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Future Jewelry


#1

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
revolution.

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
rare.

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
above.

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
platinum.

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

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1m6


#2

Peter,

Very good point indeed, whatever happens is anyone’s guess. One of
the best things be reveled will be the many options to choose from
concerning new materials to be sculpted by the hands of the designer.

Mark


#3
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 

Personally, I agree that the difference between synthetic and
natural gems is mostly in the mind of the beholder, but how would you
maintain rarity in a synthetic?

Al Balmer
Pine City, NY


#4
Then I wonder about the 7 PGEs (Platinum Group Elements). 

A tad misleading- there are exactly 6 platinum group elements, no
more, no less. See your local periodic table of the elements!

Richard


#5
Personally, I agree that the difference between synthetic and
natural gems is mostly in the mind of the beholder, but how would
you maintain rarity in a synthetic? 

Probably the same way they do with diamonds today, they store them,
and release only a fraction of the volume.

The rarity is artificial, and controlled.

An example of this control can be seen in collectable cards that all
the kids “have” to have (my son being one of those kids).

Pokemon cards, Magic the Gathering Cards, sports trading cards, and
other trading cards, and trading card games, have a system of
"rarity".

Common, Uncommon, and Rare. They control the rarity by limiting the
percentage of cards printed in a print run. For example for every 100
cards you have 70 Common cards printed, 25 Uncommon, and 5 Rare
cards.

When you control the supply you can control the rarity.

Regards Charles A.


#6
Personally, I agree that the difference between synthetic and
natural gems is mostly in the mind of the beholder, but how would
you maintain rarity in a synthetic? 

If this is true, how do you think lab-grown material is identified?

I have been looking for lab-grown Alexandrite with color change
compatible to natural high quality stone for several years and
unsuccessfully so far.

The only reason that lab-grown survive comparison with natural, in
some cases, is that market is saturated with naturals which were
boiled, cooked, roasted and impregnated to a degree where nothing is
left. Anything will look good in comparison with such of corse of a
gemstone.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#7
Very good point indeed, whatever happens is anyone's guess. 

We are like the soldiers in that opening scene of McNamarra’s great
documentary “The Fog of War”. We know there is a war underway but we
see very little in the fog. There are revolutionary changes underway
in many fields but it is only recently that I saw enough to say that
stone work is one of those fields. I would like to know what others
see of the jewelry revolution, especially students starting out as
young adults who have many years ahead to explore and develop those
ideas and who may literally be taking commercial aerospace flights
from Sir Charles Branson’s New Mexico Spaceport to stone working
shops on the Moon when they are my age.

I still have my first college geology text with the inside cover
signed and dated as 1961. The five PhD geologists who wrote “Outlines
of Geology” did not allude to plate tectonics or extremophile "bugs"
which can live miles below the Earth surface and in space or to
exogeology and the clash of planets and planetoids or to prospecting
for He3 and water ice on the Moon and many other matters which are
everyday fare for today’s rock hounds. Think cosmologically - act
locally.

One of the best things be reveled will be the many options to
choose from concerning new materials to be sculpted by the hands of
the designer. 

I read a paper a while ago by a chemist who was researching the
making of construction bricks for the Moon. If you have lots of juice
electrically speaking (eg from He3 plants) the water shortage problem
is solved. Thus one revolution (in energy) can stimulate another (new
stones).

These new stony materials present in theory an almost endless
variety of lab-made stones from small crystals for rings to stones
for home and commercial sidings so I agree with the statement above.
In some installations my opinion is that the synthetics look better
than natural stones. They are “super” (above) the natural by the
aesthetics criterion in ARE (Aesthetic/Rare/Enduring). Thus I see
chemists who work with high temperature (and high pressure) as
leaders in the chemistry revolution. (example - “Jem” in that BBC
video who made diamonds with a blowtorch).

Didn’t someone also mention “torch-on enamels” in that recent
thread? What kind of enamels might one get from the 7 PGEs in their
many compound states (Rhenium being the newest member as I posted a
couple of years ago)?

