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Synthetic Diamonds - New Article

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Shiny_Rock
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Re: Synthetic Diamonds - Article

Very informative article.thank you
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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:wavey: Eric,
Nice short info laden article.

Care to comment on diamond coated CZ's?

Also re: "All blue diamonds, mined and lab-grown alike, are electrically conductive,"
Dont think this is true for the hydrogen colored violet blue diamonds from Argyle.
 

EEFranklin

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Garry,

I honestly pay very little attention to the simulant industry. There are many companies that claim their product is superior to a normal CZ, but I don't spend any time verifying their claims. I am sure there are more knowledgeable people out there about CZ treatments, but from what I know about diamond coated CZs, it is a CVD diamond coating over top of a normal CZ. It can wear off over time or come off in an ultrasonic. I've also heard of other procedures that supposedly infuse the carbon deeper into the CZ, rather than just a layer on the top, but ultimately it is still a simulant. For consumers, price is still the easiest identifier. I believe the diamond coated/infused CZs still retail for around $200-300 per carat. Maybe Wink or someone else could comment on this too?

As you have noted, there are mined blue diamonds where the color comes from hydrogen rather than boron. These are extremely rare, I believe single digits per year, and are not electrically conductive. In those cases, the unique violet-blue color and their non-conductivity would identify them as natural Argyle blues. Aside from those very rare (and expensive) exceptions, other non-conductive blue diamonds are irradiated, which can further be identified by their color (many are greenish-blue) or through spectroscopy.
 

Karl_K

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Interesting article.
Thank you.

How far do you see the current technology being able to scale?
For example can it scale to a million cts+ a year or will it take a technology breakthrough to reach that point?


I have some more questions but don't have the time to post them right now.
 

ChunkyCushionLover

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Thanks Eric, short and to the point.
Well written informative article.
 

denverappraiser

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EEFranklin said:
Garry,

I honestly pay very little attention to the simulant industry. There are many companies that claim their product is superior to a normal CZ, but I don't spend any time verifying their claims. I am sure there are more knowledgeable people out there about CZ treatments, but from what I know about diamond coated CZs, it is a CVD diamond coating over top of a normal CZ. It can wear off over time or come off in an ultrasonic. I've also heard of other procedures that supposedly infuse the carbon deeper into the CZ, rather than just a layer on the top, but ultimately it is still a simulant. For consumers, price is still the easiest identifier. I believe the diamond coated/infused CZs still retail for around $200-300 per carat. Maybe Wink or someone else could comment on this too?

As you have noted, there are mined blue diamonds where the color comes from hydrogen rather than boron. These are extremely rare, I believe single digits per year, and are not electrically conductive. In those cases, the unique violet-blue color and their non-conductivity would identify them as natural Argyle blues. Aside from those very rare (and expensive) exceptions, other non-conductive blue diamonds are irradiated, which can further be identified by their color (many are greenish-blue) or through spectroscopy.
Stones being marketed as CZs that have been coated with diamond, diamond like carbon, and ocasionally other materials, retail for a wide range of price from about $10/ct to about $300/ct depending on the company, the specific claims of treatment and the style of marketing. There are a significant number of conflicting statements being made by the marketers of these things but one thing is clearly agreed on - They are NOT diamonds (and consequently are a rules violation to discuss on this forum). They are no more diamonds than a photograph of a Ferrari is a Ferrari. As with photographs, some of them are lovely and by all means buy one if you want, but if the seller either doesn't know what they have or they are deliberatly misleading their customers about what they're selling, shop somewhere else.
 

EEFranklin

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How far do you see the current technology being able to scale?
At full capacity, in one month, one machine can produce around 7-10ctw of polished orangy, 5-6ctw of polished yellow, 3-4ctw of polished blue or 2-3ctw of polished white. The practical yields are lower due to machine maintenance and turnover, inclusions, growth failures, etc.. The speed of crystal growth is mainly controlled by nature (we just create the right environment), though some improvements to the catalysts and environment could increase the output and yield a little.

It would take tens of thousands of machines to come close to one million carats per year. Each machine is custom designed and built internally and costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. So, a few billion dollars could possibly create that output, assuming the skilled labor was available to design, build and operate thousands of machines. At that point though, especially if you want white diamonds, it is more cost effective to fund a new diamond mine than it would to build enough machines to equal a mine's output.
 

