Archive for September 2012

 
 

The Russian Diamond Deposit

Well, people have been talking about it for days now: the Russians are said to have released formerly classified information regarding a diamond deposit discovered by scientists in the 1970s which is said to contain over 1 trillion carats of diamonds. Needless to say, reading and hearing some of the comments regarding the news has been at times laughable, so we’re here to shed some light on the subject.

Where did this deposit come from?

Apparently, a meteor hit an area in what is now Russia about 35 million years ago. The impact of the meteor would have given immense pressure (and temperature) when it hit the earth. At this point, it could be possible, given the right conditions, that carbon would have formed into diamonds. The diamonds found at this site have now been dubbed “impact diamonds”.

Where is the deposit located?

The deposit is said to be located in a 62-mile (100km) crater known as Popigai Astroblem, in Siberia. The site is roughly 4,300kms from Moscow.

Are we all going to be able to get cheap diamonds now!?

No. The diamonds found in this deposit are not gem-grade diamonds, they’re industrial grade. This would have no effect on diamond jewellery markets.

It’s also important to note that most diamond mines become economically viable because of the amounts of gem-quality diamonds which are expected to be produced. The reason being is that gem-grade diamonds are worth about 100 times more than industrial grade diamonds (also known as “bort”). For example, some Canadian Mines (which are located in some of the most extreme climates in the world, and thus, very expensive to mine…such as those in Siberia) have a better than average gem-grade output, and are thus economically viable (read this article: http://laminedor.ca/blog/?p=23).

In fact, this morning Alrosa (Russia’s primary mining arm) has said that mining the deposit would not likely be feasible. See the article here.

Therefore, this deposit would have little effect on the majority of mines which base their output on gem-grade diamond production. However, those pushing tight margins would definitely feel the pinch because they may depend on the little extras from their industrial-grade output.

So what’s so special about this deposit?

First off, the sheer magnitude of the deposit is astounding. It’s being said that there would be enough diamonds to supply global demand for another 3,000 years. All this being said, 1 trillion carats is a whopping number, so long as it’s mineable.

Also, it’s being said that the diamonds are 10 times harder than normal diamonds; which would mean that the atomic structure would be somewhat different. If this is the case, these diamonds could potentially revolutionize the tech and manufacturing industries which need industrial diamonds to operate.

Case in point: if economically mineable, this deposit could be fantastic for high-tech and manufacturing industries.

What kind of false statements have you seen and heard?

Well, a couple articles ( like this one) had pictures of beautiful gem-grade diamonds alongside their articles. As this could be misleading to many, here’s a picture of industrial grade diamonds versus gem grade diamonds in their rough form:  

We also noticed a statement regarding the value of the diamonds expressed in terms of gem grade value (see the article here).  The only price this could affect is the price of industrial grade diamonds, which cost 100 times less than gem-quality diamonds.

Are the Russians coming!?

No, the Russians have been involved in diamond mining since the 1950s; they mine, they sort, they cut, they manufacture jewellery, and have distribution and marketing channels…they have it all!

 

Kind regards,

 

The La Mine d’Or Family

Gold Allergies vs Gold Purity

About a week ago a client inquired as to whether we used unpure gold because her ring made her finger turn green. So we’d like to shed some light on the subject.

Pure gold is defined as 99.99% and is normally termed 24K gold. Although having jewellery made out of pure gold would be nice (and shiny!), but pure gold by itself is too malleable to be used in jewellery. Therefore, gold is mixed with other base metals which include copper, tin, and nickel; however, other metals have been used in recent times such as iron, palladium, cadmium, platinum, and silver (more on this later). Depending on the percentage of pure gold in the mixture, the gold is designated as 18K (75% pure gold), 14K (58.3% pure gold), or 10K (41.7% pure gold). In Canada, the percentage of gold inside each mixture is strictly regulated by the Precious Metals Marking Act and must adhere to strict tolerances. There is also oversight from the Canadian Jewellers Association in this regard.

Over the years, certain metals were popularly used in gold mixtures. One of the best examples was the use of Nickel in making white gold. Nickel fell out of popularity in more recent times because some people were getting allergic reactions to the metal. Thus, other metals such as Palladium have become more widely used because of its hypo-allergenic properties.

Can you be allergic to gold? Almost impossible. Allergies to 24K pure gold are so rare that it’s considered hypo-allergenic by many. The allergic reactions always come from one of the base metals mixed with the gold. If you see allergic reactions to 10K gold, try purer gold; i.e., 14K or 18K. If all else fails, stick with platinum.

Why is my finger turning green? What normally happens is a chemical reaction from the acids in your skin and the metals from the ring which causes an allergic reaction. Also, this (and other irritations) can be caused by the ring coming into contact with other substances such as lotions or chemical cleaners on your hand.

What do I do? If you really want to know where the allergy comes from, you should definitely have an allergy test done. Try different qualities of gold; most allergies will show themselves within 24 hours, so try 14K and 18K gold to see if you get the same allergic reactions. Visit this link for a good overview of what 18K gold can be mixed with. You never know, you may be allergic to a base metal used in white gold but not in yellow gold.

We’re always inspired by you. If you’d like us to write about a jewellery related topic, please send us an email at info@laminedor.ca.

Kind regards,

The La Mine d’Or Family

The Truth about Diamond Certificates

EDITORIAL NOTE: It should be noted that labs do not “certify” anything, they issue reports based on their educated opinions and interpretation of the data from the instrumentation they possess. While reading this article, the term “certificate” should not be interpreted as being “certified”, as labs only offer a subjective opinion based on their own standards.

People often wonder about the added value of a diamond certificate, but the fact of the matter is that certain certificates aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. A trustworthy jeweller is much more important than a diamond certificate.

Diamond certification began with the advent of new standards for a “common language” in the industry. At the time, people would use a variety of different lingo to describe diamonds and diamond quality; however, this was often very misleading for consumers. Thus, in the 1940’s and 1950’s the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) developed and implemented a standard to diamond grading which included a language everyone could use to communicate diamond grades. Since then, many diamond labs have adopted variances of this standard; some better than others.

Today, the GIA continues to set the industry standard for diamond grading. Through scientific methods requiring consensus between three gemologists and very specific guidelines as to how diamonds are to be graded, a GIA Diamond Dossier actually comes at a premium when valuing a diamond; however, no other diamond certification commands this type of authority. In fact, some certifications are so poor that they may hinder a jeweller’s credibility (and reputation) when a more knowledgeable source informs a client that the diamond they have purchased hardly reflects the grading report associated to it.

Does this mean that all other certifications other than a GIA Diamond Dossier is worthless? Absolutely not! In fact, it’s quite the opposite. For instance, a diamond certificate can help you identify your diamond. The point here is with regard to the certificate’s accuracy, and this is where your jeweller’s job begins. A good jeweller will have the proper credentials to make an educated decision as to whether the certificate is accurate. That’s why GIA Certified Jewellers are held to a higher standard; they use the GIA’s standard when determining if a diamond matches its grading report. If the diamond doesn’t make the grade on the report, it’s sent back…period.

A trustworthy jeweller will never be afraid to explain to you exactly why a diamond is graded a particular way. Your jeweller should be there to guide you and educate you. Don’t be afraid to ask; seeing your diamond through a microscope can be an amazing experience which can show you why your diamond is as unique as the moment it symbolizes.

Remember, if the deal seems to good to be true, it probably is.

Kind regards,

The La Mine d’Or Family