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Lab Created Diamonds Come to Market 578

Posted by samzenpus
from the synthetic-bling dept.
E writes "Technology is putting some new sparkle in the world of diamonds. Until recently, naturally occurring, mined diamonds were unchallenged in their quality and desirability. But now laboratory-created diamonds, which possess the same properties as naturals, are poised to give them a run for their money. A new company, Adia Diamonds, has quite the variety in their inventory. They have the same chemical and physical properties as a mined diamond and come in white, blue and yellow. Both GIA and EGL grading labs are offering certifications for lab created diamonds. Seems like a good, high-tech alternative to the DeBeers diamond cartel."
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Lab Created Diamonds Come to Market

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  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:01PM (#16588240) Homepage Journal
    The article hints more at the new synthetic process' value for jewelry, but I'm not so certain that most jewelers will appreciate it -- especially the jewelers that cater to the most extravagent tastes. Diamonds have always been an oddity for me -- I understand the diamond's purpose in industrial applications (drill bits, saw blades, abrasives, and even in semiconductors) but the De Beers Group situation is not one I've ever understood -- even when trying to "think like a lady."

    I'm guessing the De Beers Group isn't worried about these synthetic diamonds, either -- they have such a great relationship with most jewelers because the De Beers Group spends a LOT of money in how they market the diamonds: marketing that provides diamonds for the bling-bling rappers, the royal families, the Hollywood stars and whoever else needs something sparkling to wear in public. That's what the jewelers want: they don't care if it's cheap, they get a great marketing campaign and still make huge profit margins.

    From Adia's website, we see only one retailer that resells their diamonds. Here's a company that has been around a few years, and they don't have a lot of support.

    For industrial applications, though, is the De Beers Group really a powerhouse? I'd always heard that a lot of flawed diamonds end up in the industrial applications, and the flawed ones are significantly cheaper than the "perfect" clarity versions used in jewelry.

    As a sidenote, my lady doesn't wear diamonds unless they're family heirlooms -- I've gotten her to move to 22K and 24K gold jewelry. It is shiny, sparkles like crazy if cut right, and when it wears down, I have it swapped for a new piece of jewelry in any Indian neighborhood (or in India) for a relatively competitive price. Diamonds are sort of boring for her now -- she sees how little they store value over time versus gold, and they're not very useful in a financial emergency (versus gold or platinum). Plus the fact that she can "trade-up" her softened jewelry for something else really captivates her -- the last ring she wore we "exchanged" for a set of earrings that was traded for bangles a few years later. With the diamond, she's mostly stuck.
    • by WindBourne (631190) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:09PM (#16588318) Journal
      Actually, De Beers is terrified. Over the last decade, they have pushed "genuine diamonds". Cool. A good jeweler and a bit testing could determine the difference between natural and artificial. Note, that I do not call it real vs. fake. The reason is, that they are both real. The problem is that the new artificial are not only indistinguishable, but it appears that better larger ones may be available soon for less than the cheaper "real" ones. De Beers would LOVE to kill these folks. But it is way too late for that. All in all, an investment in a diamond mine or even in a diamond ring may be a very bad investment. OTH, a nice gold ring may be a good one. In particular, if it has some disappearing scribbling inside.
      • by BJH (11355) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:17PM (#16588408)
        Interestingly enough, it IS possible to distinguish the new artifical diamonds from natural ones.

        The artificial ones have fewer impurities and inclusions ;)
        • by hachete (473378) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @07:56AM (#16591308) Homepage Journal
          The last time I bought a diamond ring for my (ex-)wife, I had to return it because I divorced her. Now, even though I had the receipt the salesperson went through a process of some sort of "gun" with a light that shone into each diamond on the ring, and it went "beep" when a diamond was "genuine" - I think that's when it found some sort of unique mark. I think that debeers are now marking their diamonds to distinguish from the manufactured ones.

          IIRC, diamonds used to be prized *because* of their flawlessness. DeBeers now put out that it's the flaws which are the mark of a "better" diamond.

          So, debeers are crapping themselves and I can't feel that sorry about the situation.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by alienw (585907)
            No, this process just checks the refractive index and other simple things. A really good artificial diamond can only be distinguished from a mined one using very large and expensive equipment to check the impurity profile.
          • by dhovis (303725) * on Thursday October 26, 2006 @09:23AM (#16592304)

            Actually that tester tests the thermal conductivity of the stone. Cubic Zirconia is virtually indistinguishable from diamond. A really well trained gemologist can tell the difference some of the time, but not the people who work in jewelry stores.

            OTOH, diamond has a very high thermal conductivity and cubic zirconia does not. When CZ first hit the market, jewelers really flipped out, because people could buy diamond rings, replace the diamond with CZ, and then return the ring with the CZ for full price. At first, the only surefire test was to measure the density, but that required removing the stone from the setting, something that takes some time. The company that created CZ then also produced a tester which at its tip had a small heater and a temperature probe a little ways away. If you touch the tip to a diamond, heat will transfer from the heater to the probe, whereas with a CZ, it will not. The company made more money off the patent for the detector than they ever did off CZ.

