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Diamond Age Coming Soon 404

Posted by michael
from the cheaper-than-glass dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "In 'The many facets of man-made diamonds,' Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) writes that synthetic diamonds are getting bigger and cheaper. An example: for Valentine's Day, you can buy a yellow colored man-made diamond, visibly indistinguishable from a natural one, for $4,000 per carat. This is a 30% discount when compared with a natural diamond. This very long article also says that if synthetic diamond makers are targeting the jewelry market first, these new products will have an impact on many other industries. Not only is it now possible to grow bigger diamonds, you also can choose their color. 'Colored diamonds, which are valuable and very rare, can be created by introducing carefully controlled elemental impurities into the stone,' says C&EN. For instance, nitrogen produces a yellow stone. Infusing boron into the growing diamond produces a blue gem. This overview contains some details, references and photos of men-made diamonds, but read the original article for even more technical explanations if you have the time."
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Diamond Age Coming Soon

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 14, 2004 @06:50PM (#8282244)
    The price would be a lot lower anyway. They've got tons of em, they just let out a select portion each year.
    • by AoT (107216) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @06:52PM (#8282263) Homepage Journal
      wow, and insightful first post.
      and you are so right. A few wars might stop as well if the price wasn't so artificially inflated.
      • by 88NoSoup4U88 (721233) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:08PM (#8282369) Homepage
        Or we could also save $4000 by not paying such a ridicilous ammount for a crystalline form of carbon.
        • Typical Slashdot comment.

          The rest of us, who actually want a wife and kids..
      • DeBeers (Score:5, Funny)

        by t0ny (590331) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @08:27PM (#8282856)
        Cool. I can see the headlines now:

        Scientists to DeBeers: FUCK YOU!!!

        • Re:DeBeers (Score:5, Informative)

          by dnoyeb (547705) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @09:56PM (#8283288) Homepage Journal
          Please. DeBeers to scientist. Pow!

          They had synthetic diamonds for years (i mean the top quality ones too). Scientific purposes required them and have been using them. Its like Linux, we cant afford yours so well roll our own.

          DeBeers is essentially trying to get the governments to forceibly label them as synthetic because otherwise no one can tell the difference.

          Diamonds are a racket. I will never buy *another* one. What can I say? This logic stuff don't work to well on women :-)
    • by km790816 (78280) <wqhq3gx02NO@SPAMsneakemail.com> on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:01PM (#8282324)
      Wired had a great article about this in September: The New Diamond Age [wired.com]

      The diamond industry is scared. It's interesting.

      (Check out the cover [wired.com] from this issue...Damn!)
      • by dubiousmike (558126) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:43PM (#8282559) Homepage Journal
        I read this article when it was in the magazine and distictly remember the owner of one of the synthetic diamond startups say that it cost him dollars per carat to create one.

        He got the machines from Russia.

        I'll be damned that now, at least according to the initial listing on /., that the price per carat is now $4k?!?!?

        They are all greedy pigs.

        Folks, next time you need to buy diamonds, buy from each other. I don't believe for a second that the "new" diamonds you buy in stores are often used ones anyway. We all have realatives who are passing on who's diamonds can be sold to one another.

        There is room for a business that independantly verifies quality and clarity when you are buying it not in person...
        • the owner of one of the synthetic diamond startups say that it cost him dollars per carat to create one. [...] I'll be damned that now, at least according to the initial listing on /., that the price per carat is now $4k?!?!?

          They are all greedy pigs.

          Right, because researching and developing the technology was free, so they shouldn't have to add anything to the cost because of it.

          By the same logic, all microprocessors should cost pennies, because silicon is cheap and plentiful.

        • by phatsharpie (674132) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @11:00PM (#8283594)
          Below is the exact quote from the Wired article with regards to dollars per carat:

          "But the greatest potential for CVD diamond lies in computing. If diamond is ever to be a practical material for semiconducting, it will need to be affordably grown in large wafers. (The silicon wafers Intel uses, for example, are 1 foot in diameter.) CVD growth is limited only by the size of the seed placed in the Apollo machine. Starting with a square, waferlike fragment, the Linares process will grow the diamond into a prismatic shape, with the top slightly wider than the base. For the past seven years - since Robert Linares first discovered the sweet spot - Apollo has been growing increasingly larger seeds by chopping off the top layer of growth and using that as the starting point for the next batch. At the moment, the company is producing 10-millimeter wafers but predicts it will reach an inch square by year's end and 4 inches in five years. The price per carat: about $5."

