“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” according to that old Broadway hit song. BUT, what about all the fake diamonds that are all the rage today, girls?
Imitation diamonds are usually man-made mineral compounds that do have diamond-like qualities and make very attractive jewelry. Unfortunately, however, some claims for simulated diamonds have led a number of buyers too expect too much of them.
If you plan to buy an imitation diamond; ( or someone you know ) please know what mineral compound you’re getting and then be prepared to wear it with special care. Some imitations have qualities of brilliance, but not hardness. Others have some hardness, but with less brilliance. Here’s how they line up:
This mineral compound has plenty of diamond-like brilliance and a fiery look caused by dispersion of white light into flashing colors. According to Dr. George S. Switzer, mineralogy curator; Smithsonian Institution, “Strontium titanate has too much of a fiery look.” A top-grade diamond, he says, has a white, cool look.
The main drawback of a fake diamond made of strontium titanate, however, is its softness. It has a rating of 6 on the hardness scale (diamonds are rated 10 ) and so is easy to scratch or chip.
It;’s not a good idea to use strontium titanate for an engagement or wedding ring if the person thereafter plans to wear it all the time. (In such places as the kitchen, laundry, yard work, or office). However, worn as an occasional dinner ring, pendant, strontium titanate can, and will, make a handsome piece of jewelry.
A carat is a measure of weight—not size! Therefore, to get a strontium titanate stone the size of a three-carat diamond, you’d need five carats!
Hattie Carnegie has a”doublet” diamond imitation made of strontium with a thin cap of synthetic spinel cemented on top. It is marketed under the name Carnegiegem. According to Bernard N. Burnstine, who does diamond appraising for the U. S. Treasury, “the synthetic spinel cap on the Carnegiegem is harder and provides some surface protection (it’s rated 8 on the scale)..........It also cuts down some of the fiery look of the strontium titanate which makes it look more realistic”
But, Burnstine warns that the bottom part of the Carnegie-gem is still relatively soft and should be worn with considerable care.
Synthetic yttrium aluminum garnets (otherwise known as YAGs) make an imitation diamond product that is tougher than strontium titanate but lacks some of the compounds fire and brilliance.
Union Carbide make a YAG product called the Linde stone. Raytheon markets its product through Trifari under the Triamond name. Saks Fifth Avenue sells Liton Industries’ YAG under the Diamonair name.
“Some claims for yttrium aluminum garnet and Carnegiegem imitation diamonds have tended to over-emphasize the hardness factor.” says Robert Crowningshield, director of the Gemological Institute of America. Crowningshield said YAGs (rated at 8.25 on the scale) are harder to scratch or crack than other simulated diamonds but are nowhere near as hard as a real diamond. When, and if, you buy a simulated diamond, says Crowningshield, you must remember it won’t have the continuing value of a real diamond.
The cost of natural (real) industrial diamonds has gone up so fast in the past two years (New York. UPI, 1973) that a huge market for synthetic diamond abrasives is developing, says Dr. H. Tracy Hall.
Hall who lead the scientific team that developed the first commercially successful synthetic diamonds at General Electric Corporation some years ago, now heads Medgadiamond Corp. Of New York, formed to make and market sintered synthetic diamonds for commercial cutting tools.
“I see a market of at least $140 million a year for Megadiamond abrasives,” he says. Megadiamond is the trade name for an artificial carbonado diamond mass developed by Hall that comes sintered into discs, squares, and triangles for insertion in cutting tools. These little units, which sell for as little as $26, are superior to natural diamonds bort (dust) in cutting tools and will last 20 to 50 times as long in a cutting tool as the best tungsten carbide or other nonabrasive, he said.
For years, the United States has been the world’s biggest customer for industrial diamonds used to cut most materials except steel and iron. They are not recommended for cutting iron and steel because of temperature problems.
The Russians and the Japanese have increased their purchases of diamond abrasives rapidly. This has caused the DeBeers Co., which controls an estimated 80% of the natural supply, to raise their prices three times in the past year. (1972)
In addition, American users of imported industrial diamonds have had their costs kited by the two devaluations of the dollar and wage inflation that hit the processing costs in the United States. In 1970, the United States imported 13.37 million carats of industrial diamonds for $49 million out of a world supply of 38.3 million carats. It is since then that the price of the diamond abrasives has gone up so sharply.
Hall’s sintering process makes possible synethetic diamond cutting edges shaped to fit a variety of tools in sizes of up tp 20 carats. The average usable size is fairly small. Unlike the familiar single crystal gem diamond, Hall’s synthetic abrasive is random polycrystalline like the natural carbonado industrial diamond. That means it can be molded into useful forms and will not shatter.
Hall and his associates believe the megadiamond will take an even greater share of the diamond abrasive market and could grab 10% of the market for tungsten carbide and other high-quality nondiamond cutting tools abrasive market rather quickly. They are sintered from either artificial or natural diamond bort at pressures of 1 million pounds per square inch in a tricylindrical press invented Hall.
DID YOU KNOW...the largest colorless diamond ever found
was the Cullinan----3,106 carats
discovered on January 26, 1905
the Premier mine of South Africa
It was cut into nine major stones,
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