Synthetic Diamonds - JBs Comments on JPs Comments

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JBs Comments on JPs Comments on

Natural vs. Synthetic Diamonds

July, 1995



I believe JP has completed a quite thorough initial investigation into this subject.  His conclusion, that no simple test is available, seems well founded.


For development of a product, this field looks to be fraught with danger.  Most if not all characteristics are heavily dependent on doping, impurities, and specific manufacturing techniques.


A possible single test is for magnetic or simply iron inclusions.  We could perhaps eliminate the need for a SQUID magnetometer by subjecting the stone to a varying field and measuring the force on it, using a sharp filter to see only the frequency we are exciting.  This might give a very sensitive measurement.  However, it could be easily obsoleted by changes in synthetic manufacturing processes which eliminate these iron inclusions, for this reason I do not like it.


Another possible single test is a holographic filter for detecting dendrites (yeah!), but these do not seem to be so very reliably present in synthetics as would be required.  Simple, but effective?


I believe that any natural vs. synthetic detector must really be a upgradeable system, as the synthetics are in a state of flux (pun intended).  Such an instrument must measure many properties, and its interpretation of these measurements can then be programmed in an upgrade.


The only way I see this happening is to use a measurement technique which produces a spectrum of results.  To me it is quite impracticable if not simply distasteful to attempt to combine different measuring technologies in one instrument.


The characteristics which JP unearthed that strike me as possible providing such a spectrum are:


    UV fluorescence (optical spectrum of emitted light)

    UV phosphorescence (optical spectrum of emitted light)


In conclusion, although it is a promising field in terms of demand for a product, I believe it will be a rapidly changing field in terms of properties of the synthetics, and a slow R & D cycle for such an instrument, which would be definitely required, might be lost in the dust.  I can only see an upgradeable system as worth any attempt at development.  Further initial research into these "spectral" approaches might well be warranted (another summer project?), but without an indication of a promising approach I could not see expending great resources (i.e., multiple man-years) on this field.

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