EEFranklin

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denverappraiser said:
Stones being marketed as CZs that have been coated with diamond, diamond like carbon, and ocasionally other materials, retail for a wide range of price from about $10/ct to about $300/ct depending on the company, the specific claims of treatment and the style of marketing. There are a significant number of conflicting statements being made by the marketers of these things but one thing is clearly agreed on - They are NOT diamonds (and consequently are a rules violation to discuss on this forum). They are no more diamonds than a photograph of a Ferrari is a Ferrari. As with photographs, some of them are lovely and by all means buy one if you want, but if the seller either doesn't know what they have or they are deliberatly misleading their customers about what they're selling, shop somewhere else.
Indeed! Like mentioned in the article, if anything claiming to be a white lab-created diamond wasn't grown by us or Apollo, especially if it is <$500/carat, chances are it isn't a real diamond.

P.S. Garry prompted me to break the rules :bigsmile:
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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EEFranklin said:
How far do you see the current technology being able to scale?
At full capacity, in one month, one machine can produce around 7-10ctw of polished orangy, 5-6ctw of polished yellow, 3-4ctw of polished blue or 2-3ctw of polished white. The practical yields are lower due to machine maintenance and turnover, inclusions, growth failures, etc.. The speed of crystal growth is mainly controlled by nature (we just create the right environment), though some improvements to the catalysts and environment could increase the output and yield a little.

It would take tens of thousands of machines to come close to one million carats per year. Each machine is custom designed and built internally and costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. So, a few billion dollars could possibly create that output, assuming the skilled labor was available to design, build and operate thousands of machines. At that point though, especially if you want white diamonds, it is more cost effective to fund a new diamond mine than it would to build enough machines to equal a mine's output.
Oho :oops: I am rightly spanked Neil !

Eric setting up a mine typically costs about $1 billion for a pipe. But first you have to find your pipe.
I imagine about this much is being spent in each year by many major and minor companies (pun?). If average mine life is say 20 years, and since we only have a few new mines each decade, it might be less costly to make the machines if they can outlast the mines in their workable life?

But it assumes that prices for man made would hold parity with mined. Of course there are people who will pay more for synthetic because they feel it costs the planet and the people less. But there are others who feel mined is real etc. And still others who believe in things like African benefication or continued employment of a million people in India and China (although the synthetic diamonds still need to be polished too).

And finally on the last point - Bryant Linares's mentioned at a seminar I attended in India 2 years back that they would work on producing blocked preshaped synthetic diamonds that only needed the facets polished.
 

Karl_K

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Garry H (Cut Nut) said:
But it assumes that prices for man made would hold parity with mined. Of course there are people who will pay more for synthetic because they feel it costs the planet and the people less.
The mmd industry if it wants to succeed they can not allow the mined producers to define them.
There are many advantages but if people never hear about them it does no good.
The market will have to built using smart advertising.

Which brings me to my next question:
Is there a mmd advertising group or are all the producers going their own way?
 

EEFranklin

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Garry H (Cut Nut) said:
Eric setting up a mine typically costs about $1 billion for a pipe. But first you have to find your pipe.
I imagine about this much is being spent in each year by many major and minor companies (pun?). If average mine life is say 20 years, and since we only have a few new mines each decade, it might be less costly to make the machines if they can outlast the mines in their workable life?
The growth machines, if properly maintained, could last 20 years or more and it could be a relatively consistent production over that entire time period. I have to believe the output of a pipe would taper out toward the end of its useful life. However, there are also the environmental, labor and other issues to consider beyond the capital investment of a mine.

Even if someone gave me a billion dollars today (anyone?), the way the synthetic diamond R&D is evolving, it would still be wise to grow the number of machines organically, so advancements in technology can be built into future machines (though some improvements are backwards-compatible). Considering where we were at just five years ago (primarily orange), I wouldn't want to scale to thousands of machines at least until we could reliably grow whites to 1.5ct polished or so. Otherwise you end up in a position like Gemesis. They have plenty of machines but for the most part can only grow orangy diamonds.

