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Gemesis laboratory grown diamonds


#1

All,

Our local NBC affiliate came on this morning with an early morning
news program which contain an embedded, canned blurb from Gemesis
which extolled the “virtues” of Gemesis laboratory grown diamonds.
It was full of the usual rhetoric which, in some cases, skirted the
truth. Naturally, much of the gab was directed at making people
believe that we are beholding a miracle of modern science whereas in
reality the process is quite old and was pioneered by the Russians.
Furthermore, the fact that these lab created diamonds typically come
in shades of yellow was interpreted as being a virtue by comparing
them to canary yellow diamonds.

In order to determine who your local distributor might be, there was
reference to their website; http://www.gemesis.com. I brought up the
site (it loads very slowly) and was shocked to see how few people
were carrying the product. It was also interesting to note that many
of the few reps were in podunk locations.

The trails of the myriad imitators and synthesizers is a bloody one
and is littered with the corpses of many predecessors…

Ron Mills, Mills Gem Co. Los Osos, Ca.


#2
   It was also interesting to note that many of the few reps were
in podunk locations. 

Scottsdale? LA? Chicago? Albequerque? Fort Worth? Houston?
Milwaukee? Tuscon? San Francisco? St. Petersburg? Tulsa? Salt
Lake City? Honolulu?

You have a mighty strange idea of what constitutes a “podunk
location”…

As for the gems themselves, I see no reason whatsoever to badmouth a
gem just because it was laboratory grown. It may not be these guys
(in fact I’m pretty sure its a competitor) but somebody out there is
making a diamond so close to natural that it takes hundreds of
thousands of dollars worth of lab equipment to differentiate - and
the jury was still out, last I heard, on how reliable even the
EXPENSIVE methods of testing were going to prove to be.

Frankly, if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and walks like
a duck, its a duck. Its specious to argue the merits of one stone
over another merely because one was dug up out of the ground (and
belongs to a tightly-controlled cabal controlled by a single family
who are already wealthy beyond MY wildest dreams) and one was created
in a lab.

I never much cared for diamonds anyway. They’re strictly overrated
as a gemstone. Lots of industrial uses, though.

Sojourner


#3
    I never much cared for diamonds anyway. They're strictly
overrated as a gemstone. Lots of industrial uses, though. 

When someone makes a statement like the one above, I wonder what they
see when looking a diamond. There are few gemstones that have the
ability to reflect and refract light as diamonds do. When of good
quality, and well cut, the dispersion, the breaking up of white light
into spectral colors is a joy to behold.

I have come to believe, above the marketing, there is a true
appreciation by people that are not educated as to the nomenclature
of what they are seeing, and my opinion is that they respond to a
visual reality of the beauty that diamond has as a result of the
quality of the white light and the rainbow-like colors returning to
the eye of the viewer.

As it is that quite a few of the diamonds are bought by men for
women, either they are beautiful, or a lot of men are spending a
lot of money for something that they see no value in other that
pleasing a woman. And the woman sees no value in the diamond, other
than it costs a lot of money, and is a gift. So the woman who
receives a diamond and wear it constantly is just doing it for
symbolic reasons, and not really enjoying it.

As with many things, it might not be what is being perceived, but
the perspective of the perceiver.

My sister has a pug, and she thinks it is cute. I can acknowledge
that it is a sweet dog, however I cannot wrap my brain around anyway
to perceive it as cute, although I treat it as if it is cute…
because I can recognize it as the joyful expression of life that it
inherently is.

Richard Hart


#4
    I brought up the site (it loads very slowly) and was shocked
to see how few people were carrying the product. 

It’s not so shocking to me. Most reports are that the Gemesis and
other synthetics are priced at around half of natural diamond.
Speaking for the US (and we do buy the vast majority of diamonds in
the world for bridal jewelry, in particular), the attitude is for
retailers to say to their bridal jewelry customers “Yes, the
lab-created diamonds are cheaper, but do you really want that ring,
a symbol of your undying love that will last forever, to contain a
diamond that is FAKE?” This isn’t my position, I don’t feel a
synthetic is fake, it’s just synthetic.

Everyone knows how traditional and parochial the diamond industry
is. Resistance to change is great, and adopting lab-created diamonds
while stockpiles of natural rough and finished diamonds are still so
plentiful is very unlikely anytime soon. Attitudes may eventually
change somewhat, but the companies who mine them from the ground and
spend so many millions promoting them will continue to find ways to
discredit the synthetics.

