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A Step Toward the Diamond Age

timothy posted more than 8 years ago | from the blazing-8-mm-per-day dept.

Technology 666

An anonymous reader writes "Carnegie Institution researchers have learned to produce 10-carat, half-inch thick diamonds at rates of about 100 micrometers per hour, which in the diamond biz is blazingly fast. And these aren't cruddy, yellow diamonds either, but gem-quality stones. The goal: A 300 carat beast in whatever shape they want."

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first post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12552166)


Re:first post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12552175)


I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12552168)

Diamonds really do last forever.

Re:I guess (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12552198)

Diamonds actually don't last forever, actually. Thermodynamically, it's in the favor of the graphite form of carbon. So all diamonds will eventually turn into graphite.

So whenever you go into a jeweler's shop, try to use that fact to bring the price down.

Excellent (5, Funny)

PeteDotNu (689884) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552169)

Eventually they'll be so common that they'll be pretty much worthless!

Viva la fight against capitalism!

Re:Excellent (4, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552176)

It doesn't matter. Some other rare thing will replace the diamond and nobody will want diamonds anymore (except for industrial purposes). When it comes to women, it will still just be a matter of how much you are willing to spend to get a piece of that self-absorbed, attention-seeking, validation-needing ass. If diamonds become as cheap as glass, something else will become common to replace them as a means of proving your desperation for a piece of ass by buying something technically worthless and useless.

Re:Excellent (5, Interesting)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552209)

Also, the price of diamonds is the result of biggest marketing scams of the century. It's pretty much only the last 100-150 years when they were promoted as the #1 gem in jewelry. In ancient/medieval/renaissance times, diamonds weren't held in that much esteem -- coloured gems like rubys were considered more valuable.

Knocking off the price of diamonds is a great thing. I couldn't care less for jewelry, and without the artificially inflated price, we'll be able to use one of the best materials when it comes to hardness, certain conducting properties and so on. Similarily, you can coat connectors with a thin layer of gold to improve them, but it's an expensive thing to do because people tend to hog all gold reserves for monetary purposes.

Re:Excellent (2, Informative)

WalksOnDirt (704461) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552239)

High quality rubies are still more expensive than high quality colorless diamonds, though there might have been a period when that wasn't true.

Pink and blue natural diamonds are a different story.

Re:Excellent (4, Insightful)

Nogami_Saeko (466595) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552326)

Not to mention that the diamond industry (the mining one that is ala debeers) is absolutely TERRIFIED of cultured stones and takes every opportunity to trash them, saying that they're "not as good as natural stones"...

Because... They cost less?

It's certainly not because they look any different unless you're an expert in gemstones with good-enough gear to do some very specific testing. Certainly no consumer is going to be able to notice the difference.

But it's all just a big ego trip anyway - "my wallet is bigger than your wallet because I can drop (insert number here) dollars on a hunk of carbon)."


Re:Excellent (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12552334)

This is true, the value of a diamond is way too inflated. However, it's only one way inflation. Try to re-sell that diamond you just bought, and you'll know what I mean. The DeBeers family worked it right though!

That said, one of the reasons diamonds have a higher value now than they used to is partially due to new cutting techniques. I'm pretty sure most /.ers aren't very interested in diamonds, but there are a number of modern techniques, some of which even have patents on them. The particular cuts make use of the refraction index in order to create very bright points on the polished surface, which creates the glittery effect. Check out old victorian era antique diamond jewelry. They look dull, and it's no polishing will bring them up to par with modern diamonds. That's also why the artificial 1/2" diamond in the picture doesn't look that shiny, even though it's semi-polished. Actually, the inscriptions on the said diamond make a great demonstration for the laser, but totally fsck up the brilliance of the diamond itself...

