De Beers might like you to think a “diamond is forever,” but try this on for size: “A diamond is for everyone.” In a secret Massachusetts lab, Apollo Diamond is using novel technology to grow diamonds virtually indistinguishable from their mined cousins, the Smithsonian reports. Unfortunately for consumers, the synthetic gemstones cost about the same as Mother Earth's—for now.
The synthetic-diamond industry grew out of a desire to reliably produce the substance, the hardest known, and a semiconductor, for industrial purposes. The gem market appears to be an afterthought, albeit one fought bitterly by mining companies. “Diamonds are rare and special things with an inherent value that does not exist in factory-made synthetics,” a De Beers spokeswoman said. (Read more diamond stories.)