Personally, I’m not very keen on diamonds at all. There are so many
more interesting gem materials. And synthetic diamonds in jewelry
just aren’t my cup o’ tea. Industrial use is another matter. I think
the Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) method may be interesting. I can
imagine the possibilities regarding microprocessor design. Computing
devices such as the one on which I type this post will become
incredibly powerful.

James in SoFl


#5

Dear Sojourner,

Let me compliment you on your ability to take things out of context.
Perhaps you could find a higher calling in the advertising and
marketing industries. Businesses that misrepresent gems have an
ongoing need for people with your talents !

Whether you like it or not, many of the locations listed for retail
reps for the fabricated diamonds ARE located in podunk localities. I
don’t have any feelings about this other than the fact that
franchisers are usually disinclined to grant licenses to locations
that have small markets. Normally, franchises are granted with
stringent requirements for meeting volume requirements. Selling gobs
of high ticket luxury goods in a rural agricultural community defies
logic.

As for denigrating manufactured diamonds I fail to see where I have
lived up to that accusation. On the other hand, I do take exception
to any claim that manufactured diamonds should automatically be as
valuable as the naturals. There have been countless attempts to pull
that rabbit out of a hat and they have all failed. Once the
technology is in place, the market takes hold and before long the
product is smeared all over the place. Rubies have been synthesized
for over a century and they are certainly not more valuable than the
naturals.

Let 's face it; synthesizing is chasing after easily gained dollars
whereas natural gemstones are valued and appreciated for their
rarity and natural beauty. The crystals from whence most gemstones
are wrought are the flowers of the mineral kingdom…they are
rare, infinitely variable, hard won and express man’s love for
nature.

I have no problem at all with using synthesized diamonds in
jewelry…as long as they are represented as being what they
are…a substitute for the real thing. I DO have a problem with
people suggesting that a synthesized substitute might be as valuable
as the real thing.

This issue is going to be decided in the marketplace. Chances are
that synthetic diamonds will become commonplace. On the other hand,
if they don’t, it is very likely that some cartel will artificially
maintain their value and will control the market. Since de Beers has
been actively engaged in monitoring this technology it wouldn’t
surprise me if they were lurking in the background waiting for the
moment…whatever…

Ron Mills, Mills Gem Co. Los Osos, Ca.


#6
        I never much cared for diamonds anyway. They're strictly
overrated as a gemstone. Lots of industrial uses, though. 
    When someone makes a statement like the one above, I wonder
what they see when looking a diamond. 

I’ve seen VERY expensive diamonds, and I just plain don’t see what
the attraction is.

“I don’t care for diamonds”. That shouldn’t be hard to understand.

Now, if you ALSO want to get into the SOCIAL issues of diamond
mining, a powerful single family controlling stockpiles of crushed,
pressurized carbon, the human cost of mining, racial issues
involved, etc. etc. etc. … well, probably best leave that alone. I
didn’t care for diamonds BEFORE I knew all about that stuff.

Frankly, I like Moissanite better. And I don’t like THAT all that
much, either.

Sojourner


#7
Personally, I'm not very keen on diamonds at all. There are so many
more interesting gem materials. And synthetic diamonds in jewelry
just aren't my cup o' tea. Industrial use is another matter. I think
the Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) method may be interesting. I can
imagine the possibilities regarding microprocessor design. Computing
devices such as the one on which I type this post will become
incredibly powerful.

Diamonds. Superconductors. The possibilities are amazing.

But in a ring? Big deal. Boooring.

Honestly, I guess they’re ok. But I have NEVER understood why
people seem to think they’re the pinaccle of gemdom. I suppose it
may just be due to extremely effective marketing by the family that
has the vast majority of the world’s diamonds under their thumbs.

Sojourner


#8
Personally, I'm not very keen on diamonds at all. There are so many
more interesting gem materials. 

In the interest of supporting what I’m sure will be an unpopular
opinion I enthusiastically second this and good on ya for saying it!

Personally I don’t give a hoot whether something comes out of the
ground or falls out of a machine in a lab. If it looks good, has
properties worthy of interest and comes at a good price then I’m
interested. For the most part I’d say that the people I make
jewellery for feel more or less the same. Now, they’re not big
ticket customers and I’m never going to get rich selling my stuff to
them but that’s another story.

As it happens, of course, the machine stuff is often dull as
dishwater compared to nature’s work and so the “real” stuff is often
much preferred. Not to mention that there are more great stones in
this earth than are dreamed of by the lab technicians. However if you
can’t tell a natural diamond from a created one then why would anyone
care where it came from … except of course the people that make
pots of money selling them at insanely inflated prices and their
well-heeled customers who covet their bragging rights.