I'm sorta interested to see what levels of impurities these artificials have. In the natural world, the larger the diamond is, the more likely there's a significant impurity in it. Impurities drive down the price of diamonds significantly. Also, being not-so-yellow isn't good enough, there are multiple levels of clearness when grading diamonds, so I'm also interested to see exactly HOW clear these diamonds are. Now, if they can create a 300 carat diamond with color D and clarity SI2 to IF, whoa, run for your money DeBeers!

Re:Excellent (5, Interesting)

nickco3 (220146) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552407)

It doesn't matter. Some other rare thing will replace the diamond and nobody will want diamonds anymore (except for industrial purposes)

Or, perhaps diamonds will be household items and practically everywhere? The Queen of England's jewelry collection contains aluminium pieces that were fantastically valuable when they were originally given to Queen Victoria. Today, mass-produced aluminium jewelry is so cheap it is normally described as 'imitation'.

Re:Excellent (1)

Forbman (794277) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552181)

In other words, they'll finally force DeBeers to start draining their rumored 100-yr inventory?

Re:Excellent (2, Funny)

Essef (12025) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552232)

Exactly! Then I get a double-coating of diamond for my PSP, blue-coloured diamond contacts to go with my brown eyes, pimp-my-mouth with ultra-Bling, and REALLY wear diamonds on the soles of my shoes!

Yes! It's the dawning of the age of the diamondsexual male!

Re:Excellent (5, Funny)

sakri (832266) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552378)

I for one look forwards my kids watching old MTV videos, and laughing at 50cent's and his homeys wearing worthless rocks around their necks :)

Wondering ... (4, Interesting)

puiahappy (855662) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552170)

And how expensive is that technology ?

Re:Wondering ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12552413)

What you should be wondering is whether it is cheaper than mining??

sheik ben hussain ben ghaddaffi (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12552172)

Soon it's not 'how much gigahertz does your computer have' it's then 'how much karat does it have' :)

They'll get their grants revoked (5, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552178)

Do you want to bet how long it will take for a certain criminal, monopolistic, little-african-children abusing cartel to have the research grants revoked, and if that fails, to have an accident happen to the scientists in question?

Re:They'll get their grants revoked (2, Insightful)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552203)

Got any evidence of this happening in the past? Or has your tin-foil cap bubbled your brain away?

Re:They'll get their grants revoked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12552235)

> Got any evidence of this happening in the past?

Well in Africa at one time diamonds were very common, De beers went in and bought up everything and stockpiled it. It is believed at that time 80% of the worlds diamonds were controlled by them.

It is certainly well documented. Diamonds are not rare.

Re:They'll get their grants revoked (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552262)

There's a tiny difference between "killing and forcing people to become unemployed" and "stockpiling."

As I said, is there any evidence the diamond industry has had grants recused on people creating artificial diamonds and/or killed people because they created artificial diamonds?

Re:They'll get their grants revoked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12552321)

Not that I am aware of, however this making a perfect artificial diamond technology is over 2 years old.

Anyway de beers don't need to kill it off. Just buy the rights to it and control how they get released to the market. For example to make them for chip processing only.

Re:They'll get their grants revoked (1)

ExKoopaTroopa (671002) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552312)

they've already tried to have a 'man-made diamond' label stuck to all these rocks, hoping that you or your ladyfriend would think that buying a non-naturally produced diamond makes you cheap

Re:They'll get their grants revoked (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552331)

That's a far cry from the killing that the OP suggested would occur. Is this going to be bad for business? If it's cheaper then what the diamond miners are asking for, you bet ya. And in typical fashion, the diamond miners will lobby for laws. But killing off scientists? Nope. From what has been said, the OP was out-there on that claim.

Re:They'll get their grants revoked (5, Informative)

Hieronymus Howard (215725) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552374)

It does happen.

I know a journalist who did a lot of research into DeBeers and wrote a number of articles and a book about them was attacked and systematically beaten up, which necessitated a stay in hospital for several months.

Other companies doing research into artificial diamonds have claimed that they believe that their senior employees could be targets for assasination.

