It’s 12:11 p.m, March 18, 2003. Last night, the President of our country
said that we are going to war. It all seems so surreal to me
watching our reporters in Baghdad, watching the Iraqi people scramble to
prepare and watching Saddam laugh it all off. I never thought wars could
be scheduled; I thought that wars just broke out like the measles or
something. It’s hard to believe it’s come to this. Preemptive strikes to
prevent a preemptive strike. In a book I just recently read there is a
wonderful line I’ll never forget as long as I live (the book by the way is, ‘My
Losing Season’ by Pat Conroy). ‘America is a good enough country to die
for even when she is wrong.’ I don’t know if creating horror to
prevent horror makes sense but I do know I have a lot of freedoms today
because many men before me stood up to be counted when the going
got tough. We all need to stand up now and support our men and
women in the Armed Forces and their families. Nobody knows what the
future holds but we can make it to the other side if we just stay together.
One country, undivided, we stand. God Bless America!
P.S. Here’s a sneak preview of next month’s article of the month,
‘Synthetic Diamonds, The Final Frontier.’
Talk to ya next month,
‘Space’¦’¦the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship
Enterprise. Its five year mission:’¦to explore strange new worlds’¦to seek
out new life and new civilizations’¦,to boldly go where no man has gone
before’. Those were the opening words spoken by William Shatner from
his 1960’s hit ‘Star Trek’. Anybody who is old enough will remember how
exciting it was when Star Trek came on. Even though I was just a little kid I
still remember running through the house screaming at the top of my
lungs ‘DAD!, DAD! STAR TREK IS ON, STAR TREK IS ON!’ Together we
would sit in our living room and explore those new worlds. It almost felt
as if we were on the Starship Enterprise ourselves, one of its 430 officers
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
I’ve always been fascinated with the unknown; with new ideas, new
inventions, new discoveries. Every day I marvel at mankind’s ingenuity.
For example, who would have thought 30 years ago we’d actually be
holding a cordless hand-held device that allows us not only to
speak but see each other from great distances? Not me! Maybe Gene
Roddenberry the creator of Star Trek had some idea. How else would he
show Captain Kirk conversing with Scotty or Mr. Spock back on the
Enterprise from a planet he was just beamed down to. (P.S.Â To all you
inventors out there I’m still waiting for the transporter).
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
In 1954 General Electric produced the first synthetic diamond. A
synthetic diamond is a rock that has all the properties (durability,
hardness, refractive index, etc) of a natural diamond but was made by
man. Not to be confused with simulants (those that look
similar to a diamond but don’t have the same properties) like glass, cubic
zirconia, moissanite. Think about it, man was able to create in a
laboratory what it took Mother Nature 100 million years (the minimum time
required for a natural diamond to incubate) to do. WOW! But as much as
that blows your mind I’ll tell you something more incredible! What didn’t
happen in 1955? Can you guess? That’s right, no synthetic diamonds in
the market place! Not in 56, 57, 58, or in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s or early 90’s!
Man figures out how to make diamonds then man doesn’t do
anything with the discovery? Why? Let’s look at the facts. Right after
General Electric learns how to synthesize a diamond (which by the
way wins a Nobel Prize for P.W. Bridgeman of their company) G.E is
interviewed about the details and they say ‘We’ve only learned how
to grow industrial quality (not sufficient quality to be cut into a gem for a
piece of jewelry but rather to be used for drill bits, semi-conductors, and
such).’Â It would be 16 long painstaking years before man would not only
walk on the moon but create a gem quality diamond the likes of Mother
Nature.Â G.E is interviewed again and I quote ‘We’ve
conquered the next hurdle; we can now produce transparent gem quality
diamonds in an attractive size.Â There’s only one problem.Â
They cost more to grow than to find, cut and polish.’Â End of story?Â Not
hardly!Â Another quarter century would go by when a little company called
Gemesis Corporation would raise their hand and say ‘I think I can do it. I
think I can figure out how to grow a diamond cheaper than it costs to find
one.’Â The problem was very few people were listening and those that did
just scoffed.Â ‘If General Electric in partnership with DeBeers can’t figure
out the secret to growing diamonds at a profit there’s no way some little
start up company is going to figure it out!’Â Know what?! THEY WERE
WRONG!Â Flash forward to present day.Â Not only has Gemesis figured
out how to grow white diamonds but they’ve figured out how to grow the
tremendously expensive fancy colors–the blues, canary yellows, and
oranges and even the million dollar per carat reds!Â I know what you’re
probably saying, ‘Fred, if this is true why isn’t it in all the newspapers, on
TV and radio?’Â Well, the reason is only now have companies like
Gemesis grown enough raw diamonds to be able to meet the inevitable
demand onslaught!Â It makes no sense to go public when you don’t have
enough supply to meet the demand.
