Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Future of the diamond industry?

Q: What do you think is the future of the diamond industry with the entry of these synthetic diamonds?

I feel that in the future, just like in pearls, synthetics will completely KILL the diamond market. Every attempt is being made to make sure that the real are kept seperate from the synthetic, but without sufficient awareness at the consumer level, the real diamodns will defnitely loose their sparkle to the fake.

Diamonds are aspirational entities. They need to be rare and they need to be desirable. If there are very readily available versions of this tiny bit of glamor, it will eventually loose its desirability. It is very important for the consumer to be aware of the existence and identification of real vs synthetic diamonds. With the obvious mischief that will be created by various marketing teams to promote synthetic diamonds, Im sure the consumer will never know the difference between a real and a synthetic diamond.

Very soon due to a surplus of diamonds, we will be looking out for another form of glamor in this industry. Something as priceless and beautiful as a diamond in itself. Since I doubt the existence of such a substitute, I am assured that the industry is in for a big setback.

This however, will surely take over several decades so benefit as much as you can from the glory and value of a diamond while you can. The reason why I say several decades is because first of all, this will affect the yellower and brown diamonds followed by the smaller diamond industry since that is the size most commonly available in synthetics. That in itself will keep the synthetic manufactureres busy considering the size of the market. Beyond that there will still be research etc happening for creating the bigger diamonds but then our own great 'GIA' will land up with solutions to figure out the fakes vs the reals.

To look back upon history, study the life of the pearl industry, and the moissanite attempts to the diamond market.

You can listen to my weekly radio Jewelry Talk Show, 'Jewelry with Surbhi', on EBC 1170 am or www.ebcmusic.com every wednesday 10 am to 12 noon.

Read my column, 'Jewelry with Surbhi' in Cineview a biweekly newspaper distributed along the Eastern US coast

Synthetic Diamonds

Q: Is it possible to identify synthetic diamonds from Natural ones? How?

In the most commonly selling grades such as VS, SI and below, you can very much distinguish the synthetic from a natural diamond. Look in the loupe for the 'synthetic' characterstics such as the carbon deposits and hour glass zoning.

HTHP (High Temperature High Pressure synthetic diamonds) are easier to identify because of the hourglass and the 'hexagon' sort of bands but CVDs (Carbon Vapor Deposited) are much more tricky because their inclusions are very similar natural inclusions.

So the better quality ones such as VVS and over are really really tough to make out especially if they are CVD Diamonds. You would definitely require advanced instruments for those.

To figure out natural vs synthetic diamonds, practise a LOT. Get a bunch of synthetics of various kinds and grades and a bunch of real ones. Look very very carefully to compare the inclusions, their color, reaction in the various advanced gemological instruments. You will be able to eventually make out differences.

While assessing the stones, if you come across obvious natural or obvious synthetic inclusions, you can move on to the next stone. After that point, go on to the advanced instruments. Beyond that you would need to seek external help from bodies such as GIA or EGL etc.