Editorial Gems & Gemology, Fall 2016, Vol. 52, No. 3

Charting the Increasing Availability and Quality of CVD Synthetic Diamonds

Duncan Pay

Welcome to the Fall 2016 Gems & Gemology! This issue brings together synthetic diamonds grown by the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process, a reversible color modification of zircon, and a rich vein of locality articles including sapphires from Russia, a new Madagascar deposit of the rare gem grandidierite, Vietnamese peridot, and Indonesian cultured pearls.

Our lead article, by Drs. Sally Eaton-Magaña and James Shigley, reviews the characteristics and key identifying features of CVD synthetic diamonds based on the study of several hundred faceted examples examined by GIA between 2003 and 2016. This comprehensive summary shows how the volume and quality of CVD diamonds changed from what the authors term the “pre-commercial” phase prior to 2008, to the range and color of material available in today’s jewelry marketplace.

GIA researchers review several hundred CVD synthetics produced between 2003 and 2016.

Our second paper, by Nathan Renfro, might be of great use to jewelers wishing to restore blue zircons that clients have inadvertently altered to unattractive brown. This “ugly duckling” transformation results from accidental exposure to long-wave ultraviolet radiation from tanning beds or other UV lights. The author explores the nature of this change using spectroscopy to confirm whether exposure to visible light might restore the zircons’ blue color.

Next, a team of Russian researchers headed by Svetlana Yuryevna Buravleva describes a new deposit of translucent to semitransparent, blue to pinkish blue sapphire crystals and corundum-bearing rocks at Sutara, in the Jewish Autonomous Region of the Russian Far East. The authors postulate that this deposit formed by metasomatism of the contact zone between carbonate rocks and pegmatite veins.

In our fourth article, lead author Dr. Delphine Bruyère reports on a new occurrence of the rare gem grandidierite in southern Madagascar and provides a gemological characterization of the material, which occurs as bluish green to greenish blue crystals measuring up to 15 centimeters in length. Their analysis confirms that this new locality provides some of the purest grandidierite yet found and will likely be of great interest to museums and collectors.

In our penultimate paper, Dr. Nguyen Thi Minh Thuyet and colleagues review the gemological and geochemical characteristics of peridot from Vietnam’s Central Highlands, noting similarities with material that originates from xenoliths in alkaline basalts from other localities.

In our final article, visit a pearl farm in the pristine waters off the Indonesian island of Lombok, where a team of researchers and industry professionals led by GIA’s Nicholas Sturman capture the recovery of bead-cultured and non-bead-cultured pearls from gold-lipped oysters.

As always, our Lab Notes, Micro-World and Gem News International entries are filled with the latest updates from around the world.

You can also meet the editors and take advantage of special offers on subscriptions and back issues at the G&G booth in the publicly accessible Galleria section (middle floor) of the Tucson Convention Center during the AGTA show, January 31–February 5, 2017. We would be delighted to see you.

We hope you enjoy our Fall issue!