As has been mentioned a few times now diamonds as tools is a whole
different story. I’ve worn out more than a few diamond laps and files
over the years and I must say I love them to bits. A diamond is far
more use to me on a file that it is as a gemstone. Your mileage may
vary.

Cheers,
Trevor F.
in The City of Light


#9

Dear Ron,

I have to say I disagreed with many of the statements from your
first posting, and feel even stronger dislike for your response to
Sojourner.

I have not seen the “canned blurb from Gemesis” that you referred
to, but I have been familiar with the company for quite a while from
the perspective of the work that they are doing in creating diamond
wafers for the microprocessor industry. Diamond has the highest
thermal conductivity of any known substance so that a microprocessor
made from diamond can operate a speeds substantially faster that
silicon wafers. At least in the geek community Gemesis has always
been very clear that they are using Russian processes with Russian
engineers and that they are in the jewelry industry to subsidize R &
D for microprocessors. The original process was developed by GE in
the mid 50s, but recently the availability of machines and new
technologies have taken the whole industry to new plateaus.

I am really confused by your statement " the fact that these lab
created diamonds typically come in shades of yellow was interpreted
as being a virtue by comparing them to canary yellow diamonds. "
Fancy colored diamonds are rarer and more valuable than Near
Colorless diamonds. Synthetic diamonds are graded on the same scale.
A diamond that is Z+ yellow color IS a canary yellow diamond, so why
should it not be compared to a canary yellow diamond, and how is
that not a virtue? They are making pink and blue diamonds as well,
again - more valuable per carat, easier to make, very marketable
these days.

I also agree with Zen (and disagree with you Ron) on the subject
that you raised of their distributers. To quote Zen: “Scottsdale?
LA? Chicago? Albequerque? Fort Worth? Houston? Milwaukee?
Tuscon? San Francisco? St. Petersburg? Tulsa? Salt Lake City?
Honolulu? You have a mighty strange idea of what constitutes a
"podunk location”…"

You mentioned that "Selling gobs of high ticket luxury goods in a
rural agricultural community defies logic. " Perhaps you should
mention this to the jewelry stores listed as retailers. I checked
out a few websites and they all seem to be selling De Beers diamonds
as well as rubies, emeralds, and other illogical high ticket luxury
goods.

I do agree with you that synthetics are not as valuable as mined
stones, only because the marketplace BELIEVES that they are not. In
my opinion where created stones excel is in sizes and shapes that
are simply not found in nature. Gemesis is cranking out 3 carat
fancy pink diamonds. Anyone have a value on a mined stone that size
and color? Chatham sells 5 carat emeralds that are finer than
anything mined in the last 200 years.

I am not one of those people who agree with the standard market. Ron
mentioned "natural gemstones are valued and appreciated for their
rarity and natural beauty. The crystals from whence most gemstones
are wrought are the flowers of the mineral kingdom…they are
rare, infinitely variable, hard won and express man’s love for
nature. " I agree, the CRYSTALS are rare and valuable. I will never
forget holding a ruby crystal the size of a baseball and just
melting in awe of it’s beauty. However, if you cut that natural
crystal into a faceted gem that cannot be distinguished from a
laboratory grown gem without the aid of technologically detailed
equipment, why is one more valuable. I would rather see the
beautiful crystal stay a crystal.

I find it fascinating to have an argument about the value of created
diamonds, when mined diamonds are the most cost controlled substance
in the world.

I need to mention, I am not affiliated with Gemesis and have never
done business with them. I am familiar with then from the computer
industry where they are looked on as one of the leaders in tomorrows
microprocessors, and I would hate to seem them get a bum rap in the
jewelry industry if it is not deserved. If it is - that’s fine.
Otherwise I look forward to a laptop computer with a 20GHz
processor.

Epaul Fischer
Gryphon Song Creations
Signet rings and custom gem carvings
www.gemartist.com


#10
    I never much cared for diamonds anyway. They're strictly
overrated as a gemstone. Lots of industrial uses, though. 

I second that, would also add boring and pretentious. But they do
make good files and polishing wheels for the hundreds of more
interesting stones and minerals.


#11

Ron,

True the crystals from whence most gemstones are wrought are the
flowers of the mineral kingdom until they are dynamited, cut up,
crushed, stuck in a nuclear reactor, heated, chemically altered,
vacuumed, inclusion sucked, bleached dyed, glued, lasered, sliced,
and put back together and sold as real gemstones in thousands of
venues. Yeah they are real at the atomic level. Unless you put your
hand into the vugg to pull out the flowers of the mineral kingdom or
spend some money on lab testing you have no way of knowing if the
stone has been treated The average consumer buys this stuff by the
ton without knowing or many times without caring if it is or has been
enhanced. The true flowers of the mineral kingdom are rare as are the
customers that are knowledgeable about and request such stones.

