Cultured Diamonds Revisited

By Deane Barker on October 7, 2005

Man-made diamonds sparkle with potential: Another interesting article on the fledging “cultured diamond” industry. A bunch of geeks in a lab have found a way to make real diamonds — so long as “real” means “chemically identical” and not “dug from the ground.” They’re getting better, and De Beers is pissed.

Even highly trained diamond experts find it almost impossible to tell a CVD diamond from a mined one. De Beers is determined to help by making machines that can detect the slightest difference in the way the two materials refract light.

As part of that effort, De Beers stepped up its own CVD research “focused on producing state-of-the-art synthetic diamonds for testing on our equipment,” Lawson says. Referring to CVD diamonds, he adds, “We don’t see gemological applications fitting into it.”

So by getting into gems, little Apollo made a powerful, determined enemy.

There are a lot of of parallels here with the file sharing situation, really. De Beers is a company for whom the rules changed suddenly, and they’re desperately trying to hold onto the old way of doing things. But much like the Internet is eventually going to hammer Big Media into submission, cultured diamonds are going to do the same with this industry.

We talked about this a lot more a few months ago.

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