Category Archives: MAN MADE DIAMONDS

World’s largest diamond miner De Beers will now be selling synthetic stones

Anglo American’s De Beers shocked the diamond market on Tuesday by announcing it will start selling jewellery containing man-made stones rather than precious rocks recovered from the ground, for the first time in its 130-year history.

The pivotal swing for the world’s No.1 diamond producer, which vowed never to sell synthetic stones, will begin in the US in September. There, the lab-made gems will be marketed through Lightbox, the company’s new fashion jewellery brand, which will sell them for a fraction of the price of real rocks.

Chief executive Bruce Cleaver explained the reasons for the U-turn by saying it would allow De Beers to offer what consumers have told the company they want, but aren’t getting: “affordable fashion jewellery that may not be forever, but is perfect for right now.”

“We see an opportunity that’s been missed,” Cleaver said.

The strategy will create an even greater price gap between mined and lab diamonds. Currently a 1-carat synthetic sells for roughly $4,000, about half the price of a natural diamond. De Beers new lab gems will sell for around $800 a carat.The strategy will create an even greater price gap between mined and lab diamonds, pressuring rivals that specialize in synthesized stones. A 1-carat man-made diamond sells for roughly $4,000 and a similar natural diamond fetches about $8,000. De Beers new lab diamonds will sell for around $800 a carat.

Diamond Producers Association’s chief executive, Jean-Marc Lieberherr, welcomed the news as it expects it to set a new standard in the disclosure and marketing of synthetic diamonds. “The DPA has always been clear that more fair and transparent practices need to be adopted by synthetic diamond producers,” he told MINING.com in an emailed statement.

Lieberherr added the association was confident that De Beers’ move would benefit consumers and bring much needed clarity to the synthetic diamonds market.

The Anglo American’s unit has stepped up efforts in recent months to lead the industry quest for a way to verify the authenticity of diamonds and ensure they are not from conflict zones where gems may be used to finance violence & or terrorism.

A subsidiary of De Beers Group, Lightbox will be the only jewellery brand to source lab-grown diamonds from the company’s Element Six business, a world leader in lab-grown diamond technology for more than 50 years. That unit has been producing synthetic diamonds for drill bits in the oil and gas industry, but this is the first time that De Beers will actually sell them to the end-users.

Any Lightbox lab-grown diamonds of 0.2 carats or above will carry a permanent laser-inscribed Lightbox logo inside the stone. Invisible to the naked eye, but easily identified under magnification, the logo will clearly ID the diamond as lab-grown and also serve as a mark of quality and assurance that it was produced by Element Six.

This latest laser-etching technology, developed by Oxford University spin-out Opsydia, can make etched marks only one-fiftieth the size of a human hair, the academics involved said in a separate statement.

Synthetic diamonds have the same physical and chemical features as mined stones. They’re made from a carbon seed placed in a microwave chamber and superheated into a glowing plasma ball. The process creates particles that can eventually crystallize into diamonds in only 2.5 months. The technology is so advanced that experts need a machine to distinguish between lab-made diamonds and mined gems.

Each diamond will be laser-inscribed internally with the Lightbox logo to assure shoppers it is part of the official range. The laser-etching technology has been developed by an Oxford University spin-off

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Henry Sapiecha

Now There Are Near-Perfect Copies of the Hope Diamond

Scientists created cubic zirconia replicas of the historic gem’s previous forms—the original brought from India and the famous “French Blue”

The Hope Diamond that famously resides at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. has long been known for its inimitable color—a deep, steely blue, shifting ever-so-slightly in the light. It’s a hue that replica makers have tried and failed to copy; curator Jeffrey Post says the color attempt is always “garishly awful,” an aquamarine blue or a sickly “Windex blue.”

The true color is a trick of the light, thanks in part to the gemstone’s unique blue color and cut. It hasn’t always looked this way, either. When Jean Baptiste Tavernier first sold the original 112-carat diamond from India to King Louis XIV in 1668, it was crudely cut and a lighter color. Tavernier called it “un beau violet” (a beautiful violet). It would become bluer and darker as the gem passed through different hands, both French and American, and was recut twice more.