          It sounds like ultimately it will only cost $5 per carat to produce these diamonds. However, this is a price on CVD diamonds, which is still a very new process, so it likely would take time to drive the cost down. Furthermore, the price quoted above may only be achievable if diamonds are used in semiconductors, thus driving demands up and prices down. Presently, diamonds are used mainly in jewelry (ignoring industrial usages, which cares less about carats), which supports higher prices. Besides, if a man-made diamond used in jewelry is priced too low, it may even drive potential buyers away. It's the monetary value that drive up demand in jewelry, so if the price is set too low, the demand might actually diminish... Strange, I know.

          -B
      • by Linuxathome (242573) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:54PM (#8282615) Homepage Journal
        The interesting point about that Wired article is that the owner of one of the companies is not really interested in making money in diamonds via selling it as jewelry. Rather, he may be selling some as jewelry to bankroll more research in developing diamonds that are large enough to supplant silicon in creating new types of computer processors. The semiconductor business is where the money's at. In fact, that's how he originally made his fortune, as an engineer in Silicon Valley developing chips. When he dropped everything and pursued diamonds, many thought he was a kook. Both heads of the companies fear for their lives, I'd imagine, and rightly so -- you don't know how ruthless DeBeers can be.
      • by Tony.Tang (164961) <slashdot@NosPAm.sleek.hn.org> on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:56PM (#8282636) Homepage Journal
        (Check out the cover [wired.com] from this issue...Damn!)

        Hey! Those are fake! (diamonds)

    • by RT Alec (608475) * <alec&slashdot,chuckle,com> on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:03PM (#8282343) Homepage Journal

      Old article [theatlantic.com], from 1982, but quite revealing (I think there was a posting on this to Slashdot a few years back).

      The diamond trade is not only a carefuly controlled monopoly, but the whole idea of diamonds being "rare" and "valuable" is a carefuly crafted (over almost 100 years) con on (mainly) Americans.

      • by Tassach (137772) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:08PM (#8282372)
        Very true. Prior to the 20th century, white diamonds were not nearly as highly prized as colored gemstones.
      • by shubert1966 (739403) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:34PM (#8282512) Journal

        Here's something: Literally give your significant other the sun . . . A white dwarf diamond that is!

        Scientists from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the University of Cambridge, and UFSC Brazil have identified in the constellation Centaurus what is likely to be the fate of our own sun. With a rhythmically harmonious core and a 'suface' of hydrogen and helium this carbon-predominant cellestial body is known as BPM 37093. It is the largest diamond ever indentified [harvard.edu] in the wild at Twenty-five hundred miles across and weighing 5 million trillion trillion pounds!". Artistic Representainions and Videos are available here [harvard.edu].

        The Catto Diamond
        A businessman boarded a plane to find, sitting next to him, an elegant woman wearing the largest, most stunning diamond ring he had ever seen.
        He asked her about it.
        "This is the Catto diamond," she said. "It is beautiful, but there is a terrible curse that goes with it."
        "Oh - what's the curse?" the man asked.

        "Mr. Catto."
      • by RussP (247375) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @10:17PM (#8283384) Homepage
        Ya, and the biggest marketing scam of all is the notion that you don't love your wife if you don't send a suitcase full of money to some billionaire in South Africa. What a farce.
    • by jmaatta (550428) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:05PM (#8282357)
      Open Source diamonds! Yay!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      FYI:

      If you were to talk to your grandparents parents or grandparents, they would have no concept of giving a diamond to someone. For a very long time saphires were the wedding stone of choice, but DeBeers has crafted quite an amazing artificial scarcity, monopoly and hugely successful marketing campaign that just proves that people are f***ing stupid, period.
  • Perhaps... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Oen_Seneg (673357) * on Saturday February 14, 2004 @06:50PM (#8282247)
    They're also sending hundreds people here [harvard.edu] to mine the diamonds for them.
  • by Valiss (463641) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @06:51PM (#8282253) Homepage
    ...that I can't even afford the knock-off diamonds on this V-day, you insensitive clod!