            Of note, a few years back, a new lab-created diamond alternative hit the market: Moissanite. It is a form of silicon carbide, and it actually has a higher index of refraction than diamond (it sparkles more). It also has a high thermal conductivity, so it would fool the old testers. Moissanite is easier to distinguish from diamond under a loupe, however. It is birefringent.

          • by Mister Transistor (259842) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @09:52AM (#16592696) Journal
            The device was probably a "GemPrint" machine, a device that makes a laser scatter-graph of the diamond's reflection profile. Each cut makes each diamond provide a unique pattern when you shine a laser into it, and they use these to profile, catalog and serialize the diamond. You can see the scatter-graph of your diamond yourself by shining a laser pointer into the face of the diamond directly while pointing the diamond toward a wall (to avoid blinding yourself). The resulting pattern is very pretty and, of course, unique. One of my old roommates used to work for GemPrint aligning the machines, but that was a while ago - this sounds like a smaller more portable version.
      • Indistinguishable? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:24PM (#16588472) Journal
        My late father was a jeweler and certified diamond rater (whatever that meant, but he studied hard for it). He said that all natural diamonds and sapphires, no matter how pure they look, have little inclusions and flaws in them. The way to tell them from the synthetic gems was that the synthetic gems were too perfect, and didn't have those microscopic flaws.

        He also told me how to tell an artificial pearl from a real one -- the real one, he said, will dissolve in vinegar. Strange sense of humor he had.

        • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:29PM (#16588536)
          That was not a joke. Back in the day it was a relatively easy and useful way to tell a genuine batch of pearls from fakes. Take random samples and see if they would begin to dissolve.

          Of course you would not want to dissolve the whole pearl. That would be silly.
        • by WindBourne (631190) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:34PM (#16588570) Journal
          Bear in mind, that I am not a diamond guy, so it is interesting to hear you speak about it. 5 years ago, that was how they told the difference (as well as other tests). About 6 months ago, I read about a new class of diamonds coming from Russia and Florida (using the russian technology). Apparently the new ones can be designed to have flaws. The article said that DeBeers was trying to figure ways around this, but that they did not have one.

          I was about to ask if you would ask your father about this, but I just noticed the second word. I am sorry; hopefully, it was quick.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by TubeSteak (669689)
            Here's a thread [slashdot.org] (starting with my commentary on why diamonds are cheap for anything besides jewelry) from the "Pharaoh's Gem Brighter Than a Thousand Suns" story a while back.

            I had two followup posts.
            One of them says where you can buy man-made diamonds (guess you'd want to add http://www.adiadiamonds.com/ [adiadiamonds.com] to the list)

            About 6 months ago, I read about a new class of diamonds coming from Russia and Florida (using the russian technology). Apparently the new ones can be designed to have flaws. The article said t

            • by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:26AM (#16589500) Homepage
              So AFAIK, right now, the only ways to tell synthetics from fakes are (A) they are flawless* or (B) they fluoresce.

              Check it out:
              http://www.adiadiamonds.com/content/frequently-ask ed-questions/#fluorescence [adiadiamonds.com]
            • This cannot be (Score:3, Informative)

              by aepervius (535155)
              If the atomic structure was different and there was fluoerescence then this would imply a different structure than tetrahedrical diamond (here and now some double bond for example, or even different type of atoms in the crystaline structure).

              The funny things is I did indeed fabricate diamond : I was in a french labor during the early 90's which studied such stuff. They looked more like glass or plastic than diamond :), but then again we made them in form of lens, not in form of jewelry diamond , so there
          • by Orlando (12257) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @03:51AM (#16590230) Homepage
            Apparently the new ones can be designed to have flaws.

            I hear they spoke extensively to Microsoft to find the best way to consistently achieve flaws.

        • Pearls (Score:5, Informative)

          by jenara (1018412) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:17AM (#16589442)
          You can also tell real pearls from fake ones by rubbing them against your teeth. The real ones feel grainy (like sand) and the fake ones are smooth. I'm a big fan of pearls, and the thought of them dissolving in vinegar makes my skin crawl.
        • by Ash Vince (602485) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @09:58AM (#16592772) Journal
          Since I have read this far down and nobody has posted a decent explanation on the difference between a Debeers mined diamond and a made one I thought I would post some five year old info about where they used to be up to. The most advanced people at making artificial diamonds was a lab in Russia.

          As far as I can remember the main problem they were encountering was Nitrogen. In a natural diamond which forms over a long period of time the nitrogen atoms would drift together over time and end up clumped together and form a seperate molecule (N4) of pure nitrogen embeded in the carbon lattice. This nitrogen molecule absorbed some light from the carbon but was otherwise undetectable.

          In the early attempts at making artificial diamonds they left the nitrogen in but it did not migrate together so ended up actually part of the carbon lattice. This gave the artificial diamonds a slight yellow tint as the nitrogen also emitted light back into the diamond crystal lattice. The Russian solution was to remove all the nitrogen at the start of the process.

          This produced perfect, pure carbon diamonds with a perfect crystal lattice. These diamonds however had a the property of trapping light so that when the light falling on them ceased (you switched the light off) they fluoresced, giving off the light they had been trapping with in the crystal lattice due to total internal reflection. Now this may have made them really cool but it did make them different to naturally occuring diamond.

