THE SITUATION OF THE DIAMOND MARKET | EN

The natural diamond market is experiencing a rather dull period. The perspectives look hard. At the same time the demand for cut or synthetic stones is going through a new leap in the United States as well as in Asia. Decryption.

- ONLY 25 MINES
According to an article published in "Gem Guide", there are only 25 important mines in the world (producing about 62% of the global production), to which must be added some hundred middle-sized mines which, most of the time, are nearing the end of their operation. Even Diavik and Ekati may only be producing for about ten years more. The open sky mines, looking like huge craters (over several square kilometres), then have to be operated underground, which is far more expensive. According to the forecasts of the same report, the demand for cut diamonds is expected to double in the course of the next decade. Recently it has been announced that a new mine in Russia would have spectacular stocks. Unfortunately, it was mainly industrial diamond. Produced mainly by the then Belgian Congo, during and after World War II, industrial diamonds have been faced, as from the 1960s, to the synthetic industrial diamonds produced by the Swedes, the De Beers company, the Soviet Union and later by China. The production of synthetic industrial diamonds is currently eight times more important than the production of natural industrial diamonds. Let us add that industrial diamonds are used till their full disappearance in the processes of hard material drilling, sawing and polishing. Which is not the case for the jewellery diamonds which are "eternal".
 
- THE ALTERNATIVE FOR THE FUTURE
Since the end of the past century, synthetic diamonds have been on the market. Two technologies are being used. The HPHT (high pressure and high temperature), and the CVD (chemical vapour deposition). The former was already used in the 1950s for the creation of industrial diamonds. The latter has been used since the 1980s to harden tools. Currently both technologies are being used to create a diamond that may be used in jewellery.
 
In the course of the 1970s irradiated diamonds appeared on themarket. The coloured stones, mainly green, yellow and brown, did not meet with great success. Currently these stones are enjoying some renewed interest since processing now enables to make another use of those diamonds with less attractive colours. The black diamonds of that period were slightly radioactive after processing, but this problem has now been solved. The new generation black diamonds are indeed processed at high temperatures.
 
The jewellery sector in the United States, whose economy is improving over the end of the year, is already taking coloured (orange and yellow) synthetic diamond sets. How are consumers going to react in Europe or in Asia? Right now they reject that categorically, but what is going to happen in 50 years' time? On the American cut diamond market, the jewellers are making use of processed and synthetic diamonds, HPHT as well as CVD. In some cases, CVD synthetic stones are then HPHT processed or irradiated. The production of synthetic diamonds is increasing each and every year, which entails decreasing prices from time to time. It is hardly possible to say that the price may come close to the price of CZ (cubic synthetic zirconium), since the production costs, for HPHT as well as CVD, remain high.

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