04
Aug
09

Damn you Greg Laden

Why must you always make me think? Every single post makes me reflect on something, generally not even remotely close to what you were talking about, and most often completely unrelated to what you were talking about.  It was even a broken link that I was looking at.

Anyway, now I’m going to take everyone along for my train of thought:

Yes, I do know what Peridot (olivine) is, but upon thinking about it, I was wondering if it could be synthesized like corundum (rubies and sapphires) via the Verneuil process (like sapphires or rubies) or if some other process would be used. In fact, there is a process which can be used to synthesize olivine; it’s called the Czochralski process. While you can’t make very high diameter crystals with this process, you can make them very, very long. So what if they’re only 4 cm wide; they can be 1-2 meters long for a single crystal. That’s a big crystal. They made one that’s 250 carats! The Verneuil process, on the other hand, makes much shorter crystals (1.3 cm), but they can be slightly larger in diameter (5 cm). These stones, even though they are often of higher quality than natural stones, are often about 1% the price of their excavated (and chemically identical) equals. Fairly cheap for a gemstone, especially considering lab grown rubies often look nicer. That brings up another interesting aspect about human behavior which puzzles me. Why would someone pay more for a ruby found in the ground which has more impurities and is much smaller than they would for a much higher quality ruby made in a lab with far fewer imperfections and impurities? What is so bad about these gemstones? Is there some intrinsic value with them being mined (often destroying habitats) or paying for war? Isn’t it much less damaging to buy these synthetic stones?

Anyway, thank you for following my train of thought, I hope you’ve had a nice ride.

*Synthetic rubies run about $30/carat; natural rubies usually run about $200-500 per carat depending on clarity, cut, and size.

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3 Responses to “Damn you Greg Laden”


  1. August 4, 2009 at 8:17 am

    Obviously, rarity is the issue. Maybe even blood adds value, who knows. Certainly sweat adds value, why not blood and tears as well?

    But a social movement can change all of this.

    This is certainly food for thought.

  2. 2 jaredcormier
    August 4, 2009 at 8:39 am

    I understand that rarity is what is determining price with these, but my point is, why buy something so much more expensive when the cheaper alternative is less costly to the environment and others?

  3. August 4, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    I happen to prefer lab-created stones for precisely the reasons you state – they’re closer to perfection, cheaper, and more eco-friendly (plus, because others are so ideosyncratic, they’re MUCH cheaper!). So bring on the synthetics, boys!


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