          What the Russian team really needed was a way to leave in the Nitrogen impurity but so that it did not ever interupt the carbon crystal lattice.

          At this point De Beers was already shitting themselves and started looking at ways of marking there diamonds to prove they were mined diamonds not some knocked up in a lab. They semed to have a number of ideas such as laser etching the DeBeers trademark on each stone and similar but I dont know what the ultimately chose.

          If someone has some more info, please post it but don't start it with your dad, grandad, etc used to be jeweler as this just makes it hopelessly outdated. These new lab made diamonds are not like anything De Beers have had to deal with before (Cubic Zirconia, etc) as they are actually made of carbon which is formed into a diamond lattice using super high pressures but in a lab rather than underground.

          This information came from some sort of TV documentary I saw a number of years ago.

          I did however just throw some stuff at google and this is what came back -

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/2004/diamondl abstrans.shtml [bbc.co.uk] - The program I watched on BBC and have summarised (badly) above.

          (Please note - my summary is from memory so the info on the above link will be better.)

          http://www.russianbrilliants.net/introduction.html [russianbrilliants.net]
          http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/08/99081 7092046.htm [sciencedaily.com]
          http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.09/diamond.h tml [wired.com]
      • by Dun Malg (230075) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:25PM (#16588492) Homepage
        Actually, De Beers is terrified. Over the last decade, they have pushed "genuine diamonds". Cool. A good jeweler and a bit testing could determine the difference between natural and artificial.
        No, there is no non-destructive* way to reliably tell man made diamond from mined based on any material characteristics. The only way even a "good jeweler" can tell the difference is by checking for the official De Beers registry number laser etched on one of the facet edges. All part of their "genuine diamond" propaganda campaign. "Fake" diamonds are not registered.

        * mass spectrometry might do it by detecting certain trace elements, but in the end all diamonds are nothing more than tetrahedrally bonded carbon.
      • by eln (21727) * on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:33PM (#16588562) Homepage
        A diamond ring has always been a bad investment, because the same marketing push that has been so successful at convincing everyone that diamonds are somehow rare and valuable have also convinced people that second-hand diamonds are nearly worthless. You will never get anywhere near what you paid for a diamond ring on the secondary market unless you happen to have a diamond with some historic significance.

        The DeBeers story, and the history of the diamond as jewelry, is simply the story of the most successful marketing campaign in history. It is simply astonishing how the DeBeers cartel has managed to turn a fairly ordinary (but shiny) stone into one of the most expensive, sought after stones around. A stone that is so valuable that not only is it worth 2 MONTHS salary, but is so personal that it should never be purchased second hand.
        • by Ubergrendle (531719) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @12:37AM (#16589114) Journal
          10 Reasons never to accept a diamond [fguide.org], published in The Economist.

          And then of course, the classic Atlantic article [theatlantic.com] about the DeBeers Diamond cartel, and how the manufacture need.

          If diamonds are so special, how come they're 20x more common than sapphires but come at such a high premium?
        • by bigberk (547360) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:52AM (#16589656)
          Indeed, De Beers is a success based on marketing genius and supply side control (to fix prices to arbitrarily high values). The 2 months salary figure you mention was an etiquette rule created by De Beers, a wise benchmark to set the 'value' of diamonds. This 'rule' (which was a marketing creation) has been so successfully disseminated that it is now part of culture and tradition.
        • by mottie (807927) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:55AM (#16589674)
          the story of the most successful marketing campaign in history

          Right you are.. and here's the book to prove it:

          The Diamond Invention [edwardjayepstein.com]
        • by nobodyman (90587) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @03:17AM (#16590070) Homepage
          Couldn't agree with you more. I feel DeBeers is a truly evil organization, yet the sham they've been able to pull is nothing short of a marketing masterstroke.

          Take the "two-months-salary" thing. Convincing the consumer that this is a legitimate scenario is the holy grail of product pricing. Imagine asking a jeweler "hey, how much does that ring cost?", and blindly pulling out your wallet when the jeweler says "well... how much ya got?". Yeah, I'm oversimplifying... but considering prices are so inflated, the consumer is really paying in proportion to his/her income rather than in proportion to the diamond's size.

          Somehow DeBeers got it in people's heads that two-months salary is somehow indicative of the your love and ultimately the strength of the marriage. The irony here is that that financial woes are the leading cause of divorce -- if anything this silly notion is probably setting up young couples to fail.
          • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@nOSPAm.yahoo.com> on Thursday October 26, 2006 @10:41AM (#16593392) Journal
            The whole thing is a DeBeers invention. Before DeBeers, no one would even think that surprising a woman with a big sparkly rock that cost two whole months salary was a good way to get her to say yes. Their market research showed that most women would rather have the man save the money for a downpayment on a house. So they came up with the whole "Surprise her with a diamond" idea. Don't tell her ahead of time or ask her father or any traditional shit like that so that she has a chance of talking you out of doing something stupid, surprise her!
          • by infinite9 (319274) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @10:51AM (#16593578)
            The irony here is that that financial woes are the leading cause of divorce -- if anything this silly notion is probably setting up young couples to fail.