  • huh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by andih8u (639841) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @06:52PM (#8282261)
    $4,000 a karat sounds a bit higher than a natural diamond.

    "Look...I got you this overpriced diamond...and its all nice and yellow"
    • Re:huh? (Score:5, Informative)

      by wmt (670536) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @06:58PM (#8282309)
      A very high quality one carat diamond can easily run upwards of $10,000. Try pricing one on bluenile.com.
    • Re:huh? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Ralph Wiggam (22354) * on Saturday February 14, 2004 @06:59PM (#8282316) Homepage
      Diamonds are graded on color. A is the clearest and the more yellow pigment there is the farther into the alphabet the color grade. The price falls significantly as you move down the scale. Then you get all the way to Z+ which becomes "fancy yellow" and then the price goes WAY up. The yellow is caused by nitrogen impurities. The diamond manufacturing people can make a lot more per carat if they intentionally put nitrogen into their diamonds.

      -B
      • Re:huh? (Score:5, Informative)

        by wildsurf (535389) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:21PM (#8282439) Homepage
        Diamonds are graded on color. A is the clearest

        Actually, in the current standard of grading, D is the clearest. This originally came about because of "grade inflation" of diamonds, when it became common practice to label stones as AAA, A+++, and the like. (Similar to eBay auction feedback.)

        So, the new standard began with D to avoid any confusion. In practice, no visible difference in color is apparent until you get into H, I, J color diamonds, at least in my limited experience.
  • no dice (Score:5, Funny)

    by maxbang (598632) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @06:52PM (#8282262) Journal

    The next girl who fakes an orgasm with me will get one of these. Then we'll see who's a fat jobless loser.

    • Re:no dice (Score:4, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:26PM (#8282468)
      "The next girl who fakes an orgasm with me will get one of these. Then we'll see who's a fat jobless loser."

      So, are you telling us that you are a fat, jobless, loser that can't satisfy women, and afterwards buys the unsatisfied woman an impure diamond.

      Am I missing something here?
  • Possible regulation? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by glpierce (731733) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @06:53PM (#8282273) Homepage
    The diamond industry (mining, cutting, and selling) is quite large. Is it possible they can convince governments to regulate the man-made ones, and have them somehow marked to allow people to note the difference? It may seem a bit out-there, but there's a lot of money at stake for a lot of people.
    • I find that it will be hard for a bunch of people who's primary interest in diamonds as bobbles being able to influence governments to regulate the industry. Especially since they have been getting occasional bad press due to associations with instabilities in Africa, for example.

      There is alot of money at stake, but it is not for alot of people. Diamonds are a relatively small industry and they might be able to market them based on differentiation and authenticity, but I doubt that would really keep peo

    • by Chester K (145560) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:07PM (#8282365) Homepage
      The diamond industry (mining, cutting, and selling) is quite large. Is it possible they can convince governments to regulate the man-made ones, and have them somehow marked to allow people to note the difference? It may seem a bit out-there, but there's a lot of money at stake for a lot of people.

      You can bet that DeBeers will fight until the bitter end to preserve their diamond monopoly.

      Let's hope they lose.
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:09PM (#8282376)
      It's in electronics. Diamonds have plenty of intersiting properites that make them highly desirable for semiconducter applications, as well as heatsinks. See this article for some info [eetimes.com]. There's a problem, though, real diamonds simply don't come large enough, pure enough, and in the right kinds to make this practical on anything but a small scale. This will not be a problem with synthetics, they can cook up whatever kind they like, and Apollo at least makes them very, very pure. That's where the real money will be at. As big as jewelry is, it pales in comparison to eveltonics, espically given that we will eventually hit the limit of what silicon is capable of. The synthetic makers are basically just using jewelry as a means to an end, to finance their bussiness to get them to the state where they can start mass producing for other uses.
    • Diamond branding (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DigiShaman (671371)
      I hear the DeBeers uses a laser to etch their own logo on diamonds. I'm sure the logo is really small, but this is done to authenticate the real thing. So even if fake diamonds are cheaper and better, DeBeers will still sell their own "natural" rocks based purely on marketing.

