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Value versus price? How do the synthetics really compare to naturals?

headlight

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 2, 2003
Messages
1,537
I think it depends on how you frame 'rare' and where on the line from 'newly discovered' to 'exhausted resource' you are.


Oil is (apparently) a limited resource, but do we call it rare? Not right now.

Likewise, Helium is a limited resource, but do we call it rare and value it highly, retaining as much as we can? No, instead we offload it to the markets at a low price, who then sell it for pennies, allowing it to be wasted on nonsense such as helium balloons that entertain children before the gas escapes from the balloon into the atmosphere, to be lost into space forever :rolleyes:


When the oil runs out (if ever) we can expect people to value it more highly and prices rise.

Likewise, when we are struggling to get together enough Helium to cool the MRI machines that we rely on in medicine and just take for granted right now, we will hopefully value it more highly. :|


Diamonds, though...? Millions of carats per year mined (AIUI), millions of carats still in existence since being mined (and likely to continue existing), prices manipulated upwards historically through restriction of such plentiful supply and monopolisation of the market and control of vendors...

Arguably they are not really that rare when considered with that view ;-) but yes, they may well be a limited resource. Like oil, we don't really know, but as an ultimately unnecessary luxury item of bodily adornment, it doesn't really matter whether they are cheap and plentiful or expensive and rare ;)) :razz:
Point taken, thank you.
I do know that the famous Argyle mine will be depleted very soon, so the highly prized pinks will have to come from another source!
 

Wink

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
May 3, 2001
Messages
7,367
This is one of many reasons I have the utmost respect for you @Wink. This industry would be a lesser place without you. Thank you for being you!

Also, thank you for answering my questions and providing the link to the article. Much appreciated. :cool2:

After your comments, some others mentioned people buying diamonds when they couldn't afford them and that being justification for not offering such a program. I would just say that it depends on the situation.

I have a very close friend that is more like a brother, despite us not having the same blood or parents. We've had one another's backs over the years. His kids call me uncle. We do the majority of weekends, holidays and vacations together. I graduated with his wife and we have all been intertwined in each other's major (and minor) facets of life for quite some time.

Your comments reminded me when I got the call his middle daughter was in the hospital and had to have emergency brain surgery. Life stopped for all involved, and it was a scary week or so. His girl made it just fine, but afterwards him & his wife were faced with massive medical bills. They are frugal, save money and spend wisely. The hard truth is the extent of the bills were beyond their best planning for reasonable circumstances.

My buddy and his wife married young, and he proposed with diamond dust because frankly none of us had a pot to piss in at that time in our lives. So this opportunity was never available to them, but if it were they likely would have exercised it. As it stands, it wiped out most their savings and after fighting to pay it off, they eventually were forced to file medical bankruptcy.

Given their character, this nearly killed them but they would have done the same thing all over again to save their daughter's life.

My point in the ramble, is not every person exercising the option would be unwisely buying diamonds. Sometimes life happens and you are forced to do things you don't want to do, despite your best attempts to be wise and do things right.
Thank you for your kind words Sledge.

I think most of us know someone who has suffered dramatic financial injury over medical costs. I grew up in a medical family with most of my aunts and uncles involved one way or another in medicine. My father was a dentist and my mother was a dental hygienist who traveled the State of Idaho working with the poorest communities to bring them at least a measure of dental care. Forty years ago they were concerned about the future of medicine in this country. I think their worst fears were not nearly as drastic as the reality that has happened.

I have no idea how to solve the problem, only that it does need to be solved. I hope your friends are back on their feet now and that their daughter continues to be well.

Wink

Wink
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Messages
8,687
No they aren't, and they haven't for decades. Even decades ago the stockpile wasn't warehouses full unless you're talking very small warehouses. DeBeers is a public company, along with most of the other big miners. They report their inventories every year. They report their production, they report their sales. For example, worldwide mine production in 2017 was 142 Million carats. Roughly 20% of that is 'gem grade' and roughly half is lost in cutting. That's 14M carats, most of which is melee (little things). When we're talking about diamonds over half a carat it's only 5% of that. It's a few tons. That's the whole world for a whole year. That's still a big pile of diamonds to be sure, but given the global population, it's still relatively rare. The magic is in demand. That's why they cost more than some other gems that are 1000 times more scarce.