            +20 insightful.

            Number of years I've been married: 15, and not likely to end any time soon.

            Amount I paid for my wife's ring: $0. :-)

            Starting out in debt for both the ring and the wedding is the worst possible way to start a marriage.
      • All in all, an investment in a diamond mine or even in a diamond ring may be a very bad investment.
        "Investment" in a diamond ring has never been any good and hats off to De Beers for convincing the general public otherwise. Here's a link to an article about it:Have you ever tried to sell a diamond? [theatlantic.com]
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        De Beers would LOVE to kill these folks.

        Don't count this out. Investors in artificial diamond labs have been know to have accidents like "falling out of a helicopter".

    • by Gregoyle (122532) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:35PM (#16588574)
      Supporting what the parent poster is saying, diamonds are the only gemstones I know of that are artificially scarce. Thus, in my mind, they are a poor investment.

      They are made scarce by the fact that the overwhelming majority of productive diamond mines are controlled by one company, which jealously guards that scarcity (literally, the "extra" diamonds are guarded in huge warehouses). In my mind diamonds are only a few productive non-DeBeers mines away from being made much less valuable.

      If you really need to get gemstones to invest in, I would recommend rubies or sapphires (I know, they're the same stone). Star sapphires are especially prized. Otherwise stick to precious metals.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by thue (121682)
        If you really need to get gemstones to invest in, I would recommend rubies or sapphires

        Emm, they can be made synthetically, pretty cheaply I think. I would not pay lots of money for something which has so little claim to being scarce. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapphire [wikipedia.org]
    • by _KiTA_ (241027) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:37PM (#16588590) Homepage
      I'm guessing the De Beers Group isn't worried about these synthetic diamonds, either -- they have such a great relationship with most jewelers because the De Beers Group spends a LOT of money in how they market the diamonds: marketing that provides diamonds for the bling-bling rappers, the royal families, the Hollywood stars and whoever else needs something sparkling to wear in public. That's what the jewelers want: they don't care if it's cheap, they get a great marketing campaign and still make huge profit margins.


      Actually, there was an article on /. about this a long time ago (3+ years?) when this tech first started really taking off. It mentioned two technologies, 1 which was basically putting carbon in a box and crushing the holy living out of it, another which was taking a slice of diamond and "growing" new diamond on top of it with essentially carbon "rain." -- then taking a slice of the new, artificial diamond and growing more diamond on that.

      One of the guys reported getting repeated death threats by people he traced back to De Beers, attacked at Trade Shows, attempts at blackmailing them into selling or destroying the tech, etc. DeBeers was offering free devices for dealers to detect these diamonds (they're TOO perfect, chemically, some deformations that should be there are not), etc. At the end of it all there was a diamond dealer who examined the synth diamonds and basically said "eh, my customers wouldn't care that it's synthetic, they just want a diamond."

      Basically DeBeers was freaking RIGHT out about the whole thing. Small wonder since they keep such a stranglehold on the diamond trade using whatever legal (and illegal) pracitices they can get away with.
      • by ravenshrike (808508) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @12:08AM (#16588860)
        Ding!. The DeBeers cartel has over a 400 yrs supply of diamond stock. If artificial diamond tech takes off and they can't get a stranglehold, that stock becomes essentially worthless.
        • They can, and have, undersold new diamond miners and put them right out of business by dumping, then jacking the prices back up later. We see the exact thing with other monopolies, such as Microsoft, where they will sell at a loss to prevent a competitor from entering a small market and getting a toehold, and where they will apply illegal behind-the-scenes pressure to prevent retailers from starting any business with a competitor.

          Killing the market for "conscript" diamonds also threatens some very dangerous
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ehrichweiss (706417)
      "Diamonds are sort of boring for her now -- she sees how little they store value over time versus gold, and they're not very useful in a financial emergency (versus gold or platinum)."

      I think you are misunderstanding diamonds in this aspect. A diamond's value goes up a minimum of 12% per year regardless of market trends as opposed to gold which fluctuates according to some idiot's thoughts on inflation. Now let me clarify, that's NOT to say that a diamond RING will go up in value, just the unmounted dia
  • Great! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:02PM (#16588258)
    My Real Doll will never know the difference
  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu@TIGERgmail.com minus cat> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:03PM (#16588260) Journal

    Lab manufactured diamonds is an interesting concept, but if DeBeers gets its metaphorical finger in machine, it will ensure these diamonds either never get manufactured, or if they are manufactured never hit the marketplace with the name "diamond". The DeBeers monopoly is too dear and too powerful for disruption like this.

    You can argue the "blood diamond" political aspects of the diamond mining industry, but even tossing that aside DeBeers' behavior and domination and control of the diamond industry transcends any other monopoly. There's a reason DeBeers isn't a U.S. company (among many others...), DeBeers' monopolistic practices and domination and heavy handed control of the diamond market would not likely pass legal muster in the U.S.

    If you ever get a chance (/. "girlfriend" jokes aside), buy the lab diamonds, or buy your to-be a genuinely rare gem such as a Ruby (diamonds are not rare).

    The sooner the myth that is diamonds is de-mythed, the better. Read more about diamond myths here [diamondcuttersintl.com].