      And with synthetics, you can't use their logo or it would be trademark infringement.
      • Coke and Pepsi (Score:3, Interesting)

        by tepples (727027)

        DeBeers will still sell their own "natural" rocks based purely on marketing.

        Likewise, Coca-Cola had a monopoly on cola soft drinks until Pepsi and RC came around. Some people will always prefer De Beers's conflict diamonds, but others will prefer Apollo brand cultured products, and competition will drive prices down until the bottom falls out of the market in 2023 when Apollo's patents run out.

      • Re:Diamond branding (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mekkab (133181) *
        They only use laser etching on the really perfect ones for identification purposes. The ones with lots of inclusions are, for the most part, unique (like finger prints) and can easily be matched to their cert.

        And unless things have changed since I've been diamond shopping, they're just an Identification number. But given the IP/Trademark lawsuits I've seen on the net, I wouldn't be surprised if DeBeers had a "method for imprinting an identification code on a diamond" patent! ;)
    • by kfg (145172)
      No. The diamond industry is very tightly locked into only small number of countries.

      So every other country actually benefits financially by participating in the synthetics market.

      Check into the history of porcelain. Same deal.

      KFG
    • by Pakaran2 (138209) <windrunner&gmail,com> on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:33PM (#8282504)
      Yeah, they won't let them call the artifical ones LinDiamonds (tm) :)
    • The diamond industry (mining, cutting, and selling) is quite large. Is it possible they can convince governments to regulate the man-made ones, and have them somehow marked to allow people to note the difference?

      The synthetic diamond manufacturers have already agreed in principle to mark their diamonds. The one firm will engrave some acronym (what, I've forgotten), and the other is in discussions as to what to engrave.

      But this idea you have that an industry would lobby government to prevent what's essent
    • Perhaps, but not if Intel, IBM, Microsoft, Siemens, Fujitsu, Toshiba, and the rest of the world's IT companies decide that cheap manufactured diamond wafers are in their best commercial interest. DeBeers is powerful, but I doubt they can take on the world IT industry.
  • dupe? (Score:3, Funny)

    by SHEENmaster (581283) <travis@utk . e du> on Saturday February 14, 2004 @06:54PM (#8282277) Homepage Journal
    Aparently I'm not the only one that can't afford a knock-off diamond.
  • Machine shop changes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jhines (82154) <john@jhines.org> on Saturday February 14, 2004 @06:54PM (#8282284) Homepage
    I visited a friend's workplace last week, a machine shop.

    He said that diamond tooling has made a big change in his workplace, allowing heat treated steel to be machined rather than ground.
  • by incuso (747340) <incuso@NosPAM.gmail.com> on Saturday February 14, 2004 @06:55PM (#8282288)
    Hey, thankyou for pointing me to this.

    I understand it is time to sell my bag of diamonds before they still have some value :)

    M.

    --

  • by Lobsang (255003) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @06:55PM (#8282289) Homepage
    That would save me some bucks this Valentine's Day...
  • by instantkarma1 (234104) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @06:58PM (#8282308)
    Way to go, slashdot! This is just what the few geeks who actually have significant others want to hear...ON VALENTINE'S DAY AFTERNOON!!!!!

    Perhaps last week or before would have served us a bit better, eh?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:00PM (#8282320)
    "visibly indistinguishable from a natural one"..suuure buddy, let me introduce you to a new and sofisticated tool for certifying the authenticity of a diamond, the girlfriend. Somehow they always know...damn it
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:05PM (#8282356)
      are likely mined in poor Africian countries with DeBeer's cartel has control of the government and will turn the other way when that government forces children into the state militias. Many of the natural diamonds floating around the market were born out of murder.
      • by m0nkyman (7101) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @10:00PM (#8283303) Homepage Journal
        Your post would have been valid seven years ago.

        Kimberly Process. [kimberleyprocess.com] It is being taken very seriously in the trade, and for very selfish reasons, as well as ethical ones. The idea of children with their legs cut off does not sell diamonds. The diamond industry has made every effort to sort it out. Compare our attitude to that of the clothing industry while they continue to use third world slave labour.
        • The fact remains that DeBeers has diamonds in their posession which are old enough to have been "produced" (made salable) with real live honest to god slave labor. Furthermore, since they control such a significant portion of the trade, supporting them is supporting a company whose success was founded on slavery.