Think about how much the diamond industry is worth, and the lengths that some people might be prepared to go to in order to protect it.

Re:They'll get their grants revoked (5, Insightful)

La Camiseta (59684) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552218)

You're completely overlooking the fact that some much larger industries are probably frothing at the mouth when hearing about this (namely the tech industry). Intel, AMD, IBM, and the like have wanted the ability to use diamonds instead of copper in chips for ages. With this ability, they can push clock speeds (and consequently temps) into ranges previously unheard of without worrying about melting the innards of the processor.

I can just about guarantee you that if they were to get their funding revoked because of DeBeers, then those scientists could just as easily go to some of the major chip manufacturers and find levels of funding that they wouldn't even be able to dream of while working in academia.

Re:They'll get their grants revoked (5, Informative)

strider44 (650833) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552271)

I believe they want to use it instead of silicon as opposed to copper because of it's semiconductor capabilities.

Re:They'll get their grants revoked (1)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552345)

Of course, you can't stop Intel from funding this research -- but you can send Ivan, Luigi or He to have a talk with the scientist in question.

Re:They'll get their grants revoked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12552369)

Hands up anyone who thinks thay can take on intel or amd and win....No takers gee I wonder why? So you have 10 bully boys-We've got as many as unlimited money can buy!

Yellow? (4, Interesting)

Huge Pi Removal (188591) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552184)

I thought yellow diamonds (depending on their exact colour) could be worth much more than normal ones. At least, that's what the Antiques Roadshow said on Sunday...

e.g. http://www.yellowdiamonds.co.uk/ [yellowdiamonds.co.uk]

Re:Yellow? (4, Informative)

JamesD_UK (721413) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552319)

Indeed. Whilst a yellowish tint may devalue a white diamond, at the extreme end of the yellow colours (fancy yellow) it increases the value. The Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] covers this.

Re:Yellow? (1)

Tatarize (682683) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552361)

Well, the idea is to replace mined silicon with all it's imperfections (and low melting point). The yellow and blue stuff in it do make the diamonds worth more. However, crap in them makes them worth less when it comes to building electronics. The title did seem to imply that the clear stuff was worth more.

Crystallized carbon is worthless regardless what crap it has in it.

Re:Yellow? (2, Interesting)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552379)

Diamond color is on a lettered scale, I think starting at E or F (it's diamonds, nothing makes sense). The very very clear ones are worth a lot and then the price drops quickly as you get into k,l,m,n,o category because they're noticably yellow. Even cheap jewelry stores don't use p,q,r,s grade stones. Then you get all the way to Z+, and all of the sudden it's "fancy yellow" and worth more than a clear diamond. Price is just about marketing and demand. Even more expensive than yellow diamonds are pink and blue diamonds. The Hope diamond isn't so famous because it's giant, it's famous because it's giant and dark blue.

Yes, I bought an engagement ring last year.


Re:There's yellow, and then there's Yellow. (4, Informative)

geekwench (644364) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552411)

As the title implies, the value of any color of fancy color diamond depends upon the intensity and vividness of the color.

The yellow diamonds that are being referred to in this context are not the fancy and sought-after "canary" variety; they're diamonds with certain impurities in the carbon that give them a yellowish or brownish tint, instead of the clear "white" that is deemed so valuable.

Here's a page [diamondhelpers.com] with a photo about halfway down that will give you an idea. Another page [diamondhelpers.com] from the same site shows the various grades of colorless-ness.

A true fancy diamond of any color doesn't fall under these grading systems, obviously. The difference in intensity between the muted yellow-brown of a 'Z' color and a true canary-yellow is like the difference between a glowstick and a krypton-bulb flashlight. See here [jewelryexpert.com] for some examples of blue, canary, pink, and peach diamonds. (No greens, though; and they're my favorite.)

And for the record: Yes, I Am A Jeweler.

