Renewed interest has spawned in the synthetic diamond debate, in part due to new color technology by the Gemesis Corporation. The company, located in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, has been creating cultured diamonds for over a decade.
Gemesis has always specialized in yellow diamonds simply because that is what the machines make, influenced somewhat by the nitrogen in the air. Recently though, the company has been experimenting with the creation of pink and blue diamonds—highly coveted and extremely rare, naturally occurring stones.
If this takes off, not only will Gemesis be able to provide an abundance of color, but it would also bring economy to the world of diamond buying, with greatly reduced prices.
It is no wonder De Beers is sweating bullets these days. They have a lot to lose if machine-grown gems become a standard in the industry. Typically these stones sell for about one-third of what their naturally produced counterparts would.
Though it hasn’t been the easiest ride for Gemesis and other synthetic diamond makers, there have been steady gains made. In January, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) started accepting laboratory-grown diamonds for commercial grading.
Gemesis Chief Executive Steven Lux is hopeful. “By the end of next year, Gemesis expects to be making enough pinks to bring them out commercially. By 2009, Gemesis will have commercial quantities of blues, ” Lux said. There are also plans to create different colors in the future, including the traditional “white” or “colorless” diamond.
De Beers, by far has been the biggest defender in this cultured vs. natural diamonds debate. De Beers spokeswoman Lynette Gould appeared confident when discussing the future of the diamond industry, though. “If synthetics do enter the jewelry market we believe that over time, production costs will fall, and synthetics will probably occupy a similar position in the marketplace to Cubic Zirconia, Moissanite, and other such materials, ” wrote Gould.
To counter this notion that Gemesis’ real diamonds are even remotely similar to cubics, Gemesis recently hired Joan Parker, a former De Beers spokeswoman and marketing executive. Gemesis does not even approve of the term “synthetic” because of the fact that its stones are physically, optically, and chemically real diamonds.
The only difference is one is made by nature, and one is made by man. Pick your poison…or your treasure.
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