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Inside De Beers’s Hunt for Africa’s Elusive Diamonds

 

In Kalahari Desert, miner attempts to uncover next big discovery—without which the industry faces diminishing output
By Scott Patterson

Oct. 23, 2015 3:33 a.m. ETKALAHARI DESERT, Botswana—Crouching in the sun-scorched sand, De Beers geologist Charles Skinner picked up an ashy, white cylinder of rock and looked for shimmering evidence that an ancient volcano was sitting below his feet, containing billions of dollars’ worth of diamonds.Mr. Skinner is at the vanguard of a new effort by diamond merchant De Beers to uncover the first major diamond mine in at least 20 years. De Beers last year...


GIA Offers $1.5 Million in Scholarships for 2015

GIA 10 29Act now – application period ending soon

GIA (Gemological Institute of America) is now accepting applications for 200+ scholarships for its Gemology and Jewelry Manufacturing Arts programs, courses and lab classes. GIA scholarships, which total $1.5 million for 2015, align with the Institute’s goals of providing quality education in gemology and jewelry to the trade and aspiring professionals. Applications for the current scholarship cycle are available now through Oct. 31 at http://www.gia.edu/scholarships.

Synthetic Diamonds Offer Hope For Early And Effective Treatment Of Deadly Cancers

diamonds 22Could it be that diamonds are more than just a girl’s best friend – and are instrumental in the early detection and treatment of some of the worst types of cancer?

Physicists at the University of Sydney’s ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems have found a way to use nanoscale or synthetic “diamonds” to identify cancerous tumors before they turn life-threatening.

Bond's best watches

With the imminent release of SPECTRE, we look at the timepieces that have steered Bond through dramas and kept him punctual for those femme fatales.

James Bond opener

The hifalutin Aston Martin car chases and handsome tailoring might have already garnered attention, but Bond’s latest outing in SPECTRE, which premieres next week, also nods to a rich horological heritage that the character champions to grand effect. Since he slipped a weighty Rolex Submariner on his wrist in 1962’s Doctor No (starring Sean Connery), Bond’s watches have acted as plot devices and wingmen in times of trouble: thanks to Q’s tinkering they’ve come with gauges to monitor radioactivity, miniature buzzsaws, garrotting wire, lasers, a electromagnetic device designed to divert bullets and a detonator. The Swiss watch manufactures might enthuse about myriad complications, but these pieces can fell a man at 50 paces.

The Most Iconic Jewelry in Movies

TitanicHeart of the OceanPrecious jewels have provided fodder for drama practically since drama was invented, with precious stones and trinkets used as plot devices in plays written as far back as 100 B.C. As man-made substitutes such as rhinestones, moissanite and cubic zirconium started making the market for seemingly-precious stones more, well, precious, so did the real thing become more dramatic to seek out on film. Here are a few of the most sought after, revered and iconic pieces of jewelry dramatized for our viewing pleasure.

Why De Beers makes beautiful diamonds it will never sell to you

DeBeersLONDON - Scientists at De Beers can make near-flawless diamonds in a lab, but they will never sell you one.

The 127-year-old mining company's Element Six unit, named for the carbon atom's rank on the periodic table, makes gems that are as perfect as any found at Tiffany & Co. stores, yet their destination is a 1980s office complex on the edge of London. There, a team of 62 studies their creations and develops machines for diamond buyers trying to spot synthetic stones being peddled as the real thing.

While still a small part of the market, man-made diamonds are now being mass produced, and retailers like Wal-Mart Stores sell them to customers seeking cheaper alternatives. But because the gems are almost indistinguishable from those naturally formed, some sellers have tried to pass off synthetic types as ones that have been mined. Parcels in Indian cutting centers were found to contain a mixture of man-made and mined gems. For De Beers, formerly a near-monopoly distributor that both ruled and nurtured the market, cheaters pose a risk to consumer confidence in an $80 billion global industry.

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