Regards J Morley Goldsmith/Laserwelding


#12

Hi Zen

The argument is not about the merits of the stone. The difference
lies in the origin, and in its “use”. Let me try to explain. Have you
got kids? Do you see a difference between a “natural” baby and a
"laboratory grown", and I mean fully lab-created from start to
finish without ever beeing in contact with a father or mother, baby?
Presume that they could look the same, they smell the same, talk the
same. Are they the same? If you then just value your baby/kid for the
fact that it could work for you and generate income, or just for
it’s entertainment value or its “use”, then it might seem the same.

But surely there’s more to that? I hope.

There is a fundamental difference between something lab-created and
something natural. Both have their merit. But they are not the same.

-hope I did not offend anyone with the above example

Juerg
O R B I T Contemporary JEWELLERY
Award Winning Designs
Q U E E N S T O W N N Z


#13
I am really confused by your statement " the fact that these lab
created diamonds typically come in shades of yellow was
interpreted as being a virtue by comparing them to canary yellow
diamonds. " 

I believe that what Ron is referring to here is the fact that it is
still exceedingly difficult to produce colorless diamonds in a lab
and therefore Gemesis was comparing their product to canary diamonds
rather than admitting that they have yet to be able to produce
colorless stones.

Also for those of you who think synthetic is just fine I’ll remember
that when the machines available to man start cranking out your
designs for 1/10th the price and claim that they are just as good as
the handmade product.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
@Daniel_R_Spirer
www.spirerjewelers.com


#14

Juerg

   The argument is not about the merits of the stone. The
difference lies in the origin, and in its "use". Let me try to
explain. Have you got kids? Do you see a difference between a
"natural" baby and a "laboratory grown", and I mean fully
lab-created from start to finish without ever beeing in contact
with a father or mother, baby? 

That was the strangest analogy I have ever heard… I have been known
to come up with some strange ones myself… But you win the decoder
ring prize…

Mark


#15
    Honestly, I guess they're ok.  But I have NEVER understood why
people seem to think they're the pinaccle of gemdom.  I suppose it
may just be due to extremely effective marketing by the family
that has the vast majority of the world's diamonds under their
thumbs. 

You’ll remember I’m not particularly partial to diamonds, and said
as much in my post. But you’re wrong if you are thinking that they
still control the vast majority of the world’s diamonds. They now
control less than 50%, which doesn’t qualify as "vast majority."
Unfortunately for diamond fanciers, that hasn’t translated to a
decrease in diamond prices. In fact, prices have never been higher.
Increased popularity of synthetics might drive it down, though.

James in SoFl


#16

Dear Epaul,

I really can’t understand how you could be judgemental or objective
about something which you have not read? Is it not the same as doing
a book report without having read the book? Your approach to
critqueing is the quintessential “out of context” method !

One of the observations made by you and others is that “if” the list
of distributors contains the addresses of some major cities as being
the loci of some of the distributors that all of them are major
locations. I made the observation that the list of distributors is
remarkably small and that SOME of the retail outlets were in
"podunk" locations. As a matter of fact, as I look back, the
remarkable thing about the list was that there were lots of
distributors and damned few retail outlets. Normally there would be
lots of retailers and a few distributors.

Please do read the thing that you are talking about…it makes for a
much more intelligent critique…Ron Mills, Mills Gem Co. Los
Osos, Ca ( Not a likely Gemesis Outlet! )


#17

J. Morley,

How right you are…isn’t it ironic how the jewelry industry
devotes itself to the destruction of those wonderful flowers of the
mineral kingdom ! I have often winced when I thought of how many
exquisite creations of nature have been thrashed into something that
will be worn by an uncaring, semi-conscious mortal who will wear it
to bits and then discard it !

For many years now I have been stashing gemstone crystals to
ultimately use in jewelry creations that not only protect the
crystal, but will preserve the natural form. To me this is the best
and highest use of gems.

As for diamonds, regardless of whether they are natural crystals or
cut stones, I think that all those who have denigrated diamonds on
the basis of their being boring or pretentious or overpriced should
give at least a modicum of consideration to the fact that nothing
even remotely out wears a diamond. Given the foregoing fact, isn’t
it supremely significant that it finds its’ commonest use as an icon
that binds personal relationships together ? Gosh…I guess maybe
I am being too sentimental. Perhaps grinding metals and polishing
rocks is a nobler pursuit ! ( Don’t let me suggest that
superconductivity in cyberspace is a trivial use ! )

When all is said and done, diamonds are probably the most remarkable
mineral we know. Their cultural signficance is deeply rooted and
their physical and electronic attributes are peerless.The fact that
they have been exploited for maximum profit is merely an expression
of their uniqueness !

