September 10, 2008

Man-Made Diamonds Closer to Perfect

A U.S. company says it is ready to take its diamond-making process into the marketplace and produce high-quality gems at a reasonable price.

Stephen Lux, founder of Gemesis Corp., told the San Francisco Chronicle Wednesday its machines could produce a 3-carat diamond every four days.

The process involves using particles of natural diamond dust that are combined with metal and graphite and then subjected to intense heat and pressure.

"These are diamonds," Lux said. "Just from a different origin: a lab."

Lux was in San Francisco this week for what was billed as the first diamond show to exclusively display diamonds produced in the laboratory.

So far, Gemesis can only produce colored diamonds. However, work continues on the more mainstream colorless stones. If eventually accepted by consumers, man-made diamonds could fill supply shortages and satisfy demand for diamonds that do not come from war-ravaged areas of Africa.