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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Synthetic diamonds still a rough cut | synthetic diamond jewelry

synthetic diamond jewelry

The day may come when the diamonds adorning red-carpet celebrities come from a factory in Florida rather than a mine in Liberia, but don't expect a huge paradigm shift just yet.

Synthetic-diamond makers received a boost in January when the Gemological Institute of America--the organization that invented the color, cut, clarity and carat diamond standards 50 years ago--began grading the quality of lab-grown diamonds.

"It gives validity to what investors and manufacturers of gems have been saying for a number of years," said Stephen Lux, CEO of Gemesis Diamond in Sarasota, Fla. "The alternative of lab-grown diamonds is a reality, and these diamonds are a nice value as compared to mined stones, which are becoming scarce."

It takes Gemesis four days to grow a diamond of an average 2.5 carats. The process begins by placing a microscopic diamond grain into a 4,000-pound machine about the size of a kitchen oven. Under hundreds of thousands of pounds of pressure and at temperatures as high as 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit, the nugget grows, one atom at a time. It uses about 20 kilowatt-hours per carat, said Reza Abbaschian, a materials scientist who helped the company develop its process.

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synthetic diamond jewelry