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Yiwu Bayuan Jewelry Manufactory

Address: Yi Dong Industry Zone, Yi Wu City, Zhejiang Province, China


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Diamonds Have Long Been Considered Extraordinarily Valuable

Diamonds have long been considered extraordinarily valuable, and have been traded as a commodity for thousands of years. According to the Gemological Institute of America, the stones first gained commercial popularity in India, where diamond trading began as early as the 4th century BC. During the Middle Ages, caravans that unearthed diamonds in India's rivers traded them with Western Europe, where they became coveted by the upper class. The world's diamond capital moved from India to Brazil in the 1700s, and then to South Africa, when a giant diamond mine was discovered in the city of Kimberley in 1866. In 1888, British businessman Cecil Rhodes established his mining company, De Beers, in the country, and effectively founded the diamond industry as we now know it.

A century before this, however, scientists began their quest to make diamonds in a lab. Ignited by Antoine Lavoisier's discovery that diamonds were merely a crystalline form of carbon, the result of pressure deep within the earth, in the late 1700s, little progress was made for nearly 200 years.

Then came General Electric. Physical chemist H.Tracy Hall joined its "Project Superpressure," and in 1954, after nearly four years of synthetic diamond experimentation, Hall lead his team to a breakthrough. They were able to create small diamonds after heating carbon to 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit and applying extreme pressure with a heavy hydraulic press — a method referred to as high pressure and temperature, or HPHT. According to the New York Times, Hall's knees buckled when he realized he had cracked the code.

While the stones Hall's method created had the same chemical makeup as natural diamonds, they were brown in color and so were put to industrial use. A diamond's exceptional properties (it is one of the hardest natural material on the planet, the most effective heat conductor, and largely unaffected by most acids) make it ideal for drilling, grinding, and cutting.

But GE wasn't the only one on the synthetic scene. In 1952, a scientist named William Eversole, who was working for the Union Carbide Corporation, a Texas-based chemical company, also created lab-grown diamonds by employing a method called chemical vapor deposition, or CVD, in which a diamond is grown when a gas cloud of carbon hovers over a tiny diamond seed in a heated vacuum chamber, adding layers of crystal onto the seed. Union Carbide initially didn't go to market with its new discovery, while GE got a patent for its method and began selling lab-growns in 1958, turning out 750,000 carats in a single year.