The single-crystal machines are also very cost-inefficient at growing melee sizes. We have a relatively new machine design that can grow multiple diamonds at a time totaling about 3ct rough (e.g. 10x0.30ct). Had we committed to thousands of the single-crystal design, we may not have come up with this design.
But it assumes that prices for man made would hold parity with mined. Of course there are people who will pay more for synthetic because they feel it costs the planet and the people less. But there are others who feel mined is real etc. And still others who believe in things like African benefication or continued employment of a million people in India and China (although the synthetic diamonds still need to be polished too).
Our blue and yellow diamonds are priced independently of mined diamond prices, and already cost less than comparable mined diamonds. Whites are a different story, but based solely on the cost of growth and cutting with today's technology, the prices shouldn't change a whole lot. However there are certainly global supply, demand and economic issues that come into play long term too.

Even if a million carats of gem-quality synthetic diamonds per year was possible, it would still be a small fraction of the mined diamond industry, so I don't see lab-grown diamonds taking away mining jobs any time soon.
And finally on the last point - Bryant Linares's mentioned at a seminar I attended in India 2 years back that they would work on producing blocked preshaped synthetic diamonds that only needed the facets polished.
I'd be interested to see if they made any progress with that. It would help their yield, but probably not the polished weights. The challenge with CVD is still thickness and from what I have seen, Apollo is still around 3mm deep.

Enough rambling...I guess my point is there are still some milestones that need to be achieved before synthetic diamond productions can scale exponentially.
 

EEFranklin

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Karl_K said:
There are many advantages but if people never hear about them it does no good.
Absolutely. So many products and companies have gone the way of the dodo because no one has heard of them.
Is there a mmd advertising group or are all the producers going their own way?
Right now all of the producers are promoting independently, mainly because we have different distribution channels. We (D.NEA) cut our own diamonds and sell direct to consumers and some retailers too. Gemesis previously just sold rough (a la DeBeers). They now sell polished direct, but I think they are just selling inventory they ended up with, rather than a change in business model. Chatham distributes mainly through independent retailers. Apollo mostly sells direct to consumers.

We're friendly to each other and refer business around, but haven't ever done any cooperative advertising. I could certainly see a benefit in a coordinated 'mmd awareness' campaign though.
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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Karl_K said:
Garry H (Cut Nut) said:
But it assumes that prices for man made would hold parity with mined. Of course there are people who will pay more for synthetic because they feel it costs the planet and the people less.
The mmd industry if it wants to succeed they can not allow the mined producers to define them.
There are many advantages but if people never hear about them it does no good.
The market will have to built using smart advertising.

Which brings me to my next question:
Is there a mmd advertising group or are all the producers going their own way?

This is part of an article published in IDEX magazine by AKA's Yuri, Serg, Janak Mistry and moi. (can anyone find the web link?

A vision of the future: the luxury brand’s perspective
LuxuryBrands invests in LabGrownDiamondsInc
The global luxury watch, jewellery and accessory conglomerate LuxuryBrands (LB) has negotiated an exclusive supply contract for custom-designed lab-grown diamonds.
LabGrownDiamondsInc (LGD) share price has more than doubled after the release of the first joint range from the two companies. A standout of the collection is the Rainbow watch, which features a dial surrounded by a full spectrum of rainbow-coloured lab-grown diamonds in a unique, Dali-inspired jigsaw cut.
Industry analysts noted the pricing and margins were considerably above natural diamond equivalents, while fashion editors commented that the range was “incomparably beautiful”.
A statement from both LB and LGD expects the limited edition range “to sell out before it hits LB’s agents and company-owned stores”. LB’s proven track record for design innovation, cache and mystique in perfumes, shoes, handbags and other jewellery lines has created a winning synthesis when combined with LGD’s leading-edge research and quality control.
 

sanjiv2

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Very informative
If the hpht proceesed diamonds has no metal thread or its removed then what?
How the labs will detect
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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sanjiv2|1409647896|3743235 said:
Very informative
If the hpht proceesed diamonds has no metal thread or its removed then what?
How the labs will detect
When there is a lot at stake scientists get paid to come up with solutions to identify fakes.
It is the same in all industries. It has been happening in ours for 120 years since the first man made ruby and sapphire.
 
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