For the first time, scientists have created near-perfect cubic zirconia replicas of the diamond in its previous forms: the original brought from India, King Louis XIV’s “French Blue” and the current version encased in a Cartier pendant. It’s a project that’s taken a decade to perfect, involving cross-Atlantic collaborations between the Smithsonian, the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris and the gem-cutter John Hatleberg.

“We’ve been able to use a modern technology to bring back from history a diamond that no one has seen since 1792,” said Post at an October press conference. “We are actually putting ourselves back in the eyes of King Louis XIV and seeing what he saw.”

When the famous blue diamond first joined Louis XIV’s crown jewels in 1668, it was a lot bigger and flatter than it was today. It was cut in the Mughal style, with a large, flat base and top to match. Because there weren’t as many facets—the small flat faces on a crystal surface—to reflect light internally, it was a much lighter blue. “It’s like looking through a window,” Post said, holding the replica up to a lamp.

 
A computer simulation of how the Hope Diamond likely appeared when it was owned by King Louis XIV of France. (Image by François Farges)

The gem became much darker and smaller once the court jeweler got his hands on it. It was cut with more facits and shrunk to 69 carats. It was then that it became known as the “French Blue,” said François Farges of the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, and it perfectly matched Louis XIV’s sensibility.

“Think of the garden at the Castle of Versailles with the straight lines, perfectly well-arranged symmetry, good angles,” Farges said. “It is the same inspiration you have in the French Blue.”

It was cut precisely but unusually, with a small eye in the middle that let light pass clear through. This was done intentionally, as Farges and Post proposed in a 2014 paper. According to the crown jewels inventory, the diamond was set into gold and mounted on a stick. Farges found that, when placed in a gold setting via a computer model, the center of the diamond would look like a golden sun—the symbol of Louis XIV, “the sun king.” It’s even more impressive, Farges said, if you consider that the blue of the diamond and the gold of the sun represented the French monarchy.

Now, Post could hold up a replica of the French Blue placed in a facsimile of its gold setting and show the faint golden sun-like shape in the middle. Farges said that historical records suggest Louis XIV would have pulled the jewel from a gold chest and proudly displayed the stick for important visitors; it was meant to be observed, not worn.

“The big message was that France was so rich that they could use all those diamonds at any time to build a huge army in case the country would be invaded,” Farges said. “It was really a political instrument just to serve the glory of the king against the foreign kingdoms.”

All of these details about the diamond’s journey, color, faceting and use wouldn’t have been discovered without historical records like Tavierner’s drawings in his journal and those Farges has studied at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle.

Farges said he stumbled upon one of the most important records about the diamond by accident. He was looking through the drawers of diamonds in the national gem collection and found a lead cast. He was puzzled by its shape, which didn’t resemble any type of diamond he had seen before, so he spent the night doing research. To his surprise, he found that it was the lead cast for the French Blue.

“I came to the conclusion that it was the only replica, the only historical replica known to date of a French blue diamond, that we thought was completely lost. It’s not totally lost,” Farges said. “For the first time, we had the model in 3D that was perfectly accurate, with all of the facetings.”

Before creating the older versions of the diamond, Hatleberg set out to make a replica of the current version of the Hope. Almost 30 years ago, Post took the Hope out of its pendant setting and gave it to Hatleberg so he could make a silicone mold and then a resin epoxy cast. From there, he cut cubic zirconia to match the cast, and then brought several of the copies to a company in Minnesota to add the coloring.

To replicate the color, the company used a method called precious metal nanodot vapor deposition. They take a colorless stone and thinly coat it with metal atoms, making tiny adjustments to ever-so-slightly tweak the color. This technology wasn’t available even five years ago, Hatleberg said.

Hatleberg would then come to Post and Farges with copies coated with different colors. “We’d go, ‘A little too dark, too light, too green, too blue, too purple,’” Post said. “And after literally years of doing that, dozens of trips back and forth, we finally ended up with a stone that all of us here, all of us who know the Hope Diamond, looked at and said, ‘We can’t tell the difference.’”

The replica might look exactly the same as the original Hope Diamond, but aspiring jewel thieves or counterfeiters, beware; there’s no way that you could slip a fake past an expert. Under an ultraviolet light in a dark room, the Hope Diamond phosphoresces, Post says, glowing orange for about a minute or so. He can use a spectrometer to measure the light spectrum, which differs from diamond to diamond like a fingerprint, he says.

