Diamonds Education Gemstones Technical Uncategorized

Lab Created Gem Stones the Verneuil Process

Created deep in the earth under tremendous heat and pressure gemstones are a natural wonder serving as a reminder of natures beauty and power. They have always bee sought after and coveted by man kind all across the world for their beauty and rarity. But with today’s advances in technology and our understanding of chemistry allow man to do what took nature millions of years in just a tiny fraction of the time. There are several processes capable of creating precious gemstones that are chemically and optically identical to their natural counter parts. The Fusion or Verneuil process was the first to be developed.

The first viable process developed by Verneuil in 1902 is still the simplest and most cost effective process to date and is still widely in use. It requires 99.9995% pure powder of the stone you’re wishing to create as well as any additives required for the desired color or other desired characteristics. The powder is dropped slowly down a funnel where it falls through a flame that melts the powder as it falls through creating droplets of molten metal. The droplets fall on to a small rod below that is slowly lowered as the molten material builds up. This process is very similar to how icicles form, water running down and freezing as it reaches the tip slowly building up over time.

The resulting material is chemically identical to a natural ruby, sapphire or whichever stone you’re forming. The only way to differentiate a stone created in this process from a natural gemstone is the planes in the crystal formation. If the stone was formed in nature these planes would all run parallel to each other however a lab stone created in this fashion would have a slight curve to these planes most notably along the peripheries.

Lab created gemstones can be just a beautiful as their natural counter parts and are fraction of the cost to consumers. While the vast majority of them are used for industrial purposes they are becoming ever more present in the consumer jewelry market place. Strict regulations on the marketing and sale of manmade gemstones are in place to protect consumers from having these stones origins misrepresented. It may be considered a Faux Pas to use lab created gemstones but beauty is in the eye of the beholder and they are not going to know the difference anyway. Check out some of these images of the process below.

A lab created Ruby made using the fusion process.
Pure Alumina Powder used in the creation of Rubies and Sapphires.
Custom Jewelry Designer Spotlights Diamonds Education Uncategorized

Designer Spotlight: Rachel Boston

Rachel is a London born and based jewelry designer, educated at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design as well as the Gemological Institute of America. She is becoming more and more recognized for her work as she was nominated for New Designer of the Year at the UK Jewellery Awards, and chosen as only one of seven designers to exhibit in the “Made in London:Jewellery Now” exhibition in the Museum of London.

Rachel’s design signature is strong natural setting with often aggressive posturing and a nod to London punk rock. There is a sophisticated edge to her designs and a quality about it that keeps it off the shelves of hot topic and on those of luxury retailers. Boston has risen near the top of new designers all driving raw organic designs, with her attention to detail and direct response to the natural inclusions within stones. From the Cosmos Collection of stunning diamond slices with delicate ballet of inclusions rivaling a Cy Twombly painting, to the living forms of “The Ritual” Collection Boston has done the booming trend right.

Here are a few of our favorite pieces of Rachel’s. Explore her collections and find something that sparks a creative fire in you to make your own Boston inspired custom piece.

Lizard Skin Cuff - Rachel Boston
Lizard Skin Cuff – Rachel Boston


Custom Jewelry Diamonds Education Hearts & Arrows Diamonds Uncategorized

Custom Making Jewelry (Part 2 Diamond Guide)


The comments that Peter made in his last entry on the importance of research are well taken. This applies equally to both the mounting and to the center stone. I am still surprised that frequently during our initial meeting customers have little idea what they are hoping to create. This obviously throws the creative ball solidly into my court as far as design and although I am always game to move in what I feel is the appropriate direction, it is obviously helpful if there is some input at the outset. After all, our goal is to thrill the customer, not me. As Peter notes, a tour of the local jewelry stores really is a great place to start. Make it fun, commit a Saturday to inspiration and education (if you are lucky….). Include a stop for a special lunch – maybe a glass of wine….This exercise may also provide an opportunity to do some diamond research. If you do intend to look at diamonds here are a list of basic questions and recommendations that might help you elicit whatever information is available:
Ask if the diamond certified by an independent grading authority such as the Gemological Institute of America. If not by GIA then find out by which one. Bear in mind that not all grading authorities were created equal and that some companies even offer their own very convincingly packaged certificates claiming characteristics that have not been independently verified. .
Insist on getting the SPECIFIC color and clarity grades of the diamond? By this I mean do not settle for a range such as “GHI” or VS2 to SI2, or generalizations such as “all our diamonds are blue white”. If a range is offered and the stone is of interest then insist on specific grades for both color and clarity. Inform the store that it is your intention to have the diamond independently graded by a certified gemologist. Say that you will require written documentation detailing the specific color and clarity as a condition of purchase and check on their return policy if the diamond has been misrepresented in any way.
Ask if the diamond has fluorescence. Fluorescence is a fairly complex subject and it is a characteristic that is not always discussed (or visible) in jewelry stores. It may not be noticeable until seen under the correct fluorescent light. Generally speaking fluorescence in white stones is not considered desirable. In slightly off color stones, perhaps in the J/K color area, faint fluorescence may slightly minimize yellowness. Stronger fluorescence may make the diamond appear milky or cloudy in certain lighting conditions. Regardless, fluorescence should be reflected in the pricing of diamonds and should be disclosed.
Ask to see the diamond under a microscope. You do not have to know what you are looking for, but casually asking with confidence may change the demeanor and approach of a salesperson and make them more inclined to share important information. If the store does not offer a microscope for the use of clients that raises a red flag. To me that’s a little like asking someone to buy a house without going inside as all inclusions in diamonds that are given SI2 or better clarity grades by GIA require magnification to be visible.
If anywhere during their presentation the salesperson uses the expression “trust me” – RUN!