Is a 1-carat diamond always a fake or synthetic diamond? You might wonder what kind of question is that? Well, to be honest, this question might become very important now or in the coming years. Let me explain why you have to read this blog post about a synthetic diamond.
The 1-carat synthetic diamond
It was in the 1970s and my father, who was a jeweler got a visitor. He presented himself as a diamond seller. My father did not know him and in this jewelry business, you have to be very careful with whom you are dealing with. My father asked me to join him. I was interested in the jeweler’s business but still attended high school.
The diamond seller opened his suitcase and showed us different little parcels of diamonds. You have to know that in those days as a jeweler designer you did not buy one diamond, but always a little parcel of a certain weight. And you never knew whether there was a 1-carat diamond in the parcel or several smaller diamonds, but you know the weight. the color and the quality.
Only 1-carat diamonds
This guy opened a little parcel with several diamonds and they seem to be the same weight, color, etc. My father and I looked at each other and we both got a bad feeling about it. The seller offered us 10 diamonds of exactly the same weight: 1 carat. And he told us that the diamonds were mined in Russia. Not a large diamond mining region.
My father took one diamond and went upstairs to his equipment (refractometer), with which he could see whether there are inclusions in the stone, check the color and the refraction of the diamond. That means you can see how the light bends or refracts.
1-carat synthetic diamonds
The result of that check was that the color was right, there were no inclusions in the stone, but there was something funny with the refraction. The diamond was a synthetic diamond and so a fake diamond!
My father came down and told the seller that he was not interested. After he left he explained to me what he discovered and warned all his colleagues. In times when a product is hard to get or is getting very expensive people to try to copy that product and in this case made a synthetic diamond.
Is it worth producing a synthetic diamond?
Producing such a synthetic diamond is not cheap. You need a lot of carbon and very high pressure to make a synthetic diamond. Because the production process is expensive, they make only one seize synthetic diamond: 1 carat. From that moment on I never ever bought another 1-carat diamond. Too scared that the production process improved and we cannot see the difference anymore in an easy way.
2 stories about the synthetic diamond
I remembered this story when I read two disturbing articles in the newspaper. One story about a diamond mine in Australia that was nearly exhausted. And another one about de diamond mining company of De Beers in South Africa that controls the diamonds that come on the market. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the diamonds were not sold in the same way as before and he stopped the supply. To get more money! But the result of those two stories is that the market for synthetic diamonds is rising even harder than before.
The pink diamond mine stops production
The Argyle mine in Western Australia produced about 90% of all the pink diamonds in the world. The pink diamond is very rare, loved, and extremely expensive. Also, the ‘normal’ diamonds were mined here, but the closure of this mine has not such large effects on the normal diamonds, because there are more mines left, especially in Africa.
The Australian diamond mine was discovered in 1979 and the production of diamonds started in 1984. Between then and now about 865 million carats of rough diamond was mined. Including that pink diamond. Jewelers expect that prices for the pink diamonds will rise and you may have to pay about €2.6 million or $3 million for 1 carat (0.2 gram).
Producing a pink synthetic diamond may become profitable. Watch out!
De Beers Company keeps his diamonds in store.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot of jeweler shops in the world had to close their doors. If you cannot sell the diamonds anymore, they get cheaper. The diamonds are cut in India and also there due to the pandemic they are no able to cut this precious stone now. The diamond auctions in Botswana, where De Beers sells its diamonds to the international market, are closed and the international buyers are not allowed to enter the country.
The result of all this is that De Beers diamond company decided to cut the mining of diamonds by 20%. In this way, they try to control the market again.
The pandemic of Covid-19 came on top of earlier problems due to the surplus of rough and polished gemstones in the world. And the fact that the synthetic diamond is conquering the world resulted in the decision of the 20% mine stop.
De Beers considers starting a marketing campaign to try to get the diamonds sold again, telling the public that a diamond keeps its value, which is a nice feature in this crisis. The only thing is that there is in the Western World, not a real economic crisis, in the rich people still can afford to buy diamond jewelry. And people need to trust the diamond industry, a bit difficult when you have a chance to buy a synthetic diamond instead of the real one.
