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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Nanotechnology Adds Sparkle, Fire and Brilliance to Diamonds

A before and after shot using Fire Polish.

Thanks to nanotechnology, consumers shopping for diamonds may soon have the ability to add a rainbow of color to their precious gems.

Glenn Markman and Robert Goldstein were at the recently held Centurion 2011 luxury jewelry show in Tucson promoting a service and company called Fire Polish to jewelry retailers. They explained that a branded nanotechnology process is used to direct atomic-sized plasma etchings to specific areas of the diamond pavilion. This process creates facets so small they can only be seen clearly in an electron microscope. The result of this technique is to enhance the reflection, refraction and dispersion of light, which adds scintillation (“sparkle”), fire and brilliance to the diamond, which Markman and Goldstein say can be seen by the naked eye under sunlight and proper indoor lighting.

“It changes the wavelength of light going through the diamond,” Markman said. “It creates a rainbow.”

The process, which was created by California Institute of Technology, has been in beta testing for the past year and will soon be rolled out to retailers nationwide. The two company founders say the process can be used for all sized diamonds and diamond cuts but for now, they are using it for 58-facet round brilliant diamonds, which represents roughly 80 percent of the diamond jewelry market. It works for new diamonds and old, so that family heirloom that’s looking a bit drab can get that added sparkle without major work. The cost of the service for retailers is about $300 per diamond up to one carat in weight. They say the service can be used for smaller diamonds but it becomes cost prohibited.

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