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Articles from DIAMOND JEWELLERY (938 Articles)










 It took two decades, millions of dollars, and a box of ruined and ‘exploded’ diamonds for Wellington jeweller Ian Douglas to create a setting with no claws or clasps that left the diamond completely unhindered by metal.
It took two decades, millions of dollars, and a box of ruined and ‘exploded’ diamonds for Wellington jeweller Ian Douglas to create a setting with no claws or clasps that left the diamond completely unhindered by metal.

Jeweller has major breakthrough with ‘floating diamond’ invention

It took two decades, millions of dollars, and a box of ruined and ‘exploded’ diamonds for a Wellington jeweller to finally be a step closer to a billion-dollar payout and create the 'Floeting Diamond'. 

What was previously thought to be an impossible feat for traditional jewellery design and manufacturing has become a reality for The Village Goldsmith founder Ian Douglas, who announced the launch of the Floeting Diamond – a diamond-set jewellery collection without metal clasps or claws.

Ian Douglas, Village Goldsmith
Ian Douglas, Village Goldsmith
“The original concept came to mind almost 20 years ago, but it’s really only been the advancement in a lot of technologies, in metallurgy, in the development of space-age metals, the science of engineering with lasers, that have enabled this cut to come about”
Ian Douglas, Village Goldsmith

Secured in place using proprietary tiny laser-cut grooves around the underside of diamonds, Floeting Diamond jewellery uses only high-quality stones to achieve the desired strength and appearance for its collection.

“The original concept came to mind almost 20 years ago, but it’s really only been the advancement in a lot of technologies, in metallurgy, in the development of space-age metals, the science of engineering with lasers, that have enabled this cut to come about,” Douglas told Stuff

It is estimated that the value of diamond jewellery sales worldwide is $US90 billion ($AU126.6 billion) annually, half of which is spent in the US. Douglas hopes to get a 2 per cent share of the American pie, which is around $US1.8 billion ($AU2.5 billion) within the next five years.

Cutting-edge technology

The pursuit for a design that highlights the optimal visual qualities of a diamond set “was thought to be an impossible dream,” Douglas said.

"Every jeweller in the world has been asked by customers if it was possible to have a ring without the prongs, and until now the answer has always been, 'No’."

Using precision-cutting laser technology, Canadian master diamond cutter Mike Botha, in collaboration with international experts composed of metallurgists, scientists, laser engineers, testing laboratories and patent attorneys, finally developed the patented diamond jewellery design.

The result – a diamond secured in place using a precise laser-cut micro-groove at the underside of the stone and does not impede light return or brilliance.

The diamond is set on a high-tensile titanium alloy collet, which was found to be stronger than traditional settings based on independent tests.

“Extensive independent testing against the ISO standard mimicked the scenario of a ring dropping repeatedly onto a hard wooden surface from one meter high,” Douglas said.

“In a traditional setting, the diamond came loose after 298 drops, while the Floeting Diamond remained secure in its setting after several thousand drops.”

Floeting Diamond pieces can hold stones between .20 to 100 carats and, in the future, may be developed for pear or oval gem shapes, as well as include sapphires and rubies.

A historical innovation

For the first time since 1886 when the standard six-claw diamond setting technique was invented, the Floeting Diamond becomes a historical innovation for the international diamond jewellery industry.

Douglas invested millions of dollars in the development of the ground-breaking technique and several test diamonds were destroyed throughout the process.

“Secured in place using proprietary tiny laser-cut grooves around the underside of diamonds, Floeting Diamond jewellery uses only high-quality stones to achieve the desired strength and appearance for its collection.”

“We contacted one of the world’s leading diamond cutting companies based out of Israel and had an agreement with them to prototype and test this concept, and they absolutely ruined it. I paid for this batch of diamonds that just got butchered,” Douglas said.

The journey was never easy, according to Douglas, who noted there were “heartbreaking” moments during the development stage when he was faced with a “massive bill”, especially when he was handed a “little box of cut and polished diamonds with the groove done completely incorrectly that had ruined their optical properties. So that got parked in the vault for a few years.”

“It’s just been horrific. Ten years, trips around the world to everywhere you can imagine, talking to all sorts of people, these institutes, the testing costs, material itself,” he explained.

“You can imagine having to test diamonds and things going wrong, we have literally blown diamonds apart.”

After 20 years of rigorous testing, the Floeting Diamond became a reality and uses a specially-engineered titanium alloy which was found to be 20 times more impact tolerant and 10 times more durable than traditional precious metal diamond settings.

Douglas said they are currently under scrutiny by industry rivals and added, “I think there’s probably a lot of people hoping that we’ll fail, but if we succeed they’ll be jumping on the bandwagon big time.”
 

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More reading
Village Goldsmith invents 'floating' diamond, eyes a glittering prize
International Diamond Market Snapshot – August 2021
Recovery in diamond market as Alrosa, De Beers record positive results

 

 











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