Not perfect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12552187)

A diamond expert worth his wages could tell the difference. I have seen it on a Discovery Channel documentary. There was no reason, the tests all came back positive. He just knew.

Re:Not perfect (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552292)

It's easy. Natural diamonds grow very slowly, and every disturbing of the growth process show in the diamonds. If you find a perfect crystal (*) of a certain size, you can be pretty sure it's artificial.

(*) Perfect as in "every layer of atoms the same", not necessarily "every layer consisting solely of carbon atoms, and all carbon atoms in a tetraedic order"

Actually too perfect (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12552375)

Real natural diamonds have natural flaws. These don't.

As for me, if a girl requires a natural diamond for my hand in marriage then she can keep walking. True love is worth more than all the diamonds in the world.

Ugh... (0)

CleverNickedName (644160) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552191)

A large part of a diamond's appeal is that something so stunningly beautiful was formed naturally. We can produce pretty, sparkly stones, but they can never be as beautiful simply because we produced them.

Not everything can be mass produced.

Re:Ugh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12552214)

I think the actions of a certain cartel manage to somewhat taint the beauty you describe.

Re:Ugh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12552219)

... said the rep from DeBeers.

Re:Ugh... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12552221)

Natural diamonds are little uninteresting glassy pebbles, until a great deal of shaping and cutting and marketing are applied. Even so, could you tell the difference between a real diamond and a similarly cut bit of leaded glass?

The virtue of diamonds is not "ooh, pretty". There are a lot of potential engineering uses, at the right price.

Re:Ugh... (4, Insightful)

thesupraman (179040) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552225)

Yes, thats right, a lump of crystal dug out of a large, polluting hole by minimum wage (if they are lucky) workers by sheer luck, and used to prop up massive corps is SO much better than one produced in a demonstration of our ability to solve extremely difficult technological problems, and produce an identical item.

Of course, in a few years you wont be able to tell which is which, so long as they work out how to add in a few imperfections to make the grown crystal look as poor as the natural one.

About damn time, another artificially produced drain on the common mans pocket toppled.

Re:Ugh... (0)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552228)

Not everything can be mass produced.

Why do you hate America? And more importantly, was your hate mass produced?

Re:Ugh... (5, Insightful)

jurt1235 (834677) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552230)

Maybe that is why DeBeers is fighting this kind of efforts, especially since these artificially produced ones are of better quality than the real ones.

Diamonds are not beautifull when you find them. It is a like a little rock, rough surface, irregular shape, until the cutting and polishing takes place. These artificially made diamonds (it is a diamond, DeBeers does it not want to have that name), are having the basic shapes and most likely will need less cutting.

When there are enough diamonds available, I guess that we will find new applications for it, more usefull applications than a show off how rich we are.

I can't agree to that (2, Insightful)

Control42 (579348) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552236)

Is an original oil painting more beautiful than a copy? No, it's the same picture. But the value of the original is higher. The difference in value comes from the possibility of detecting the uniqueness of the original. If the copy was a true identical copy, their values would also be identical.

Re:Ugh... (1)

djhack (515503) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552238)

So you swallowed DeBeers propaganda whole !?

oh well , can't have a wedding without a fist-sized diamond pickaxed off a mine by the beautiful innocence of a 7yrs old kid now can we ?

Re:Ugh... (2, Insightful)

goneutt (694223) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552243)

but they can never be as beautiful simply because we produced them.

And yet theres all those silicone pumped women that men pay so much money to look at.

And certain women.

Re:Ugh... (4, Interesting)

mjfgates (150958) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552255)

The funny thing, this is sort of true... the only reason that anybody bothers to mine rubies or sapphires anymore is for the snob value. You can buy artificial sapphires for under five bucks on Ebay that would cost tens of thousands of dollars if they had the paperwork showing that they were "natural." I bought a couple of handfuls, they're nifty.

