Friday, December 3, 2021

Lab Created Diamonds and Wrist Tops




Richard Alan

Call them what you will, manmade diamonds, created diamonds or even lab created, many of you reading this probably never even heard of such things, especially consumers who have not been in the market to buy diamonds in the last decade or so. Oh, I still get an occasional geriatric couple who have not been involved with even the notion of purchasing a diamond since before the invention of the color TV and can’t understand why they are so darned expensive today.

Go figure? That was around the same time you could buy a Marco waterfront lot with a Deltona home for the outrageous price of $25,000!

On another note, I recently read somewhere that there are actually enough diamonds on this planet to fill a coffee cup for every human being on Earth. “I’ll take my cup full of five carats of gem quality please, hold the cream and sugar.”

So how can something that is apparently in large supply cost so much?

They can’t all be the prettiest diamonds in those coffee cups. Most diamonds end up in drill bits or grinding wheels (over 80% of mined diamonds are not suitable for the jewelry industry).

Gem quality diamonds are of course very expensive because they are rare in nature. Judging by the dismal quality stones I have been seeing set in some new engagement rings lately many are slipping through quality controls these past years.

Part of the problem is that there is a huge wholesale market for horrible quality one carat diamonds in the $1,000 to $2,000 price range, and some uncaring jewelers can sometimes more than double their investment on one single stone. The only thing I can’t figure out is how a salesperson could keep a straight face during the process of presenting it, the diamond would have to be shown in a dark showroom, or the customer is totally inebriated or blind or both. (I mean no disrespect to the visually impaired but even a seeing eye dog would not choose these diamonds if he or she had a choice.) Nevertheless it’s a fact, I see this junk on ladies’ fingers all the time, and the naive still buy them.

There is another factor; a very large percentage of people purchasing diamonds would not know the difference between a good or bad diamond. Many get taken over the coals price-wise, some get exactly what they paid for, and some are duped beyond belief. I know I appraise diamonds practically every business day. Everybody’s happy when my appraisal is spot on the money that he or she paid, woe is the moment when my number is nowhere near their recently purchased number and I mean a serious “the jeweler got the gold and they got the shaft.”

So now the public has a new choice… lab created diamonds, and guess what? They aren’t cheap either! I fathom to find a reason to sell them in my shop, just what I need, customers expressing doubt that the real mined diamonds they are finally buying from me after a fine jewelry famine of nearly ten years are possibly lab created? That means fake, right? According to the scientists who created the created diamonds both are made from the same thing…carbon, and then again so is the lead in your #2 pencil. They are trying to convince me and you the process is much quicker than the million or so years Mother Nature takes to create the same thing.

I refuse to sell them and now I have to go out and purchase a new expensive and complicated created diamond-testing contraption so I don’t get taken over the coals when I buy my natural diamonds.

It makes no sense to me that many of my longtime natural mined diamond suppliers from all over the U.S. are telling me to get on the bandwagon and sell this stuff. It’s like being a Rolls Royce dealer who also sells used mopeds!

I’m being told lab created diamonds will be the best thing since the iPad or the new Apple Dick Tracy web watch, or whatever that damn thing is.

Oh a word to the wise: Don’t bring your new fangled two-way radio wrist phone thingy to your local jeweler when it’s on the fritz or you have the inability to set the planet’s twenty-four different time zones or how to monitor the oceans’ tides in twenty-four countries.

For Pete’s sake it’s not a wristwatch, it’s a personal computer on your wrist, or as I call them – an “arm pad device.” I for one don’t know a darn thing about them and let’s be honest, if you are not exactly the sharpest technology tool in the shed, or an M.I.T. graduate you have no business buying one in the first place. Wow! That felt good expressing how I feel about that!

Now that I’m on the subject of a thing making no sense, last month I was in the boondocks (We’re talking for real country) in upper central

Florida for a visit to see my youngest daughter. I was very surprised this town even heard of the World Wide Web. Although while seeking directions I was duly informed by the clerk at the local Ace Hardware/hay, feed and tackle store that the town had two working traffic signals, one sheriff and a deputy. While enjoying a quick bite in the one-and-only breakfast joint in town, a local middle-aged+ couple in well-worn Sunday “going to meeting” attire asked if they could join me and my friend, “Seeing we was sitting at the only large table with all them extree chairs.” While looking over their menus they immediately started to complain about the establishment’s cost for a breakfast special that included coffee, orange juice, two eggs, ham or bacon, grits or potato… all for $4.95, and then he asked if the orange juice was an endless glass. I nearly spit out my coffee when I noticed they were both wearing black Apple fangled wrist computer things and soon sat there comparing Friday’s Wall Street closing numbers and interesting stocks they should buy? Well dunk me in sheep’s dip! 

I honestly hate my cell phone, I misplace (purposely lose?) it sometimes for days and don’t even miss it, heck my daughter just showed me how to check my missed calls…all eighty-five of them, so I certainly don’t want one strapped to my wrist. I had to mention that cyber-country weekend experience because it totally blew my mind.

While I admit when it comes to the technology highway I may still be on a dirt road in some respects, and I like it that way just fine, as far as diamonds go, I’ll take mine natural thank you.

Richard Alan is a designer/goldsmith and a dealer of natural diamonds for over forty-five years and is the owner of The Harbor Goldsmith of Marco Island and welcomes your questions about “all that glitters.”

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