Two weeks ago I had the honor and privilege to talk to Carlos Valeiras
(the President and CEO of Gemesis).Â Here is a portion of my interview.
Question:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Mr. Valeiras how exciting it must be to be at the
forefront of technology.Â How did you get involved?
Answer:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â ‘First and foremost I want to thank you for taking
time from your busy schedule to let me share with the world what our little
company has been up to for the last few years.Â The initial groundwork for
synthetic diamonds began for us with trials that had been done in Russia
and the University of Florida in 1996.Â It was a short time after that I was
approached with the opportunity to be an investor.Â It was only recently that
I was offered the position of CEO.
Question:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Mr. Valeiras I know
you’ve unlocked the secrets to growing diamonds that encompass all the
colors of the rainbow, so what will you serve up as a first course to the
diamond buying public?
Answer:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â While certainly there is a
strong demand for the whites, the canary diamonds (yellow) are easier to
grow and will offer the best price point to the public.Â Using your words,
that will be our first course along with the oranges.
Question:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â What kind of price breaks will you be able to offer
from the naturals?
Answer:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The canaries and oranges will be offered at about 1/2
the going price of the naturals.
Question:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â You said that you can grow the whites.Â What’s
keeping you from offering the whites right now?
Answer:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â We can currently produce about 600cts of rough a
month and we’re moving every piece!Â Since the canaries are more
profitable for us and offer the best savings to the end consumer we’re not
going to add the whites till we can fulfill the demand for the yellows.
Question:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â When do you see that happening?
Answer:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â We had originally projected this summer but we’re
only scratching the surface on the yellow and orange demand.Â I don’t
think we will be able to turn our attention to the whites till next summer
(2004).Â But we’re also looking at the blues.Â There is a strong demand for
them which must be filled before we go white on a commercial scale.Â We
know the success of our company depends on being able to offer
anything the public wants.
Question:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â How big is the finished product you’re ending up
Answer:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â We can currently offer anywhere from 1 1/2 to 1 3/4ct.Â In
the future we’ll be adding larger core areas (device needed to grow the
crystals) so we could theoretically grow any size.
Question:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Final question, how would anybody know they are
looking at a synthetic versus a natural?
Answer:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â All of our synthetics will most likely be laser
inscribed identifying them as lab created. The diamonds will be marketed
under the brand name Gemesis Cultured„¢ Diamond.
The Synthetics Arrive
After my interview with Carlos Valeiras he promptly sent over a parcel of
yellows and oranges for me to view (see photographs links below). When
I opened the packages all I can tell you is I was overwhelmed! These
synthetics are beautiful! I looked at them in different lighting conditions
and ran the usual tests*. When I was done I set up an unscientific study
where I asked people around my office what they thought. Their
responses ranged from ‘oh my, how gorgeous’ to ‘wow what are those?’
Everyone I talked to had their breath taken away!
In closing, I want to congratulate the folks at Gemesis for their wonderful
work and for taking us to a place no man has gone before!
To view pictures of the Synthetics taken by world renowned photographer
Jose Garcia, click on the links below.
*For all you scientists out there who want all the technical studies I
suggest reviewing the article ‘Gemesis Laboratory-created Diamonds’ by
Gems and Gemology winter 2002.