Re:Ugh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12552264)

No. A large part of a diamond's appeal is marketing, namely by DeBeers. Also, diamonds look beautiful because they are cut to look beautiful. They come out of the ground as chunks of rock.

And what do you mean a man-made diamond can't be AS beautiful? If I present you two diamonds that look exactly the same, one natural, one man-made, and I don't tell you which is which, how the heck are you going to say which is more beautiful? It's not like the man-made diamond is made of different stuff.

Re:Ugh... (1)

etherelithic (846901) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552265)

Natural? They're first cut and then polished by master craftsmen before they ever get to the market. The "sparkly" characteristic comes from the light refracting and reflecting within the diamond due to the MAN MADE cuts. It's beautiful because we make it beautiful.

Re:Ugh... (1)

Jarnis (266190) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552266)

DeBeers plant?

You cannot tell a gem-quality manufactured diamond and a natural diamond apart.

They are both carbon. Yes, DeBeer has tried to market their expensive stuff as 'geniune' versus manufactured 'knockoffs', but in this case the items are quite identical.

Re:Ugh... (4, Insightful)

Dominic_Mazzoni (125164) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552300)

A large part of a diamond's appeal is that something so stunningly beautiful was formed naturally. We can produce pretty, sparkly stones, but they can never be as beautiful simply because we produced them.

Nice try. Natural diamonds are hardly beautiful. Only when you carefully cut them exactly the right way, and polish them properly, do they appear so beautiful. And it's really hard to argue that diamonds are more beautiful than any other gemstone - almost all of which can be created in the lab now, by the way.

No, diamonds are just the most expensive gem. For no good reason. And thankfully, perhaps not for much longer.

Re:Ugh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12552348)

yeah of course, its not nearly as good unless poor thirrd world children suffered so that I can have a shiny rock on my finger.

Re:Ugh... (0)

CleverNickedName (644160) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552402)

Yes diamonds are an ugly, unethical, dehumanising business. That is their (substantial) ugly side.

They also have a beautiful side. That's not to say that "overall they are beautiful", but rather that "they have a beautiful element to their nature". A part of this element is the fact that the material itself, the diamond, is natural. This is lost in artificial diamonds.

The statements that the diamond business is corrupt, that artificial diamonds are of purer quality and that uncut diamonds look like pebbles are all true. These statements are also all completely irrelevant to the original post.

oh great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12552193)

now my wife can spend all my money.

finally (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12552195)

We can finally end world hunger with an ampel supply of artifical carrots for everyone!

- python_kiss

Hmmmm (0)

cloudkj (685320) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552210)

Won't this massively devalue diamonds? Simple supply and demand...

Re:Hmmmm (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12552248)

The diamond market is strictly controlled to keep prices artificially high. It is safe to assume such people would whatever it takes to maintain this control.

Re:Hmmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12552310)

Won't this massively devalue diamonds? Simple supply and demand...

Probably not, new ways of making near perfect diamonds come out nearly as often as aids cures. Some of the fabricated gems get onto the market and some of the methods of creating them are hard to distinguish from natural diamonds. But they mostly stick to the industrial uses they're designed for. I don't think the jewelry value of diamonds is going to plunge any time soon.

Why are diamonds precious ?.. (2, Interesting)

Gopal.V (532678) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552215)

Come on !. Think about it. They're precious because they are rare, exclusive and pretty much a freak of nature - clear diamonds more so still (probability, my dear watson).

If this will end up producing indistinguishable diamonds , then the market will collapse. IIRC, the artificial rubies made always contain a peice of metal embedded to make sure they are not sold as the real one - it's a question of business ethics for the people who make them (also good old plain advertisement).

To quote Scott Adams: if rabbits were rare and endagered, we'd be buying rabbit shit necklaces for our girlfriends.

Re:Why are diamonds precious ?.. (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552250)

To quote Scott Adams: if rabbits were rare and endagered, we'd be buying rabbit shit necklaces for our girlfriends.

