Fake Diamonds Are Real

This will surely rank as one of the major scientific breakthroughs of the 21st century*:

This winter, a sparkling diamond landed in front of a technician at the Gemological Institute of America in New York City. He ran tests, noted the stone was man-made, and graded it as he would any diamond. It was the gem industry's strongest acknowledgment yet that lab-grown diamonds are just as real as natural ones.

For years, De Beers, the world's largest purveyor of natural diamonds, argued against the acceptance and GIA grading of lab-grown stones. But since 2003, synthetic diamond production has taken off, driven by consumer demand for merchandise that's environmentally friendly (no open-pit mines), sociopolitically neutral (no blood diamonds), and monopoly-free (not controlled by De Beers).

Personally, I'd pay extra to buy a fake diamond. I'd sleep better knowing that my jewels were responsibly harvested. If you want to learn more about Gemesis, the leading manufacturer of fake diamonds, check out this article.

*I'm joking, sort of. The truth of the matter is that the world will be a much better place once the diamond cartel no longer has a monopoly.


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Personally, I'd pay extra to buy a fake diamond. I'd sleep better knowing that my jewels were responsibly harvested.

You and me both. For the reasons you state, plus, well, isn't it just incredibly cool?

By Genevieve Williams (not verified) on 01 Feb 2007 #permalink

Can someone explain to me how a gemologist can tell the difference between a fake and real diamond? Seems like they'd be the same but I don't know enough about the topic.

From the article, it appears to do with the refractive properties of the internal structure of the diamonds. Synthetics apparently have a relatively consistent internal structure compared to natural diamonds.

Thanks! I guessed it would have been something like that. So does that mean that synthetic diamonds are "too perfect"?

It's like a drum machine: the mechanical perfect sounds fake because it's just too perfect. A synthetic diamond is the same way. It lacks the natural irregularities inherent in all "natural" things.

cultured diamonds really put the diamond industry into a pickle. all this time they've been grading diamonds, pricing those nearest to perfection at the top of the scale. the value of a diamond comes from its level of perfection.

yet now, cultured diamonds are an order of magnitude MORE perfect than mined diamonds. how do you now tell people they're not as good because they're more perfect?

I for one hope that cultured diamonds flood the market. the world monopoly of debeers makes me sick. i plan to either buy a "used" diamond or a cultured one if i ever need one.

Sort of. From the article, there are two primary producers of cultured diamonds. The Apollo Diamonds made using chemical vapor deposition are, as you say "too perfect". The Gemesis ones using the high temperature/high pressure tanks would all be "flawed" in the same way. That said, the "flaw" appears to be undetectable by the naked eye from what the article said. The detection method for the Gemesis stones required an infra-red spectrometer.

I somehow doubt that anyone but an experienced jeweler could tell the difference between real and synthetic as easily as you could determine a drum machine from a real drummer.

Synthetic diamonds are indeed real diamonds, and I can only hope that your use of the word "fake" was intended to be humorous. Fake diamonds would be cut glass (rhinestones), cubic zirconia, or moissanite.

Sythesis of large diamond layors by vapor deposition has a lot of potential for semiconductor and other industries, and for research.

By Mustafa Mond, FCD (not verified) on 02 Feb 2007 #permalink