It’s unclear when visitors will be able to look at the replicas in real life, but Post says he hopes the stones will be on display at the Natural History Museum within the next year or two. There will also be a set of replicas that travel around the country out on loan, and a set for the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle.

In the meantime, Post said, he hopes to study the Hope’s history even further with Hatleberg and Farges. “It’s such an interesting diamond, both scientifically and historically,” Post said. “We know we’re going to keep learning from it. We’ve only begun to learn all of its secrets.”

Henry Sapiecha

Diamond Services reports a lowering threshold for synthetic diamonds, as man-made stones as small as 0.0025 cts. discovered in New York

Barely visible on the electronic scale, these tiny single-cut diamonds were discovered by Diamond Services to be laboratory grown.

HONG KONG: JULY 11, 2017 – Multiple single-cut diamonds, sized from a quarter point to half a point (0.0025-0.005 carats), which were contained in jewellery recently submitted for testing to a Diamond Services laboratory, have been found to be synthetic, greatly expanding the range of goods that can be considered at risk of improper and deceptive disclosure.

The jewellery in question was originally submitted to Diamond Services’ laboratory in New York, and after several stones were detected as being potentially laboratory grown. Due to their size, the owner agreed that 11 of them set in eight rings, ranging in size from 0.0025 carats to 0.005 carats, could be removed and sent for full analysis at Diamond Services’ facility in Hong Kong. There they were examined once again with Diamond Services’ award-winning DiamaTest system, which ratified that the diamonds were synthetic, and these findings were confirmed by examination with the DiamondView system of De Beers’ International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR) and Diamond Services Mini Raman Spectrometer.

Usually restricted to smaller-sized stones, single-cut diamonds typically have 17 or 18 facets, and some as few as 16, compared to the standard brilliant round cuts, which are made up of the 57 or 58 facets. Most round stones are first polished as single cuts, and then the additional facets are added. But when small stones are concerned, they are left as single cuts.

“To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time that a synthetic single-cut stone has been detected mounted in jewelry, and it is a credit to our Diamond Services procedures and set of equipment,” said Jospeh Kuzi, Diamond Services founder and managing director. “What this means is that almost no diamond can be taken at face value.”

The source of the single-cut synthetics is not immediately apparent, but Kuzi noted that the growing availability of CVD man-made diamond may prove to be a factor. “CVD is being widely in areas outside the diamond industry, and now includes diamond wafers being gown in laboratories for use in the electronics industry. It could be that waste from these labs and factories end up being processed as very small single-cut diamonds for jewellery,” he said.

Diamonds submitted for synthetic screening at Diamond Services facilities are tested using several systems, including the DiamaTest and Mini Raman Spectrometer, both of which was developed by the company. The latter is the only system currently available that can definitely test rough and polished diamonds, both mounted and un-mounted, without the need to refer them for further testing, accurately detecting whether they are HPHT or CVD lab-grown synthetics within seconds.

Diamond Services, which was established in 2012 in Hong Kong, specializes in development of synthetic diamond detection devices. In 2013 it first introduced the DiamaPen®, a hand-held laser device that is able to detect fancy colour synthetic diamonds. In 2014 it introduced DiamaTest®, an innovative system that screens both loose and colourless diamonds for synthetics, for which it won the prestigious JNA 2014 Award. The Mini Raman Spectrometer was introduced to the market in 2015.

Diamond Services synthetic screening services are currently available at the company’s headquarters in Hong Kong (19F Shing Lee Comm. Bldg., 8 Wing Kut St., Central, Hong Kong, tel: +1-852-2536-4555); and in the United States (15W, 47th St., Suite #1404, New York City, tel: +1-844-842-8122).

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Henry Sapiecha

Synthetic diamonds can be used in MRI scan to detect early stage cancers

clear rbc white diamond image www.worldwidediamonds.info

Synthetic diamonds can be used in MRI scan

Diamonds are considered as one of nature’s most beautiful inventions, but a new study published in the journal Nature Communications reveals these precious gems they are much more valuable than that, able to help detect early stage cancer.

An Australian research team led by Ewa Rej from University of Sydney discovered a method to use synthetic diamonds in MRI scans to identify cancerous tumours before they become life-threatening. “By attaching hyperpolarized diamonds to molecules targeting cancers the technique can allow tracking of the molecules’ movement in the body,” explained Rej.

