Russians weren’t the first to produce synthetic diamonds in the laboratory – that honour went to the United States firm General Electric in the 1950s. But they weren’t far behind, and Russia is now one of the foremost centres of man made diamond production. Most of the best synthetic diamonds on the market today come from Russia, and Russian innovation looks like it will keep Russian firms at the forefront of the market.
The first Russian lab diamonds were produced in the 1970s, and usually were used for industrial and military purposes. Russian man made diamonds were also used quite extensively in the space programme, and one major brand of Russian diamonds, the Russian Brilliants range, traces its origins back to the Russian Space Optics programme.
When thinking about man made diamonds, most people think of Moissanite and cubic zircona, but actually many diamonds today are made in exactly the same way as real diamonds – only much, much quicker. A real diamond takes millions of years to form, but in a lab, they can now be created in just days. One diamond producer told MSN:
“We’ve essentially recreated the same conditions that occur hundreds of miles below the surface,” says David Hellier, president of Gemesis, the Florida company that specializes in growing colored diamonds. “After about four and a half days, we get a three-carat rough diamond. From that day forward, there’s no difference between that diamond and one that comes from the ground.”
Most people can’t tell the difference between a man made diamond and a genuine diamond and, if you believe the claims of some of the companies selling these diamonds, even the experts are fooled sometimes. Which, when you consider that you can buy Russian created diamonds at a fraction of the price of a real diamond, makes them an incredible deal for the cost-conscious romantic. Wedding rings, earrings and all kinds of diamond jewellery suddenly became an awful lot cheaper for the average man (or woman) in the street.