          Of course, Krups made gas chambers for the third reich, but they still make a badass espresso machine; GE's weaponry has killed more men than measles. Most sizable corporations which have been aro

  • by Teddy Beartuzzi (727169) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:02PM (#8282335) Journal
    Tommy: What's got him creased?
    Kev: It's a diamond
    Tommy: The fuckin' thing's brown.
    Paul: It's called champagne; it's a trend
    Tommy: Oh right, they were calling it "piss", but they weren't moving any units
  • a morbid turn (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pytheron (443963) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:06PM (#8282362) Homepage
    Trust us Brits to come up with this [guardian.co.uk] - we had a news article on TV a while back about getting the ashes of your cremated loved ones turned into yellow diamonds ! The coloration comes from the nitrogen content of the ashes apparently.
    • Re:a morbid turn (Score:3, Informative)

      by core plexus (599119)
      Might want to RTFA that you linked to: "British customers are flocking to an American company which has developed the technology to turn human remains into diamonds." Sorry, the Brits did not come up with this.

      -cp-

  • by b17bmbr (608864) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:07PM (#8282366)
    isn't that offensive? perhaps they prefer to be called diamonds of color?
  • by ReadbackMonkey (92198) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:17PM (#8282415)
    My boss has been diamonds sythethically between his ass cheeks for years.
  • *YAWN* (Score:5, Informative)

    by m0nkyman (7101) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:18PM (#8282419) Homepage Journal
    1952 was the year that man made diamonds made their debut. Despite all the innacurate blather from Wired, we can still tell man made from natural diamond.Spectroscopic examination of Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD) created diamonds, which is the method Apollo uses, or the classic High Pressure/High temperature (HPHT) method, both have characteristic absorption spectra. Furthermore, there are some clues to be had with less esoteric equipment. CVD diamonds have a chararacteristic strain pattern in the crystal structure that is discernable. HPHT diamonds are more identifiable, as the gemmologist community has had more time to examine them... decades.

    Man made emeralds and rubies have been made for decades, and in many cases are superior. Chatham offers a life time warranty on their emeralds for example. It hasn't destroyed the price of emeralds, as there are enough people who want the real thing, much like many people can paint a repica of the Mona Lisa, down to the brush strokes, but the real thing is still more expensive.

    The real problem as far as the jewellery industry is concerned is that unscrupulous people try and sell these as real, and less knowledgeable jewellers pass them on to consumers. I have no problems selling man made stones as man made stones, but disclosure is the important part. I expect that this might even drive the price of diamonds that are certified as natural up, due to the difficulty but not impossibility of identification.

    p.s. To those people who think that diamonds are overpriced due to DeBeers, why is it that now that DeBeers no longer controls the industry (less than half of worldwide production now goes through DeBeers), why have prices stayed stable? Could it be that the price of mining and cutting is reflected in the price of diamonds, and that the pricing actually is correct?

    • Won't last (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DumbSwede (521261) <slashdotbin@hotmail.com> on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:53PM (#8282610) Journal
      So where is all the high value aluminum trinkets not obtained through bauxite processing? Aluminum use to be a precious metal, and now it isn't. I'm sure naturally occurring aluminum has some crystalline properties that processed aluminum doesn't, and yet there is no market for "natural aluminum".

      The resorting of finding ways to distinguish crystalline properties, is just a stalling tactic on the part of the diamond industry. I doubt the public cares about minute differences in the crystalline structure if all other properties are identical (which is not the case for say cubic-zirconium).

      Should the public care, then eventually technology will find a way to make the diamonds the same on even this level. More likely synthetic diamonds will exceed natural diamonds in purity and regularity of structure. The diamond cartel will try to convince the public (unsuccessfully) that they want inferior natural diamonds, and the whole thing will collapse.

      For a while the two may exist side by side, much like the cultured pearl industry and natural pearls, but it will have a depressive effect on the price of natural diamonds.

      The writing is on the wall my friend.