Researchers already knew nano-diamonds hold non-toxic properties allowing them to deliver drugs during chemotherapy treatments, and decided to focus on hyperpolarizing the small stones so their signal is detectable by an MRI scanner.

“We thought we could build on these non-toxic properties realising that diamonds have magnetic characteristics enabling them to act as beacons in MRIs,” commented David Reilly from the university in an interview to the Business Standard.

MORE HERE >> www.newcures.info

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Henry Sapiecha

Several diamond miners form group to fight synthetics

seven-diamond-miners-form-group-to-fight-synthetics image www.worldwidediamonds.info

Russia’s Alrosa, Anglo American’s De Beers, Rio Tinto, Lucara, Dominion, Petra and Gem Diamonds are joining forces to market their gems and counter threats such as the expansion of synthetic stones.

The group, called the Diamond Producers Association (DPA), will promote diamonds as a luxury item for high-end consumers and highlight the attraction of natural diamonds amid concerns that some consumers may soon begin favouring cheaper synthetic rocks.

The association, which counts with a $6 million yearly budget, claims to be “the first-ever international representative organization to be formed by some of the leading diamond producers,” DPA said in an e-mailed statement.

The freshly formed entity will step into a role once filled by De Beers, which at one point controlled over 80% of the world’s mined diamonds

The freshly formed entity will step into a role once filled by De Beers, which at one point controlled over 80% of the world’s mined diamonds and pioneered the use of diamonds in engagement rings.

Synthetics challenge

Industry sources believe DPA’s key challenges will be to curb entry of undisclosed man-made diamonds into the market. But for diamond analyst, Paul Zimnisky, such task won’t be a challenging one. At least for now:

“The pricing of synthetics is not yet attractive enough to convert the indifferent customer, nor is the product accessible enough for the unwilling e-shopper,” he wrote earlier this month. “Until there is at least one display case devoted to synthetics in the national jewellery chains and department stores, synthetics’ reach may be limited to being just that of a specialty item.”

In the past year, prices for rough diamonds have fallen 13%, affecting miners everywhere and putting extra pressure on the industry’s so-called midstream segment — the companies in China, India, Belgium and elsewhere that buy diamonds from mine operators, then cut and polish the gems for use in jewellery.

De Beers, which is still the world’s leading diamond producer and mines in southern Africa and Canada, failed to sell 30% of the rough diamonds at its March sale. Last month it cut its 2015 output target to 30 million to 32 million carats, from as much as 34 million carats.

South Africa-focused Petra Diamonds (LON:PDL) said in April that sales in the first three months of 2015 dropped 41%, to $96.1 million. The firm attributed the decline in part to problems that wholesalers are having getting credit to purchase rough diamonds

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Henry Sapiecha

HARDEST MAN MADE DIAMONDS EVER MADE NOW REVEALED IN CHINA

hardest-synthetic-diamond-ever-made-image www.worldwidediamonds.info

Chinese researchers from Yanshan University have created a synthetic diamond harder than its natural counterpart and able to withstand even hotter temperatures.

The team, led by Yongjun Tian, say the new form of diamond could be used to make superior cutting or crushing tools, capable of operate under very extreme conditions.

The resulting diamond has an extremely high hardness of around 200GPa and is stable at temperatures up to nearly 1000°C – 200°C higher than natural diamond.

The group made the diamond by heating carbon onions —concentric fullerene spheres nested within one another— at 2000°C and 25GPa, hundreds of thousands of times the pressure of Earth’s atmosphere. The resulting diamond has an extremely high hardness of around 200GPa and is stable at temperatures up to nearly 1000°C – 200°C higher than natural diamond.

“The scientific community has dreamt of synthesising novel materials harder than natural diamond for decades,” says Tian in an article published this week in the journal Nature.

The usual approach, he adds, is to try and create smaller and smaller grains within the material’s microstructure.

Because of its superior features, the synthetic diamond diamond can be use to manufacture industrial tools or scientific instruments —such as diamond anvil cells— that work at high temperatures.

The team is currently working on reducing the pressure needed to make each diamond by using finer carbon onions, so that they can be more easily manufactured.

Henry Sapiecha

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