemicals for jewelry purposes … if/when gem makers have enough
control over the mineral pigments added to the stone fundamentals (C,
Al2O3 and Be above) and the optics. Thus I am still wondering what
visible-sized quantum diamonds might mean in jewelry terms.
Basically, introduction of iron produceses red, titanium gives it the blue. Other colors result from the presence of other elements and varience in the ratios thereof.
There we have a clue to the general model. It is still the three
main criteria of aesthetics, durability and rarity but we add modern
sciences from many disciplines and that is the basis for the jewelry
Why does red in diamond fetch a premium price? Can we have a vote on
which colour is prettiest? If red is prettiest what happens when labs
can turn out red as cheaply as orange or brown? That impacts the
rarity score and durability stays constant… unless the new rock
has so much chemical modification from the colourant that it becomes
more or less durable. Red is hue. What saturation and brightness of
red is most aesthetic? Do we decide by the $ vote of the marketplace
or does someone have an ex cathedra pronouncement? Prospecting in the
lab has a great advantage over prospecting in the field when it
comes to cost-effective exploration of the multi-colour "prospects"
to meet the aesthetic criterion and we can expect the Jewelry
Revolution to to bring us more surprises when it comes to stones
harder than diamond or tougher than nephrite jade or rarer than
anything on the market. If the chemists who bring us a wonderful new
X Files gem ca 2052 when Baby X from the the present crop of New
Years babies reaches middle age will not disclose their trade secrets
at Moonbased Inter-Planetary Peoples’ Jewellers then it will remain
Does anyone know the name of that jeweller in California who made a
fortune selling tiny figurines of frogs made from enamelled clay? I
caught only part of a tv program on him last year. He had retired to
parlay his frog figurine fortune into designing and building the
fastest trike (3-wheeler motorcycle on the planet)? Some figurines I
see in gift stores by various artists have a quality I can only call
"charm" (as in charm bracelets?). They are charming - and that is
what he took to market. Also, he took clay family gems to market
enhanced chemically with enamelling. So add that to the gem families
Then I wonder about the 7 PGEs (Platinum Group Elements). Gold forms
few compounds but there are scores of PGE minerals. Microgold can
give some excellent colouring effects, eg the red gold glass referred
to earlier. What about microplatinum? Could we end up with a new
class of PGE family gems made in the lab - actual crystals of
Prospecting in the mind (Imagination at Work) may take us even
further than prospecting in the lab or in the field.
An interesting video on Growing Hydrothermal Sapphire by a couple of
imaginative gem researchers at