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Nov. 2003

The current synthetic stone movements can be traced back to General Electric, which started by producing industrial quality synthetic diamonds. Following this, more synthetics were developed in Sweden, and in Ireland by De Beers. GE, meanwhile, also produced a few gem-quality white diamonds, but at no time did they see it as a viable business—since the cost was much higher than the natural whites and, besides, the market was basically not ready for it.

About 15 years ago, Sumitomo of Japan produced large crystals of synthetics—two of which they gave to us for cutting (and we still keep those stones archives).

But, despite all this, no one seriously promoted any synthetic diamonds—until lately, when Russian scientists entered the picture and American companies, such as Gemesis and Apollo, cropped up (one using HPHT, and the other using Chemical Vapor Deposition, CVD) and started promoting gem-quality synthetic diamonds.

Both companies claim (but have yet to prove) that they can do what other before have not: manufacture—economically—–synthetic diamonds in quantities.

Thus far, no substantial quantities of white synthetics have surfaced in the market. And, really, there’s nothing revolutionary about the processes being used so far—only the marketing and promotional efforts are new.

But the synthetic diamond picture continues to grow, with a Chinese firm breaking new ground with not only a new marketing plan, but also a new process. The process—developed by a research team at the University of Science and Technology of China, involves crystals produced through the chemical reduction of magnesium carbonate—better known as a compound in inks and glass. Unlike other processes, this one—according to the Chinese developers—could result in synthetic diamond production at lower costs.

While the big companies have not entered the picture, they might and there’s no telling that even De Beers itself may one day see it as a viable business—completely separate from the business of natural diamonds (As explained on page 1).

In the industrial synthetic market, De Beers is already a major player.

To sort through all the synthetic stones and various processes involved, the Gem-A has a CD-ROM—produced by the DTC—available for sale.

The CD, “Diamonds: Treatments, Synthetics and Simulants, Integrity, Disclosure and Detection.

For information on purchasing the CD-ROM, email: gagtl@btinternet.com, or call 011-44-(0)20-7404-3334.

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