Why would you buy a diamond necklace for a girlfriend?! Holy crap, I hope guys don't really do that...?

Re:Why are diamonds precious ?.. (4, Informative)

tukkayoot (528280) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552254)

Diamonds aren't really that rare, it's just that De Beers has a virtual monopoly on them and carefully controls how many of them enter the market.

It's artificial rarity, so it may be poetic justice that "artificial" (not a completely accurate term, since they are indeed "real" diamonds) diamonds are what ultimately bring down the price on the stones.

Re:Why are diamonds precious ?.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12552339)

I have heard that for a long time. I was looking at the numbers a while ago and De Beer's control of the diamond wholosale business has dropped from the 90%'s into the 70%'s. That's a big market share, but you still can't name your own price. With more and more diamonds coming out of Russia, De Beer's control is waning.


Re:Why are diamonds precious ?.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12552274)

If this will end up producing indistinguishable diamonds , then the market will collapse.

That will make rich more poor and therefore poor more rich. And we get harder tools for cheaper prize. So it's a good thing.

Re:Why are diamonds precious ?.. (2, Interesting)

PabloJones (456560) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552306)

They're precious because DeBeers makes sure they stay that way. IIRC, they are not allowed to operate in the US, as they are a monopoly, and therefore have to distribute via different companies here.

But they stand a lot to lose, with these diamonds made in a lab. They'll probably try to say that unless a diamond came from the ground, it isn't real... but how would a diamond from the ground and a diamond from the lab any different? Do the kind from the lab have fewer imperfections?

It'd be interesting if there was a certain amount of imperfections that were desirable in a diamond. Say, if there were too many, it would obviously be low quality, and if there were too few, it'd obviously be from a lab.

But wouldn't these new diamonds have any other uses than to just look nice on some 'high class' woman's finger?

It's paradoxically a non-paradox (4, Insightful)

Gopal.V (532678) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552362)

But they stand a lot to lose, with these diamonds made in a lab. They'll probably try to say that unless a diamond came from the ground, it isn't real...
To Quote :
Lallafa had lived in the forests of the Long Lands of Effa. He lived there, and he wrote his poems there. He wrote them on pages made of dried habra leaves, without the benefit of education or correcting fluid.

Then, shortly after the invention of time travel, some major correcting fluid manufacturers wondered whether his poems might have been better still if he had had access to some high-quality correcting fluid, and whether he might be persuaded to say a few words on that effect.

He never got around to writing the poems, of course, which was a problem, but an easily solved one. The manufacturers of correcting fluid simply packed him off for a week somewhere with a copy of a later edition of his book and a stack of dried habra leaves to copy them out on to, making the odd deliberate mistake and correction on the way.

Many people now say that the poems are suddenly worthless. Others argue that they are exactly the same as they always were, so what's changed? The first people say that that isn't the point. They aren't quite sure what the point is, but they are quite sure that that isn't it.
All of which illustrates the point ... umm.. I'm sure it does.. A diamond is just a container of the I'm rich attitude (or if you see enough DeBeers ads that is translated as I love/care about you ). Lose the content and it's just an empty box.

Re:Why are diamonds precious ?.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12552406)

There was a Nova program awhile back on scientists in Russia attempting to make gem-quality artificial diamonds and sell them on various markets. DeBeers was already starting to freak out about advances in diamond growing and had some lines about how romantic it was to have a diamond forged in the heat of the earth's crust (or some crap like that). They had come up with some methods to detect artificial diamonds that included artificial diamonds having different surface structures (at an atomic level, so they weren't really flaws) that caused them to luminesce after being exposed to light whereas normal diamonds didn't do that. However, the "ultimate" solution, as they expected artificial diamond growing would soon overcome this problem, was to laser inscribe every one of their diamonds with a serial number. I suppose the big question now is whether jewelry shops will go along with this, as I don't think the general public cares very much about where a diamond comes from.