Al wondered “How would you maintain rarity in a synthetic”. One
answer is that if you can keep the chemical formula/procedure as
secretive as that for Coca Cola and B&B liquer, you maintain
monopoly/rarity. The monks at the Benedictine Monastery here in Sto:
lo Nation (Fraser Valley) give tours to the public but they never
tell us how they make “the good stuff”. What are "quantum diamonds"
as in that CBC video? How many secrets of quantum optics will be
given away to future jewellers?

Organic chemistry will also have revolutionary implications for the
FJ revolution. Sometimes I see new materials and they look very much
like mineral matter but they are plastics. The look and feel is very
"stony". I even made the mistake last year of putting some plates in
my kiln for the purpose of enamel testing, thinking they were
stoneware - they were plastic and caused havoc with the kiln shelf.
“Fossil fuels” were a recent thread on Orchid. If John Junior, a
future exogeologist born today is prospecting for the “parent
company”, Rasmussen Gems off-planet at the end of this century and
finds igneous, sedimentary or metamorphosed organic stone on
Planetoid Exo, it is begging the question to assume that these
organic stones in space are made by inanimate forces. Most
cosmologists think there is alien life “out there”. Do they have
jewellers?

Could BBC’s Lexx be a highly animate Future Jeweller from Planet
DeBeers in Andromeda, blasting igneous-organic diamonds forever out
its exhaust pipe? Rock 9 on Planet DeBeers may find many such
coprolite fossils, metamorphosed from the original fine and coarse
igneous loose sediments excreted by the Lexxians millions of years
ago and metamorphosed by anvil-action as we saw in the video I posted
a couple of days ago on geothermal sapphires. Intrepid exoprospectors
can file a cosmological claim and start hauling stones off to Moonbat
Jewellers at the Lunar South Pole.

Perhaps those of us who do word smithing are also contributing to
the FJ revolution. I prefer the word aesthetics in the ARE acronymn
to beauty because beauty connotes female. Whenever I see the
spike-like Slesse Peak here or the Cheam Mountain Ridge I am
impressed by the aesthetics but I would not call it beauty. In the
yin-yang, le-la distinctions of “jade” the adjective seems to have an
Oriental tradition which is associated with either male or female
excellence. The excellence in those mountains impresses me as more
male than female. What do French scholars say? Is a mountain a "le"
or a “la”?

What of rarity? We see the Torart replication of Michaelangelo’s
Pieta on YouTube. What if Michaelangelo had a robotic assistant which
could work 24/7 without going on strike or calling in sick? How would
that have changed art history, especially if da Vinci did not have
one? Mechatronic art is obviously a leader of the FJ revolution.

I also prefer the word enduring to durability. So what if diamonds
are hard and nephrite is tough? My Inuit/Eskimo carving in soft
steatite of dog sled, driver and team can easily be scratched or
broken but it will endure because anyone owning it will treat it
carefully and with respect. My Sto:lo fish carved in soft and easily
broken cedar hangs on the wall over this computer and it may be in a
museum 1,000 years from now.

There is some coal here in Sto:lo Nation. How enduring a well carved
piece in soft and brittle coal is depends on how well it is carved.
In 1,000 years it could have the value of the Pieta. Keepers will
make sure it endures.

Who are the Future Jewellers? Roboticist Warwick at Reading
University writes in his 1997 book “March of the Machines” that it is
inevitable the machines will be Future Sapiens. Moravec at CMU agrees
with this “Terminator” conclusion when he refers to our “Mind
Children” and to them surpassing “human equivalency”. I disagree.

The anthropomorphic “Robojeweller” which I intend to purchase this
year could “live” forever. Broken and worn-out parts get replaced.
New parts get added. Over time it becomes “super” human in many, many
ways from SHAI (Superhuman AI) to superiority in the jewelry skill
profile, point by point. Its theme song could become the old ditty,
“Anything you (Homo Sapiens) can do, I can do better”. But Future
Sapiens does not have to turn into Frankenjeweller.


