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 Education Technical

Modern Wax Making printing & milling

In our increasingly fast paced world traditional manufacturing methods are dying off to make room for automation, cost cutting and mass production. Art forms such as jewelry are quick to adopt new technologies though for slightly different reasons than our more industrial manufacturing counterparts. In any art form one is always pushing the envelope searching for a way to make their vision a reality and let’s be honest, to pay the rent. New methods to generate waxes suitable for lost wax casting are allowing jewelers the world over to create pieces never before possible, or in the least, prohibitively expensive.
First there was CNC milling, a tremendous breakthrough especially when considering its predecessor, hand carving waxes. CNC milling technology has allowed jewelers to produce three to four waxes a day up from one or less. Along with this increase in productivity came greater precision and accuracy to be expected from a mechanical process. Now 3D printing has raced to the forefront allowing for such large scale, precise, rapid prototyping that it has even replaced molds. Designers and customers have been liberated from many of the constraints formerly imposed. Long gone are the days of “how can I open this up so the mill can get in there?”. The pain staking process of creating a scaled master mold and shooting forty pieces is gone and replaced with printing them all at once with confidence they will all be accurate.
Modeling technology is opening new doors every day as the users grow in their understanding of its potential applications. These innovations are making custom jewelry more and more accessible to individuals and DBD plans to use this to make one of, if not the most personal purchases of anyone’s life unique, personal, and fun. Don’t settle for off the shelf jewelry and engagement rings, come enjoy the process of creating a custom piece with Dickinson by Design.