The synthetic diamond in the polishing industry
Many years before when a mining company mined rough diamonds that could not be used for the jewelry industry they sold those diamonds to the polishing industry. The diamonds that had the wrong color, a lot of inclusions, etc are excellent for cutting heavy stuff or polishing for instance other gemstones.
Nowadays the synthetic diamond is used for the cutting and polishing industry. And the diamond mining companies are only interested in the high-quality diamonds that they can sell to jeweler designers and producers.
Yellow synthetic diamond
In the beginning, the synthetic diamond was made with a mixture of graphite and iron, pressed at a temperature of 1500 Celsius. And nitrogen was used as a catalyst. The result was that the synthetic diamond looked very yellow and easy to distinguish from the real diamond.
Nowadays they use a different mixture to get colorless diamonds that cannot be distinguished from the real ones. In fact, there is no difference in material between a real diamond and a synthetic diamond. The only difference is that a real diamond is about 1-3 million years old and originated in a natural way. And the synthetic diamond is maybe a few weeks old and originated artificially.
To be honest, there is no way to see what is real and what is a synthetic diamond. Maybe only that the synthetic diamond is perfect!
A real diamond, and still a bit fake
Sometimes a real diamond has black inclusions and is therefore useless. Anyway not acceptable for the jewelry industry. These diamonds are getting prepared so that they look awesome again. With a kind of laser they make a tiny little hole to the inclusion, and a very acid fluid is brought in. The inclusion is getting bleached and you hardly see anything of the previous black inclusion.
FlorenceJewelshop has a necklace in her collection made of black diamonds. Real diamonds, but full of those black inclusions. Beautiful and affordable!.
There are also diamonds that have a visible fracture in the stone. Also not acceptable for the jewelry industry. For these diamonds, there is also a solution to get accepted again. They inject a fluid of glass and lead into the fracture and the fracture becomes invisible.
How to see whether I buy a synthetic diamond?
The only way to see or check whether you buy a synthetic diamond or a real one is to use short-wave UV radiation. Real diamonds turn out bluish and you see an octahedral growth structure. While a synthetic diamond is green and has an hourglass pattern. The change in color is easy to see in contrast with the pattern.
Is buying a synthetic diamond so bad?
Buying a synthetic diamond can have advantages. The environment will not be poisoned or destroyed when the diamond mining will stop. And a lot of poor people will not be exploited anymore by the diamond industry.
On the other hand, in Botswana the government has earned so much money with the diamond industry that every child until 13 years old can go to school, free of charge.
Is there an alternative for a synthetic diamond?
Yes, there is, actually there are. Moissanite is probably the best diamond imitation available. The color is the same, they look the same and the hardness on the scale of Moh is 9.5, while a real diamond is 10.
Another great imitation of the real diamond and an awesome alternative for the synthetic diamond is the Herkimer diamond. The name comes from the city of the mine ‘Herkimer’, in the neighborhood of New York/USA. It looks exactly like a diamond, the cut of the diamond is man-made, but the Herkimer diamond that same cut is natural. The hardness is less and the material is rhinestone quartz.
FlorenceJewelshop has a Herkimer diamond necklace in her collection.
For me, as a jewelry designer and a jewelers daughter my all-time favorite is the real diamond. I love the stones and luckily I inherited some from my mother. The diamond is a member of the fabulous 4 precious stones (ruby, emerald, sapphire, and the diamond) ánd is the birthstone of April. When you are married 65 years, you have your diamond anniversary. A diamond has much to offer.
Therefore I made an e-book full of stories about birthstones and of course a lot of stories about the diamond. A great-to-have e-book and a nice-to-give e-book together with a piece of diamond jewelry. And since a diamond is expensive enough this e-book is free! Just let me know where I can send it to.
Hug, Florence from FlorenceJewelshop