    • by Roger W Moore (538166) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:25PM (#16588490) Journal
      The sooner the myth that is diamonds is de-mythed, the better. Read more about diamond myths here.

      Actually they got the first point of the FAQ wrong - a diamond is not forever even if you do take care of it. It is a metastable allotrope of carbon [wikipedia.org] and will slowly convert to the thermodynamically favoured allotrope, graphite. It might take several billion years for a diamond to decay into graphite but that is still a lot less than forever.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by alnjmshntr (625401)

      ...it will ensure these diamonds either never get manufactured, or if they are manufactured never hit the marketplace with the name "diamond". The DeBeers monopoly is too dear and too powerful for disruption like this.

      Rubbish, De Beers is hardly a monopoly any longer. Both Canadian and Australian diamond mines don't sell their diamonds to De Beers - and Canada is something like the 3rd largest diamond producer in the world, after Botswana and Russia.

      I seriously doubt De Beers (a South African company BT

    • Ruby ? CHEAP ! (Score:3, Informative)

      by aepervius (535155)
      You realize that we can fabricate ruby in BIG quantites since way way back ? If I recall correctly the first laser were done with a long bar of ruby (artificially made) during the 60's. Just put the ruby in a light path and make a population inversion. And houpla ! You get a red laser. Heck, even if my memory fail me and ruby was artificially created later, I recall using some big bar of ruby as practice work to fabricate a laser in my physic 101 university year. So Ruby might be rare, but you can fabricate
  • by g_adams27 (581237) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:06PM (#16588296)

    Wired had a great article [wired.com] on the subject of synthetic diamonds a few years ago. An excerpt:

    Back at the Diamond High Council, I open the film canister and shake the Apollo stones onto the table. Van Royen tentatively picks one up with a pair of elongated tweezers and takes it to a microscope. "Unbelievable," he says slowly as he peers through the lens. "May I study it?" I agree to let him keep the gems overnight. When we meet the next morning in the lobby of the High Council, Van Royen looks tired. He admits to staying up almost all night scrutinizing the stones. "I think I can identify it," he says hopefully. "It's too perfect to be natural. Things in nature, they have flaws. The growth structure of this diamond is flawless."
    • by onx (956508) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:44PM (#16588662)
      From the wired article: "In an ambiguous April 2001 ruling, the Federal Trade Commission said that it was "unfair or deceptive" to call a man-made diamond a "diamond,""

      I agree completely with the FTC, it is very misleading to call a diamond a diamond! Man-made diamonds are identical to so called natural diamonds, differing only in the fact that natural diamonds are pulled out of the ground and man-made ones are not.

      I love our government.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jmichaelg (148257)
        I love our government.

        Especially when one branch gives deBeers a favorable ruling like the FTC's while anothe branch, Department of Justice, has standing arrest warrents out for deBeers execs. Ever since the 80's, DOJ has been trying to charge deBeers with monopolostic practices but none of the officers will cooperate by setting foot on American soil.

  • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:07PM (#16588302) Homepage Journal
    These technological wonders are rare and unique, they need to ramp production to even come close.
    from the website:

    Only a handful of Adia diamonds are produced each month. To the contrary, natural diamonds have annual production rates of over 150,000,000 carats. Would you believe that they are rare?

    I'm just reading a fascinating site packed with diamond color [color-diam...opedia.com] info.

    Fascinating to see the histories of the famous natural diamonds, if they can get production close for clear ones it will be good.
    As a geek I cannot wait for a diamond processor.

    Is this the startings of the diamond age :)
  • by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare@gmail. c o m> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:11PM (#16588326) Homepage Journal
    -challenges one of the most egregious monopolies in the world: debeers

    -undermines the economic incentive for blood diamonds

    -removes the financial drive behind a classist symbol, the diamond ring

    -unlocks thousands of new technological and scientific advances, due to diamond's unique properties of hardness and optics, that were previously economically unfeasible

    a diamond is just carbon. a very common element. it's just arranged in particularly difficult to achieve crystal. not anymore

    on so many levels, in so many ways, when something that was previously scarce is now plentiful, the world has become a better place, progress has been achieved

  • by thesolo (131008) <slap@fighttheriaa.org> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:11PM (#16588332) Homepage
    Over 3 years ago, Slashdot ran an article on these lab created diamonds; it was a great story [wired.com] on Wired.com. The difference there was that it was an independent piece, a solid read, and offered a glimpse into the future of computing (i.e. using diamonds as semiconductors).

    This current story, however, is just a link to a damn press release, with no mention What was the point of it, aside from giving free press to this company?
  • by macadamia_harold (947445) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:15PM (#16588362) Homepage
    Seems like a good, high-tech alternative to the DeBeers diamond cartel.

