But how did they do it? Well, it sounds absolutely wild, but this is what the scientists did, via the press release:
[The scientists] used gunpowder and compressed gas to propel small graphite disks about the size of a dime at a speed of around 15,000 miles per hour onto a transparent material. The impact produced shockwaves in the disks that very rapidly transformed them into hexagonal diamonds.
Woah. That’s awesome. In testing the diamonds using sound waves, the scientists behind the study found the manmade hexagonal diamonds to be significantly stiffer than natural cubic diamonds.
“Diamond is a very unique material,” Yogendra Gupta, co-author of the study, said in a statement. “It is not only the strongest — it has beautiful optical properties and a very high thermal conductivity. Now we have made the hexagonal form of diamond, produced under shock compression experiments, that is significantly stiffer and stronger than regular gem diamonds.”
This is incredible news for a number of reasons. For starters, the researchers created these diamonds in a large enough size to be studied for the first time. Beyond that, if these kinds of diamonds can be produced efficiently and on a larger scale, they could prove to be even more useful in industrial applications, breaking down at a slower rate and ultimately making the various jobs that require the use of diamonds more efficient.
“Hard materials are useful for machining capabilities,” lead author Travis Volz said in a statement. “Diamond has been used for a long time in drill bits, for example. Since we found that the hexagonal diamond is likely harder than the cubic diamond, it could be a superior alternative for machining, drilling, or any type of application where the cubic diamond is used.”
Despite the challenges experienced in 2020, US consumers expressed strong demand for diamond jewelry throughout the fourth quarter of the year, outstripping demand for other luxury categories and apparel, as they sought out purchases with emotional meaning and enduring value, according to De Beers Group’s sixth Diamond Insight ‘Flash’ Report, published today.
Retailer interviews revealed strong consumer demand for classic diamond jewelry pieces, while research undertaken by De Beers Group in March 2021 also showed the desire for quality and lasting value is expected to continue, with 88% of US consumers surveyed saying they believe that it is better to invest in fewer but better things than in items which are fashionable but may not last.
Meanwhile, the report also provided insights from the latest round of De Beers Group’s bi-annual lab-grown diamond (LGD) tracker via 360 Market Reach, with a national panel of 5,000 respondents. The study found increasing awareness of LGDs among US consumers (with about two-thirds of fine jewelry consumers aware of the concept), allied to a growing perception that LGDs occupy a distinct position in the category as new, modern, fun, and appealing for impulse or self-purchase.
The research showed that consumers differentiate natural diamonds from LGDs by attributing to them the key category territories of “authentic” (60% vs. 6% for LGD); “romantic” (41% vs. 6% for LGD); and “would make me feel special” (37% vs. 3% for LGD). The top US consumer concerns regarding LGDs remained that they were not as rare as natural diamonds and will not retain their value over time, with seven out of 10 consumers stating that they would not pay more than $1,000 for a piece of LGD jewelry.
While 47% of consumers did not agree with the statement that lab-grown diamonds are “real”, consumers will still consider acquiring them as they are perceived as “fun” and “fashionable”, cost less than natural diamonds, and are seen as good for a self-purchase item as an alternative to apparel or leather goods.
A March 2021 De Beers consumer survey highlighted similar consumer sentiment regarding the value of LGDs. In a scenario where consumers buy LGD jewelry and the price of LGDs drops by 50%-60% over the subsequent two year period while natural diamonds remain priced the same or higher, more than half (52%) of American consumers would either be less likely, or simply refuse, to buy fine jewelry from the jewelers who sell them this product. This negative impact is strongest for women, at 58%.
Commenting on the research findings, Steve Coe, CEO of Lightbox Jewelry, stated: "We have always sold our LGDs at a fair and transparent price, derived from a reasonable commercial margin above the actual production cost, rather than hitching it to what a natural diamond’s value might be. Recent LGD price falls simply indicate that we are today where others will likely be tomorrow. Around or below $1,000. Exactly where the consumer wants us to be."
USIA Review have just gathered an exclusive selection of the worlds best and most luxurious fine jewelry designers and institutional brands. Post by Francisco Lacerda, 25th January 2021
Kavant & Sharart