Production statistics on synthetics are much more difficult to find. They're private companies and most are overseas in places like China and Indonesia that aren't so public with their data. Current estimates are about 500k carats per year and I can't tell if that means rough or cut. That will, of course, increase, as mines are playing out people are making more machines, but that takes time. Machines wear out and become obsolete. It's a pretty new cycle to give much data. As long as diamonds remain attached to marriage, the comparative rarity of natural diamonds is going up, not down.

 
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Batgirl76

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 7, 2018
Messages
178
Umm, I’ll take the lab grown diamond here over the mined one (Good Old Gold video):

 

distracts

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 11, 2011
Messages
5,131
I agree truly excellent cuts seem to be a bit less common for lab diamonds, but as the price per carat drops this will improve. The lower the price per carat (wholesale/unprocessed) the more they can pursue cut over preservation of size.
You'd think, but it's hardly like they've done that for other lab-created stones.
 

Lessics

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 6, 2019
Messages
194
A quote from another thread abiut the cut quality of MMDs: https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/lgd-man-made-diamonds-are-going-to-change-natural-diamonds-for-the-better.249285/


Garry H (Cut Nut)
Super_Ideal_Rock
Trade

Jun 4, 2019
Man Made Diamonds could change natural diamonds for the better.

Cut Quality


The most profound discovery I made at the 2019 Vegas JCK jewellery trade fair was man made round brilliant cut (RBC) diamonds look better than their natural equivalent. Most larger than 1/3rd of a carat diamonds I saw at several booths had fantastic Ideal-Scope images where-as less that 30% of GIA XXX natural diamonds have acceptable Ideal-Scope images. The worst I saw would have had an HCA score of under 3 and most were near HCA 1.0 with a fair number under 1
 

diamondlover778

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 28, 2019
Messages
6
You'd think, but it's hardly like they've done that for other lab-created stones.
Well in a way it already has happened with lab grown diamonds.

I was referring to the truly exceptionally well-cut diamonds that tend to be natural, because I imagine it costs a good amount to do said cutting and it's a pretty niche thing. 99%+ natural diamonds sold have cuts much worse than this category, and the average natural diamond sold already has a worse cut than the average lab grown diamond. Only a few have truly excellent cuts.

For James Allen:

190,101 natural diamonds
151,384 natural diamonds with ideal cuts
79.6% natural diamonds have ideal cuts

3,249 lab diamonds
3,088 lab diamonds with ideal cuts
95.1% lab diamonds have ideal cuts

As lab grown diamonds continue to drop in price we can expect cut to continue to improve (as anything less than ideal will be not really worth much). That also applies to truly ideal cuts.

There will probably be a market for mere "excellent"/good etc. diamonds but only for severely discounted prices for fashion purposes, or industrial purposes. For jewelry everything will just be ideal, and a large portion of that "super ideal" (or however you want to term the top 1% of natural diamond cuts).
 

Lessics

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 6, 2019
Messages
194
Here is a current (13. Nov) short article on the value of mined vs. synthetic
TLDR: One marketing guy says diamonds value is in the whole package and story not in the stone itself as a commodity - a DeBeers rep then says so diamonds are valuable as they are rare and precious, because of the long process of mining them and then cutting them.

So it really is in the eye of the beholder, if the story, the process behind the diamond is worth it to them. It would be so great if there was scientific evidence that mined diamonds are somehow chemically and structurally superior to lab diamonds on average - because that would probably really matter to the average customer.

This lab diamond is quit ugly one of the worst I have seen. I don't think it very ethical to sell this lab diamond to a consumer especially at that price.
and I do see the graining even in the video not only on the macro shot.

But to be fair there are ugly mined diamonds as well!
 
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