      • Re:Won't last (Score:4, Informative)

        by Graff (532189) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @09:49PM (#8283254)
        So where is all the high value aluminum trinkets not obtained through bauxite processing? Aluminum use to be a precious metal, and now it isn't. I'm sure naturally occurring aluminum has some crystalline properties that processed aluminum doesn't, and yet there is no market for "natural aluminum".

        Well there is the most famous one of them all, the cap to the Washington Monument. [tms.org] That aluminum was produced from the mineral corundum [main.nc.us] - a form of aluminum oxide. Corundum is the base mineral that rubies and sapphires are formed out of, chemical impurities in the aluminum oxide form the characteristic red and blue coloration.

        Pure aluminum is pretty much never found free in nature. This is because aluminum, like most metals, is reactive enough to have combined with oxygen. There are many forms of aluminum oxide, you can read more about it here. [uwaterloo.ca]

    • Re:*YAWN* (Score:3, Interesting)

      by geekoid (135745)
      emeralds are 19 times rarer the diamonds.
      Why are the cheaper?
      could DeBeers and others be in collusion?
    • Re:*YAWN* (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sleeper (7713) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @09:25PM (#8283153)

      your skepticism is admirable however substantially missinformed.

      let's start from the bottom of your post. quick trip to a google site will tell you that DeBeers controlls currently roughly 60% of the diamond market (it's not 85% as it used to be, but still substantial chunk) with Russia slowly gaining on them with 23% current share (btw. it took decades to Soviet Union and then Russa that mines their diamonds in Yakutia to get that much share of the trade) but still majority of Russain (Yakutian) diamonds are cut and sold by DeBeers. You quote about "less then half" actually belongs to the share of diamond trade in DeBeers profits. It is true diamond trade is not a major source of profits for DeBeers. Well, any "natural" monopolist if he/she is not complete moron will eventually try to diversify his/her business. Isn't it what Microsoft is trying to do since beginning of 90's?

      Comparison to emeralds and rubies is not exactly fare. Several things separates diamond market from other gemstones. The main reason for that is that people (who bought into this marketing campain back in 1930's) are idiots. When you buy little 1.5 karat diamond you also buy a "marketing bubble" the size of Alaska. Compared to other gemstones substantial amount of diamonds do not end up in jewelry. Everyboy is so convinced that diamonds are such a good investment (mostly due to their ignorance) that in essence almost all diamonds go one way and almost never leave the extended family of the original buyer of the diamond. Secondary market as really tiny dwarf compared to the original one. Well, untill it's time to go to a pawn shop.

      The fact that you need to have a small spectroscopy laboratory to distinguish natural diamond from artificial can actually decrease the price. Diamond dealers (both cut and uncut) follow the rules that were established (i'm not kidding you) over the centuries. These people do not want to change. Here are the rules (at least the way my friend who tried to do this in 90's told me). Rough uncut diamond is pretty cheap. The dealer who buys it from you has only a microscope at most to look at it. If he/she sees just as little a scratch or attemt to polish the stone (to look what's inside) he or she will tell you "good buy" and then will call to every dealer he or she knows to tell them not to have any business with you. You will be literally finished in diamond business. The reason? Originally when you bought rough diamond you would not really know how much of cut diamond you would get due to the impurities inside. As soon as dealer will get just a feeling that you try to inflate the price of uncut diamond buy trying to find out what and where it has impurities he/she will stop any relations with you.

      Diamond cutting industry however made significant progress over the years. It can be probably compared with electronic industry. AFIK this was pionered buy Japanese. Before cutting the diamond every stone goes through all kinds of tests X-ray, ultrasound spectrography etc. And then a computer program optimizes the cut to get the highest value possible. This is being done probably since 70's. 80's for sure. This all is actually great. The problem I have with all this is that price of a cut diamond has not significantly changed. It's like buing a CPU from Intel or AMD and they charge you for every fucking transistor (how many of them now tens of millions?) they have there the price they used to ask for transistor back in 50s.

      If you can make artificial diamond that will not be distinguishable from natural one visually it is great. (Thinking soon you might have to have a certificate of authenticity or God forbid actual spectroscopic data makes me laugh). That is why those guys are probably scared now. That is why they are going to demand that every artificial diamond should be sold on separate market. They are clever salesmen but they are essencially leeches.