    Not really. They're missing an element; a human element. I expect bloodshed and slavery with my diamonds. They make the diamonds more special.
    • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:27PM (#16588506) Homepage Journal
      She did not need persuasion or even a second to think about it. She's adamant (pardon the pun) that any future diamond we own will be a symbol of the highest human skill and ingenuity and will not be something a slave dug up in an armed camp. For the symbolism, for the historical connections, for the emotional resonance, we both prefer diamonds that humans created.
      • by shitdrummer (523404) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @12:54AM (#16589276)
        My wife wanted a diamond ring as an engagement ring. I asked how she would feel wearing a ring that a child may have died for. I explained how man made diamonds last longer and are flawless. I showed her the price difference. She got a 1crt man made diamond solitaire for under AU$1000. I could not have afforded a natural 1crt diamond, and honestly, I would have hated myself for buying it.

        Every person who sees the ring loves it. It's amazing to see the looks on the faces of other women when they see it. You can feel the jealousy and see it in their faces. Brilliant.

        I've just recently bought my wife a 2nd hand natural diamond ring for about AU$150. I would definately recommend man-made or 2nd hand natural diamonds. I figure the damage has already been done by the original purchaser of real natural diamonds, so buying 2nd hand isn't really a moral issue for me, or my wife.

        Women, well at least my wife, don't necessarily want natural diamonds. They want to feel special and see the look of jealousy on the faces of other women. Having said that, there are always the snooty girls who won't wear anything other than a natural diamond. The're usually the ones who will leave you because their new man has a bigger house, better car, and bigger bank ballance than you.

        Shitdrummer.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mrchaotica (681592) *

          She got a 1crt man made diamond solitaire for under AU$1000. I could not have afforded a natural 1crt diamond, and honestly, I would have hated myself for buying it.

          What manufacturer did that diamond come from? I've been looking, but so far all the (colorless, more than equivalent mined ones. I wouldn't mind paying more for man-made, but so far they've been out of my price range.

          Not to mention that every jeweler I try to ask keeps insisting that I mean "moissonite" which is silicon carbide, not diamond. T

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by shitdrummer (523404)
            http://www.gemolite.com.au/ [gemolite.com.au]

            I don't know the details of how they're made or any other technical details. All I know is my wife loves her ring and no-one can tell the difference with a naked eye. Even jewlers comment on how lovely it is when she window shops.

            Occasionally someone will ask if it's real, to which she responds "of course it's real. It's certainly not imaginary.". People tend not to ask any more questions after that. :)

            Shitdrummer.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by mrchaotica (681592) *

              In my search for a man-made diamond, I've become quite adept at seeing through marketing bullshit (if I do say so myself). Keeping that in mind, I carefully looked through Gemolite's website.

              I hate to break it to you, but based on the description [gemolite.com.au], Gemolite isn't not diamond at all, synthetic or otherwise. Here are the key quotes:

              What is the difference then? Simply this... a diamond, which is the hardest substance in the world, is harder than a Gemolite.

              All diamonds are equally hard; therefore, a Gemolite

              • by shitdrummer (523404) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @04:42AM (#16590482)
                At the end of the day, if it looks like a diamond, it's good enough. Well, for my wife and I anyway.

                Not to mention the added bonus of no-one having to die for my wife to have it.

                I mentioned your comments to my wife (putting my life on the line mind you) and her response was "So what! It looks like a diamond, people think it's a diamond, and it came from you (me). I wouldn't want anything else.". That's probably one of the reasons I married her. :)

                Shitdrummer.
  • by Gregoyle (122532) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:16PM (#16588376)
    Wired [wired.com] did a much more in depth article on this subject a couple years ago.

    One thing to keep in mind is that saying the lab-created diamonds possess the same qualities as natural diamonds is a little misleading. They are certainly diamonds, in that they are the same type of crystal form of carbon, but they *are* distinguishable from natural diamonds.

    What I find very interesting is just how expensive and advanced equipment needs to be to tell the difference, and how much Debeers is shelling out to ensure that the biggest diamond testing labs have that equipment. Check out the linked article for more on that.

    If you want to do something about challenging the DeBeers cartel and their questionable business practices, check out Canadian Diamonds [canadadiamonds.com], also here [aurias.com] and here [polarbeardiamond.com].
  • by 93,000 (150453) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:20PM (#16588436)
    It's not really love unless a 12 year old lost a finger cutting it out of the wall of a mine.

    (Kudos to whomever I'm paraphrasing/ripping off in saying that -- I know it's not my own.)

  • "conflict-free" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Duncan3 (10537) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:26PM (#16588504) Homepage
    I love how DeBeers turned "diamonds we got by killing Africans and anyone else in our way, funding local wars, and ripping you off on something that is so common everyone could have 10 and we'd still have warehouses full" into ... "conflict-free".

    Until these guys ramp up to massive capacity, buying a diamond still involves killing people.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by the_humeister (922869)
      I was able to show my fiance the light concerning the evils of mined diamonds and DeBeers. So I got her a Gemesis diamond instead. It's a nice 1 carat canary yellow-orange diamond. So now she's a walking poster child for those who despise DeBeers, especially when other women look at her ring finger and wonder how her fiance was able to afford a yellow diamond because "aren't they really really expensive???"
  • by inviolet (797804) <slashdot@noSpaM.ideasmatter.org> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:30PM (#16588542) Journal

    The purpose of the diamond ritual is to require the male (or whoever) to put his money where his mouth is, to prove that he is sincere about the relationship. And what's the old saying? "Money has a truthfulness. If a man speaks of his honor, make him pay in cash."