Re:Why are diamonds precious ?.. (1)

Adrilla (830520) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552341)

I personally think it's better to help further technology by making diamonds more accesible, than to keep up the value of a pretty decoration on someone's finger.

So now... (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552227)

You can get a girl's best friend that much faster and cheaper. ...wonder how long until they start selling 'em..."Here, dear, how about a nice big rock for you?" ...wonder if that'll get me anywhere...

Re:So now... (2, Funny)

liangzai (837960) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552385)

No, no, no! It is way better, dude. Now you can get your girlfriend a diamond dildo! Won't get any harder!

Nanotubes... (1, Interesting)

Vo0k (760020) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552257)

Now waiting for nanotubes produced at that rate. Most likely such diamonds will be common by-products of failures at production of nanotubes...

The Irony (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552261)

The irony is that Yellow Diamonds are the most valuable.

This poster is really dumb :P Think about sulpher 8 and carbon 6 Duh how likely is that :P

This is all based off a Russian Technology from the Cold War...

As to the artificially inflated price, it's worse than you think. First off there is a cartel controlling the massive amounts of diamonds pouring out of Africa they have agreements to ensure that the diamonds pass through many many hands between the native workers and the consumer. And the conditions are deplorable.

unfortunately (4, Insightful)

cahiha (873942) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552269)

With the availability of high quality artificial diamonds, we could stop diamond mining. Unfortunately, the diamond mining industries are trying to perpuate their expensive and destructive extraction business by trying to create a special mystique around "natural" diamonds.

So, be aware that the high price you pay for a "natural" diamond is a direct result of the rather unnatural destruction of the environment, together with monopolistic prices charged by the diamond cartels. There are better ways to say "I love you" to someone.

Wake me up when they can make proper bricks. (4, Funny)

mjfgates (150958) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552277)

Gonna make me a "glass" house, and then I'm gonna throw me some STONES, oh, yeah.

The many possibilities (5, Interesting)

mister_tim (653773) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552282)

I saw a documentary on TV last year about a firm that is now 'growing' diamonds - sounded similar to this. Anyway, they were growing them at an incredible rate and they were completely flawless (although i don't know that they were able to specify a size).

On the show, they also talked to a rep from De Beers and a diamond merchant. They basically said that the grown diamonds were almost too good. Despite being a bibt worried about it, they seemed like they would adapt to the new environment. De Beers marketing strategy against something like that would be to promote the classical beauty of natural diamonds, or something like that - basically, advertise the 'snob' value of classically mined diamonds, even if they are less perfect.

On a separate note, I am looking forward to advances in Teflon.

I remember Dr Karl Kruszelnicki (Australians would know who he is) talking at my High School during our final year. Someone posed the old favourite question, "if nothing sticks to teflon, how come it sticks to the frying pan?". Apart from his answer, he did one of his trade-mark tangential replies and said that teflon is soft and therefore scracthes easily, but if you could combine teflon with diamonds, then you'd have a surface that nothing sticks to and that wouldn't scrartch. Of course, diamonds are too expensive for that.

So, with the rise of grown diamonds, I look forward to many advances in easy to use cooking gear.

Thank you for your time.

Diamond market will not collapse (4, Insightful)

jaquesparrow (822642) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552295)

Its amusing that people are automatically assuming that mass producing diamonds would make the diamond market collapse. While it certainly is a possibility it is highly unlikely due to the following reasons. 1) DeBeers can launch a new marketing ploy and sell their diamonds as naturally forming diamonds compared with man-made diamonds. They could have a larger range of diamonds and infact increase their revenue potential, by charging a higher premium on naturally occuring diamonds. Think of it as a comparision between driving a toyota and a bmw. Toyota for the masses and bmw for the clients who can afford that level of a machine. 2) All tin foil hat conspiracies aside, jewellery is not the only area where diamonds are used so extensively. While it is the most talked about and marketed, diamonds have significant number of uses in industry that such a cheap form of making diamonds would accomodate. 3) Imagine the industries this is going to spawn. Right now they have technology to do laser cutting or painting your picture into glass. Imagine doing the same with a diamond. Debeers will survive, as they will adjust their business model to accomodate this.