#8

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

Personally, I agree that the difference between synthetic and
natural gems is mostly in the mind of the beholder, but how would
you maintain rarity in a synthetic? 

---- As long as they can main control of the market, and as
long as there is still enough demand for them, they can still set the
price as though they are rare, regardless of whether or not they are
still actually rare --, just as long as we are willing to pay the
price they ask.

Margaret


#9
A tad misleading- there are exactly 6 platinum group elements, no
more, no less. See your local periodic table of the elements!
____________And I certainly wouldnt make jewellery out of 2 of
them. 

Peter, you should test thwe market and produce all of these wonderful
new things and when you sell them as diamonds, rubies etc we can all
come and visit you in prison_as you serve your time for breaching
consumer legislation that is in force in just about every country in
the world. It may be possible to make some of the things you
envisage- you may even sell them and make a profit but what you cant
do is call it something it isnt. The meaning of a word is not just
what is in a dictionary, it is what has been accepted by those who
use it in both an everyday and a legal sense. Dont try and scramble
the etymology of gemstone names just because no-one will pay you
fortunes for amphibolite or mud.

Nick Royall


#10
If this is true, how do you think lab-grown material is
identified? 

The same way same-name gemstones of different provenance are
distinguished. Minor, but characteristic differences. And it’s not
always easy. Some synthetics can be identified because they’re too
good to be natural :slight_smile:

How many of your customers can look at a stone and tell whether it’s
natural?

Al Balmer
Pine City, NY


#11
If this is true, how do you think lab-grown material is
identified? 

The same way same-name gemstones of different provenance are
distinguished. Minor, but characteristic differences. And it’s not
always easy. Some synthetics can be identified because they’re too
good to be natural :slight_smile:

How many of your customers can look at a stone and tell whether it’s
natural?

Al Balmer
Pine City, NY


#12
Probably the same way they do with diamonds today, they store
them, and release only a fraction of the volume. 

I guess I would call that market availability, not rarity. Diamonds
are not as rare as some other

Al Balmer
Pine City, NY


#13
because no-one will pay you fortunes for amphibolite or mud. 

A good salesman can make you buy anything, and make you think it’s
your idea to buy it :wink: CIA


#14
Some synthetics can be identified because they're too good to be
natural :-) 

When they started making simulants and synthetics, they did want to
make crappy looking material. They made material that looked like
the best colors and clarity of natural gems. When a customer says the
natural gem looks too good, I usually tell the customer that in the
U.S. the jewelry companies sell low quality goods, so when they see
a fine gemstone, they say it does not look real. Some people must be
better at Gemology that I am. I had a customer that brought a 7mm
square sapphire to be set, I had it tested. It looked so good, I
thought it might be synthetic. It was natural. There are some gems
that are easy to differentiate whether they are synthetic or natural,
some that are not so easy. I have some change of color synthetic
alexandrites that look really good. Identifying a gem because you
think you can identifying a synthetic by site ID is not good
Gemological practice in my opinion.

others that would
Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.


#15
How many of your customers can look at a stone and tell whether
it's natural? 

How many medical patients correctly self diagnose themselves by a
symptom? Your customer should depend on your expertise as you depend
on the knowledge of a physician when you need an accurate diagnosis.
How many people can diagnose their automotive problems?

If this is true, how do you think lab-grown material is
identified? The same way same-name gemstones of different
provenance are distinguished. Minor, but characteristic
differences. 

Not true. There are not many same-name gems that can be separated by
minor characteristics that indicate provenience. Most gems are not of
a high enough quality that provenience has any importance. Not a
factor in the value. Color and clarity and carat weight are more
importance.

In my opinion, a lab grown sapphire that has curved striae, that
characteristic that separates it from a natural is not a minor
characteristic, to me, it is major.

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.


#16
How many of your customers can look at a stone and tell whether
it's natural? 

As long as the customer is not being misled then it doesn’t matter
if the gem is real or synthetic. CIA


#17

How many of your customers can look at a stone and tell whether
it’s natural?