    The diamond is idea for this purpose because it has almost no resale value. It's a way for the male to make a demonstratively extravagant purchase, one which the female (or whoever) is not able to whip back around for a cash refund.

    Of course, it didn't have to be diamonds. Were it not for the DeBeers' marketing savvy, any arbitrary rare object could've sufficed. If technology had evolved differently, women might now be wearing tiny LCD displays on their fingers which play a video loop of their husbands throwing a bundle of cash into the ocean.

    • by humberthumbert (104950) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:55PM (#16588760)
      Isn't society fucked up? I wish we would stop
      bringing up children to harbor such retarded notions
      of what love is about.

      Well, I don't know what love is, either. But it's not
      Hollywood, it's not dinners and flowers, and it's not
      about all the bullshit games that people play.

      But thanks to the mass media and the continual
      dumbing down of the populace, I reckon I will
      die alone.

      I know, I know, I'm a real downer at parties.
    • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @12:23AM (#16589000) Homepage Journal
      I think it was David Friedman who claimed that the ritual serves an even more specific purpose.

      A lifetime ago, the ideal was that a "good" girl would wait until marriage, but in practice many women with normal libidos compromised on waiting until engagement. This led (duh) to guys proposing in order to get laid and then for some reason changing their mind about actually getting married. Laws were actually passed to protect women against having sex with dishonest people.

      The ring, then, he argues, was a nonrefundable deposit to provide some evidence that the guy would actually go through with the marriage.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kendor (525262)

      I'm told that the original symbolic object for the wedding ceremony was in fact a coin.

      Instead of a ring, my boss gave his wife $2000 in shares of the inaugural issue of the Fidelity Magellen Fund. 20+ years later, I do think she's a bit happier with this gift.

      Instead of a diamond, I gave my wife a $300 filigreed ring, silver. More beautiful than most any diamond. For me, I got a $120 silver ring. I love it, and I love the idea that if I lose it I can swap it out for something else identically symbolic

  • by humberthumbert (104950) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:43PM (#16588642)
    ...run, not walk, away from your woman.

    Especially if you have explained to her what a scam DeBeers has perpetuated
    upon the world, and it has not changed her mind.

    Sure, you can offer her a non-blood diamond. But you have to ask yourself
    if a person like that is someone you want to spent time with.

    Of course, I carry a cellphone with tantalum capacitors in them. The world's a fucked up place.
  • by germansausage (682057) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:58PM (#16588782)
    For many years De Beers has been marketing diamonds and saying that the _very_best_ diamonds are flawless.

    Here is a quote : "_Flawless_ is the very highest grade of gem stone, where no internal inclusions or surface imperfections are visible."

    They are going to have a tough time convincing people that lab made diamonds are "too flawless".
  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @12:11AM (#16588906) Homepage

    It's not clear from the Adia diamonds whether these are grown like semiconductor wafers or made in high-pressure presses. Gemesys [gemesis.com] has a Florida plant making gemstones in high-pressure presses. They finally caved in to deBeers and laser-engraves their stones with some ID information. The FTC caved in to the diamond industry and insists they be called "cultured diamonds". They're distinguishable from natural diamonds by their absorbtion spectrum, and deBeers has a tester for this [gemesis.com]

    Grown synthetics were still experimental when Wired wrote their article, but that's the more promising process. Those, in theory, can be indistinguishable from natural ones.

    The diamond industry had painted itself into a corner with the concept that the most valuable diamonds are "flawless". You do not want to be in that marketing position when going up against the technology that makes semiconductor wafers. Look for PR about how real diamonds have "natural flaws".

    Tied to this is the "Kimberly Process" [wikipedia.org], the agreement supposedly intended to restrict the flow of conflict diamonds. This requires source documentation to travel along with diamonds as they pass through the distribution chain. Previously, diamonds were generic; nobody cared where they came from. The Kimberly Process has the effect of making it much harder to insert large quantities of synthetic diamonds into the distribution system.

    Incidentally, most industrial diamonds have been synthetic for years. Annual synthetic production is around 600 metric tons, most of it in the form of abrasive grits for cutting wheels and such. When you need to cut a slot in concrete pavement, you use a diamond cutting wheel.

  • diamonds are forever (Score:5, Interesting)

    by apunahasapeemapetala (656835) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @12:50AM (#16589240)
    with all this jibba-jabba about diamonds, etc, there are a couple points that might be made:

    first of all, jewelers don't make a "huge profit margin" on diamonds, in fact they generally make very little, unless you walk in there waving a huge wad of cash. there is a very well known document called the "rap sheet" (aka rappaport sheet) which is published weekly and lists the wholesale prices for various grades and types of diamonds. if you know even a little, you can get a jeweler to give you 5% over rap, which is hardly a huge margin compared to media/software/drug companies.