Re:Diamond market will not collapse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12552365)

You mean "a toyota for those who prefers quality, and a bmw for the kids who are just trying to kill them selves in a traffic accident"? At least that's how it is around here.

Re:Diamond market will not collapse (1)

Wehesheit (555256) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552392)

The problem with your analogy is that the man made diamonds are not of lesser quality, it's not at all like Toyota vs BMW. Also since it is mostly men buying the diamonds *in secret* so when they show up with a 8 caret honking perfect quality stone the woman isn't going to ask who the hell made it.

The diamond market will collapse.

Re:Diamond market will not collapse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12552393)

This will work only as long as it is possible to tell a 'natural' diamond from an 'artificial' one. When that is no longer true, bye-bye high diamond prices. IMHO, that will be 10-20 years at best.

A good time to postulate? (5, Interesting)

jigyasubalak (308473) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552296)

That every 18 months the maximum growable size of an artificial diamond will double.

--A La Moore's Law

Blood Diamonds and de Beers (5, Interesting)

Demerara (256642) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552298)

Slashdotters who regularly vent their anger at Micro$oft's monopoly should read about the diamond industry, monopoly and de Beers.

Unlke MS, the diamond trade costs lives. Sierra Leone, Libera and other West African countries are in ruins because of conflict diamonds. A good book is Blood Diamonds [amazon.com] which tells the story of how gems destroyed Sierra Leone.

So, roll on artifical gems I say.

Statistics? (2, Insightful)

nagora (177841) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552313)

Anyone out there have any data on how common natural diamonds actually are? DeBeers and co control the supply but diamond fields are huge; is there any reality to the idea that these gems are rare?


I've heard this before... (2, Interesting)

Makzu (868112) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552314)

I remember reading about this a while back in an old issue of Wired magazine. They said that once artificial diamonds become cheap enough, they'll replace silicon in high-end processors because of the thermal conductivity. Diamonds apparently would make much better bases to build chips on than silicon does today.

Good time to get rid of the old industry (4, Insightful)

photonic (584757) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552358)

I think I saw a documentary at Discovery Channel about some Russian company that already produces the machines for some years (could be this company [wired.com]). According to the show the traditional diamond industry was so worried that they developed an expensive laser system to discriminate the artificial ones from the natural ones. They could then issue a certificate of 'garanteed blood money' (TM). As a hollywood star/gangsta rapper you of course want to make sure that your hard earned money is well spent on some evil warlord [bbc.co.uk] somewhere in Africa.

Sure NOW that I am getting married! (4, Funny)

TheLoneCabbage (323135) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552399)

It figures... 3 months after I choke on the cost of a rock for my fiancee they release a diamond the size of her head... is there anything these days that doesn't go obsolete?

Next you'll be telling me my new computer is obsolete.

There's always something biger, faster, more sparkly.

MSN down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12552415)

sorry can anyone confirm if msn is down?

Work with me here (1)

tezza (539307) | more than 8 years ago | (#12552423)

I read an article in The Independent the other day. It was about the decline of a very high value item created under oppressive wage conditions. The Hat [independent.co.uk].

The two main causes were:

1. Teddy Kennedy not wearing one on TV
2. The car and its low ceiling.

So to come all the way back to Diamonds, we would need:

1. Brittney Spears' fourth husband gives her a Modern Diamond.
2. Semiconducting and coating technologies.

Give it time, it will happen. As an adjunct, what will help 1. is that now humans will be in control of the fabrication process, instead of tectonic movements. So potentially we'll be able to fabricate pink, yellow, chartruse diamonds as well. If your fiancee asks for a leopard print diamond ring, run.

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