As long as the customer is not being misled then it doesn't matter
if the gem is real or synthetic. CIA 

Extend that a little. Assume that unless otherwise told, the
customer will assume that the stone is natural, untreated, and of the
very finest quality, even if that quality is not actually found in
nature. If the stone is, in fact, in any way less than this, be it
lower clarity or color or cut, treated in any way, or not natural,
then you should tell the customer. As well, ignorance on your own
part is not a good excuse. You have a responsibility to your
customer as well as to yourself, to inform yourself as to what the
stones you use and sell are. If, for some reason, you are not sure of
the exact quality or identity, etc, of a stone, then this is also
something you should be sure to tell the customer.

In short, in your second sentence, it should read: As long as the
customer is not being misled, even if only by their own mistaken
assumptions, then…

But beyond that, you’re right. Synthetic gems, and manmade materials
with no natural counterparts, as well as treated, reassembled, or
other varieties of materials we might buy or find, and use in our
jewelry, are all fair game. It’s just important to be sure customers
know what they are getting. Simply not claiming anything, however,
not telling them anything that’s wrong, but letting them think
whatever they wish, is NOT Ok.

Peter


#18

How many of your customers can look at a stone and tell whether
it’s natural?

How many medical patients correctly self diagnose themselves by a
symptom? 

Poor analogy. You already have the symptom, the doctor (hopefully)
tells you what it means.

Your customer should depend on your expertise as you depend on the
knowledge of a physician when you need an accurate diagnosis. 

You make my point. Without your expert guidance, the customer
doesn’t know whether that favorite gemstone is natural or synthetic.

Al Balmer
Pine City, NY


#19

Here’s the way to eliminate all identity issues with regards to
stones. First, most stones are treated in some way or another in the
area of 80% respectively. I set stones or cut custom cabs from
material the customer brings in. I’m not an expert in identifying any
stones, so I make no statements that are assumptions. I know
certified gemologists who get fooled by the new treatments used these
days as more and more greed driven practices infect the trade. I have
a reputation for the quality of my work and all that will come
tumbling down if I make a bad call on trying to be 100% sure of a
stones authenticity.

There’s nothing wrong in telling any customer, " I DON’T KNOW "

Mark


#20
You make my point. Without your expert guidance, the customer
doesn't know whether that favorite gemstone is natural or
synthetic. 

I would not call what I do expert guidance. Twenty one years in
retail has taught me to qualify a customer as to what they want and
what their budget is.

When the customer realizes what a natural gem costs, sometimes they
are open to discussing man made gems. Sometimes they want to wait till
they can afford the natural gem not realizing that the gem increases
faster in value than their rate of pay increases.

Some customers are specific about what gems they want. Some
customers just want color and do not care if it is natural or man
made.

Neither mom nor grandma usually care about what is in their
birthstone family jewelry, just that they are the right color.

People who come in looking for aquamarine usually find blue topaz
more acceptable, close in color, much more affordable. Most people do
not want to spend thousands when they can satisfy their requirement
for a couple hundred if they cannot tell the difference.

We sell a lot of synthetic quartz in colors not available in nature,
or colors that would be beyond their ability to buy. There is no
hesitation on the part of the customer when I disclose that it is
lab grown.

Same with synthetic opal. If it is attractive and they can see
themselves wearing it and enjoying it, they want it.

In my opinion, because of the economy there is much less resistance
to man made gems.

I do not get many of the high end gem sales that the high end dog
and pony show “jeweler” gets. I do get the occasional gem quality
ruby, sapphire, opal sale.

My store is in a neighborhood of middle class families. I know my
customer base.

And by the way, I do not know what your experience has been lately.
I do mostly repair, some custom, and little or no retail. We have
quite a bit of sterling inventory in the $15 to $150 price range and
nothing much is selling.

So this talk about man made gems, for me, is a moot point. If I
could move man made gems, I would do it faster than one of those
little dogs that like to hump your leg.

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.