February 2, 2000
"Nova" Covers Familiar Ground
The PBS television show "Nova" aired a much-anticipated program titled "The Diamond Deception" Feb. 1, providing a detailed review of the history of diamond synthesis. The show took viewers back to the 1950s, when General Electric accomplished the first successful production of diamond synthetics.
The program reviewed Russia's recent progress in removing inclusions and improving color in synthetic diamonds, including an agreement with Florida-based Gemesis to market synthetics to consumers on a wide basis for the first time.
"Nova" also illustrated De Beers' efforts to keep up with synthetic detection. The show concluded De Beers eventually would lose the game of "cat and mouse" because, according to the report, Russian scientists are now able to produce synthetics that completely mirror conditions that cause diamond formation in the earth. The show made the assertion that detection will become impossible as the atomic structure of synthetics on the market will be identical to natural diamonds.
The program ended with a look at De Beers' new strategy of branding diamonds from its own supply in a final effort to reassure consumers that its diamonds are natural.
- by Peggy Jo Donahue