      Oh well this post is too long for me to check spelling.

  • by telstar (236404) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:18PM (#8282424)
    Wired Magazine had a cover-story about synthetic diamonds a few months back [wired.com] with some pretty detailed information. Slashdot covered [slashdot.org] the story here.
  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:28PM (#8282481)
    Find a way to get BPM 37093 [nbc4.tv] or just a large part of it returned to Earth, and you'll have DeBeers out of business instantly...
  • De Beers monopoly (Score:5, Interesting)

    by debrain (29228) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:28PM (#8282483) Journal
    For those of you who haven't followed diamonds for a while, De Beers is arguably the largest and most prolific monopoly in the world, having survived, among other incidents, an American anti-trust inquiry with its reputation, and vicariously that of diamonds, entirely unscathed.

    There are several forms of producing synthetic diamonds, and the closer these synthetic diamonds are to real ones, the more likely the company will be bought and all its intellectual property dissolved.

    One company is Apollo Diamond [apollodiamond.com], I recall. From what I understand, their research is conducted in the back of a pharamacy in an undisclosed mall somewhere in the USA.

    Apparently, threatening to undermine a multi-billion dollar industry is very risky. I seem to recall there have been numerous coincidental deaths related to diamonds, diamond mines, and synthetic diamonds. Like all things involving enormous economics, life, liberty, and security of person are hardly the most important.

    • Re:De Beers monopoly (Score:3, Informative)

      by openmtl (586918)
      For those of you who haven't followed diamonds for a while, De Beers is arguably the largest and most prolific monopoly in the world, having survived, among other incidents, an American anti-trust inquiry with its reputation, and vicariously that of diamonds, entirely unscathed.

      No - Microsoft is the largest and most prolific monopoly in the world without a question. De Beers did not survive the US Anti-trust as its senior officers are forbidden to touch US soil for fear of being arrested.

  • GPTV (Score:3, Informative)

    by NetNinja (469346) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:30PM (#8282491)
    There was a show on Gerogia Public Television last night about Australia's diamond mine called Argile and the rare pink diamond that it produces.
    They don't even mention the prices because they go into private collections.

    Actually Rubies and Saphires are a more rare gem.
  • by Punctuated_Equilibri (738253) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:31PM (#8282498)
    I think I would actually prefer a man made diamond, in places like Sierra Leone and Congo diamond mining is the cause huge amounts of criminal violence and suffering.
  • for more, go to PBS (Score:5, Informative)

    by tloh (451585) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:31PM (#8282499)
    A few years ago, there was an exellent installment of NOVA [pbs.org] that looked into the whole natural/synthetic diamond business. Everything from the early history of how DeBeers cornered the market to the (then) latest attempts at producing gem quality crystals.
  • by thecountryofmike (744040) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:37PM (#8282531)
    Diamonds are a really cool material, especially for engineers. Look at thermal conductivity graphs...there's diamond, showing off as the best thermal conductor. Now look at graphs of modulus of elasticity (~hardness)...again, diamond is showing off. Want a material with a high refraction index? Diamond has the highest

    I say enough of this. I'm tired of diamond being the best at everything. Let's all surround diamond after posting, and set it straight. Maybe we can go all Orwell on this holier-than-thou tetrahedral structure, and erase it from history. Now who's the hardest, huh?

    Diamond thinks is so tough....

  • by gidds (56397) <{slashdot} {at} {gidds.me.uk}> on Saturday February 14, 2004 @07:51PM (#8282602) Homepage
    ...that DeBeers manage to persuade everyone, with a cunning advertising campaign, that there's nothing like a natural diamond, and that she'd be insulted to receive anything artificial as an engagement present? After all, it worked for cubic zirconia... They can afford it, and they do have an awful lot to lose if they fail.
  • by Schemat1c (464768) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @08:15PM (#8282782) Homepage
    Any woman that ends up with me knows right from the start not to expect diamonds or gold from me. I have no problem buying jewlery, but I buy from independant artisans. Not only does it support the little guy but to me it means lot more to give a unique, one of a kind gift as opposed to some generic diamond/gold piece that you can buy in any mall in the country.