    secondly, diamonds are definitely an item for which you get what you pay for. can you overpay? absolutely. but a $5000 diamond from a good retailer (like whiteflash or blue nile) is going to be twice as good as a $2500 diamond when it comes to the all-important flashyness factor (amount of light returned through the top of the stone) also, any good retailer will buy your diamond back for what you paid for it originally if you want to trade up (like the gold guy)

    third, I never understood what all the fuss was about diamonds, until I bought my fiancee (now wife) one. I'm a pretty miserly guy in general but I have to say splashing out for a 1ct SI1 with excellent cut and symmetry was an amazingly good decision (for me) in retrospect. she gets complements on it every day (years later), and, sad to say EVERYONE JUDGES OUR RELATIONSHIP BASED ON THE FRICKING ROCK. I can't tell you how many times she's heard "oh he must really love you" -- gak -- sad but true.

    finally, to get a bit of historical perspective, the fall of DeBeers has been predicted for quite some time now.. I recommend Ed Epstein's fantastic article from The Atlantic.. if you don't look at the date you might think it was just published: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/198202/diamond [theatlantic.com] and for those who want a fantastic and unbiased source for diamond info, I highly recommend http://www.pricescope.com/ [pricescope.com]

    • by MarkRose (820682) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:57AM (#16589694) Homepage
      DeBeers is getting closer and closer to truth in advertising. At first, it was "Diamonds are forever." Then it became "Diamonds, take her breath away." Next? "Diamonds... that'll shut her up!" ;-)
    • by retro128 (318602) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @02:29AM (#16589848)
      third, I never understood what all the fuss was about diamonds, until I bought my fiancee (now wife) one. I'm a pretty miserly guy in general but I have to say splashing out for a 1ct SI1 with excellent cut and symmetry was an amazingly good decision (for me) in retrospect. she gets complements on it every day (years later), and, sad to say EVERYONE JUDGES OUR RELATIONSHIP BASED ON THE FRICKING ROCK. I can't tell you how many times she's heard "oh he must really love you" -- gak -- sad but true.

      Why is it important to you that anyone judge your relationship based on the size of a trinket? It's the height of materialism to believe that the love you feel for someone is proportional to the amount of money you're willing to part with on a diamond (or anything else, for that matter) Sad to say, anyone who thinks so is a victim of the DeBeers marketing machine. The very article you cited from The Atlantic is a perfect illustration of this. One of the more pertinent parts of the article:

      Since the Ayer plan to romanticize diamonds required subtly altering the public's picture of the way a man courts -- and wins -- a woman, the advertising agency strongly suggested exploiting the relatively new medium of motion pictures. Movie idols, the paragons of romance for the mass audience, would be given diamonds to use as their symbols of indestructible love.

    • by glesga_kiss (596639) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @04:45AM (#16590496)
      secondly, diamonds are definitely an item for which you get what you pay for.

      Nonsense, unless you value buying over-priced tokenistic items from highly violent cartels that ruthlessly control the price. People that make fake diamonds need to have armed guards for their sites and bodyguards for their home. This is the "value" of diamonds. DeBeers allegedly has a 400 year supply sitting in warehouses.

      Diamonds are completely and utterly worthless unless you want to drill through hard objects. You might "get what you pay for" with a diamond drill bit but I prefer the GTA interpretation: "Nothing says I love you more than a lump of rock mined by child wage slaves in Angola".

  • by johnjay (230559) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @08:23AM (#16591564)
    What if DeBeers started a company that claimed to sell man-made diamonds, but actually just sold DeBeers excess stock?

    Facts that might support this plan:
    - New diamond manufacturing processes create flaws and imperfection, making new-style manufactured diamonds indistinguishable from found diamonds. This also makes found diamonds indistinguishable from manufactured diamonds.
    - According to conventional wisdom, DeBeers has a huge stockpile of diamonds. This helps keep the price up by imposing scarcity, but it is also excess, inventory--non-revenue-producing inventory.
    - As manufacturing processes become widespread, it seems very likely that the diamond market could collapse, making DeBeer's excess, non-revenue-producing inventory not worth very much.
    - DeBeers has a proud history of destroying competition by using its monopoly to offer the same product for less.
    - A quick comparison of pricess at http://www.adiadiamonds.com/ [adiadiamonds.com] and http://www.canadadiamonds.com/ [canadadiamonds.com] shows similar pricing. For the moment, at least, the market will support high prices for manufactured diamonds.
    - This strategy doesn't make sense in the long-term, but if there IS no long term, then selling off excess inventory through another market is a good idea.
    - As many commenters have noted, there is a lot of perceived value in not having a "Blood Diamond". If DeBeers can convince these commenters that its diamonds are not blood diamonds, then it can sell to them. One way to do this is to pretend that the diamond is man-made, even though it is not.

    The weak link in this chain is the diamond's flaws. If you buy a flawless diamond, it must be man-made.

    I don't really know if this is true--it seems pretty far-fetched, but I don't really know anything about Adia (or any of the other diamond manufacturing companies) either. It's an interesting bit of scepticism, that's all.
  • This isn't news (Score:3, Informative)

    by Thaelon (250687) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @09:22AM (#16592282)
    It's not a good article and it's not something that just happened.

    See this [wired.com] for a good article (and it's from 2003).

    You can even buy them here [diamondnexuslabs.com] or here [gemex.com], or just read the wired article and check up on the companies mentioned in it.

The most delightful day after the one on which you buy a cottage in the country is the one on which you resell it. -- J. Brecheux

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