Ron
Mills, Mills Gem Co. Los Osos, Ca.


#18
There are so many more interesting gem materials. 

You are right to point out how many interesting gem materials there
are out there but the number of negative responses about diamonds on
this list is indicative of a far bigger problem in the industry (or
at least on this list) than the question of personal preferences.
Whether you like it or not diamonds have been the mainstay of this
industry for years. Whether you like De Beers or not (who
incidentally are now controlling less than 60% of the market and
have plans to reduce that control further so they can pursue some of
their other marketing plans), through their advertising campaigns
everyone on this list, whether you sell diamonds or not, benefits.
Every advertisement about jewelry in any form only encourages people
to think about owning something we make. Like many on the list,
some of the target audience may not like diamonds, but it still
encourages them to think about buying jewelry.

It’s like when I watch Kay’s Jewelers, or one of the other mall
chains, run a big advertising campaign before Valentine’s Day. I
don’t sell anything remotely like what they sell, and I certainly
don’t sell any of the cheap things they advertise, but I still know
that MY customers are also watching those ads and it will remind
them that they should be buying a piece of jewelry and, I also know
they won’t be going to Kay’s to buy it.

As for the beauty of diamonds, I think most people who think they
are ugly don’t see enough of the well cut stones to know what a well
cut, completely colorless diamond really looks like. I think too
few of you have ever spent time looking at a flawless diamond under
a microscope and marveling at how nature could create something so
completely perfect. And I also think that you haven’t seen what
complete joy a newly engaged couple express when they see how
stunning one of those high color, high clarity, ideal cut stones
actually looks on their finger. It doesn’t really matter if you
like the stones or not—what matters is the pleasure we give to
people when they wear something so beautiful—because after all we
are in the business of giving pleasure to our customers.

And please, if it’s environmental damage you are all worried about
then start by throwing out your computers as there are rare minerals
used in every computer which are the cause of just as much, or more,
environmental destruction (and human misery and death) then the
diamond industry. After you’ve tossed your computer you can throw
out your cars too because if you think oil hasn’t caused more death
than any other natural resource you are living in a dream world.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
617-234-4392
www.spirerjewelers.com


#19
    I believe that what Ron is referring to here is the fact that
it is still exceedingly difficult to produce colorless diamonds in
a lab and therefore Gemesis was comparing their product to canary
diamonds rather than admitting that they have yet to be able to
produce colorless stones. 

Gemesis CAN produce colorless diamonds, but it takes longer, and
once they’re made, they’re not worth as much as the colored stones -
so why bother with them? They do make some, but the more valuable
(colored) material takes less time to make.

    Also for those of you who think synthetic is just fine I'll
remember that when the machines available to man start cranking out
your designs for 1/10th the price and claim that they are just as
good as the handmade product. 

They already have machines that crank out jewelry in high quantities
(sometimes for less than 1/10th the price), and a lot of it IS just
fine. Sometimes its even better than a lot of what I’ve seen being
sold as “handmade”. I’ve seen some really poor quality, lumpy
solder, what have you, being sold at craft shows and the like for
pretty high prices because it’s “handmade”.

Anyway, what the machine made stuff isn’t is unique.

Synthetic IS just fine, and it gives me the ability to make
affordable jewelry when otherwise I’d be frozen out of the market by
high prices, as would my clientele.

Sojourner


#20
    You'll remember I'm not particularly partial to diamonds, and
said as much in my post. But you're wrong if you are thinking that
they still control the vast majority of the world's diamonds. They
now control less than 50%, which doesn't qualify as "vast
majority." Unfortunately for diamond fanciers, that hasn't
translated to a decrease in diamond prices. In fact, prices have
never been higher. Increased popularity of synthetics might drive
it down, though. 

Don’t really know, the last I saw was that they had stockpiled 80%
of the world’s supply of gemstone quality natural diamonds. I’m
only looking at gemstone quality stones and not the industrial stuff.
Allegedly the majority of the output of other mines is industrial
grade rather than gemstone quality. And at the time most of the
indoctrination/PR was going on, DeBeers controlled nearly ALL the
output of gem quality diamonds, as far as I know (I’m talking
pre-1950s).

But who knows. I just never really saw much attraction there,
myself.

Sojourner