  • thats just silly, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pablo_max (626328) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @08:31PM (#8282887)
    Its amazing to me that we all know diamonds are NOT rare at all, yet we still pay a premium for them. Anyone who watched the discovery channel knows that there are in fact HUGE stores of diamonds held back to keep the price up. I would be willing to bet that colored diamonds are not that rare at all, but are kept back in all but tiny numbers to make them seem that way. We know that DeBeers is evil. We know that deal in blood diamonds so they are certainly not above this.
    Heck ADM and its competitors were in a global plot to keep lycean (spelling) prices high for years and they weren't killing people, so just think how far DeBeers would go. \

    Assuming that the diamonds are not rare at all as most of us know, what then is the point of making them? They are only cheaper then the inflated price but would most likely be more expensive if people knew the truth about diamonds. IMHO anyways.
  • by tres3 (594716) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @08:54PM (#8283012) Homepage
    There was a good story [wired.com] in Wired [wired.com] about synthetic diamonds not to long ago. It was discussed [slashdot.org] on Slashdot too. Where diamonds are going to be interesting in the future is when they displace silicon in chip manufacturing. A diamond chip can operate at temperatures that would turn silicon into a puddle in the bottom of your machine. If Moore's law is to continue, and faster chips = hotter chips, then silicon is going to have to be replaced. The eetimes [eetimes.com] has an interesting article [eetimes.com] about a diamond semiconductor, verified by NTT, that operates at 81GHz or 81,000MHz! Another one of diamonds benefits is its high thermal conductivity.

    There is even a third type [cityu.edu.hk] of diamond that has been developed at City University in Hong Kong. It differs from the one found in nature (a cubic form) and the one found in meteorites (a hexagonal form) by the way the carbon atoms bond to each other: rhombohedral form.

  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @10:00PM (#8283308) Homepage
    The diamond industry has dug itself into a hole in the gemstone area, by valuing diamonds by lack of flaws. The "ideal diamond" is a perfect crystal. This is not where you want to be positioned when going up against an industrial manufacturing process. Especially against a process borrowed from the semiconductor industry.

    Expect PR campaigns emphasizing "the natural flaws of diamonds".

  • by Effugas (2378) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @10:26PM (#8283450) Homepage
    The reason a $10,000 diamond is valuable is because it cost $10,000. If it cost $100, you just bought your girl -- the love of your life -- a symbol worth less than an XBox.

    Rarity in fashion is a strange thing; the cost of the object becomes an inherent part of the value -- it's not that the object is worth some certain amount, it's that the acquisition of it was so horrifyingly expensive and difficult that only a very precious few could achieve it. To gift someone with the results of this effort -- that's a sign of significance.

    This might seem difficult to comprehend, so let me jump domains for a moment. What's the value of a moon rock? I mean, it's just rock from the moon; we could probably synthesize something chemically identical trivially. Ah, lets say you got an award, and were given the moon rock as a prize. Tell me you wouldn't show it off to everyone.

    Same sh*t -- only difference is, instead of the cost being that of a trip to the moon, the cost is an enormous amount of one's savings. The price of diamonds is set high enough to be interesting but low enough to be possible.

    It has NOTHING AT ALL to do with the value of the rocks themselves.

    --Dan
  • Thanks DeBeers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by marshac (580242) on Saturday February 14, 2004 @11:19PM (#8283656) Homepage
    Personally, I'm glad that the price of diamonds is so high... I don't care if it's a monopoly or not. If diamonds weren't worth so much, there wouldn't be as much R&D dollars spent towards developing synthetic diamonds... and without that technology, the "diamond age" of electronics would be much much farther in the future.
  • by oohp (657224) on Sunday February 15, 2004 @02:17AM (#8284208) Homepage
    That's a lot. Why the hell would anyone pay that amount anyway, because the stone isn't natural in the first place and they can make 10e6 pieces a year on a production line just like cars and other goods. Why would anyone want a diamond that's not unique at 30% discount from the real thing? I mean it has to cost a fraction of the equivalent real diamond. I bet the production costs are a fraction of what they seel the diamonds for.

A rock store eventually closed down; they were taking too much for granite.

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