Scio Diamond Technology has purchased the assets of synthetic diamond producer Apollo Diamond and tells JCK it plans to begin manufacturing lab-grown colorless and pink stones next year.
Joseph Lancia, CEO of the Greer, S.C.-based company, which just went public Sept. 23, admits that Scio’s focus is on how diamonds can be used for industrial purposes, with jewelry as a sideline.
“We will have a small jewelry division, but the technology side has a lot more value,” he says, adding, “I don’t want to knock the gemstone industry, it’s huge.”
The company plans to begin producing gemstones in the summer of 2012 at its South Carolina home base.
“We have already been approached by a couple of major distributors to take all of our production,” he says. “Apollo sold stones over the Internet, but we plan to be completely out of the picture from a marketing perspective. We are a technology company, not a marketing company.”
Lancia says that each of his machines can produce a little less than 1,000 carats per year, but wouldn’t say how many machines he has.
“It’s not a perfect science,” he says. “It’s like mining. When you start the day, you are never sure what you are going to get… Our real challenge is to take what we already know and have it consistently produced.”
He says the price of any stones will be sold “at a discount to mined diamonds, but not a significant one.”
The company also plans to laser inscribe the stones.
“Whoever our distributor is, we will consult with them, and do what the market feels comfortable doing,” he says.
While the company’s machines have produced up to 2 ct. stones, Lancia thinks their “sweet spot” will be half-carat to three-quarter-carat stones.
According to its 8-K filed with the SEC, Scio paid $1 million cash for Apollo’s growing machines and intellectual property, with a $1 million promissory note due next September.
“What Apollo did was great,” he says. “They developed the technology. What they never did was leave the R & D mode and take what they know and put it in a commercial environment.”
Apollo founder Robert Linares will still be a consultant to the company, Lancia says.
Gemesis last year announced plans to mass-produce colorless stones and sell them over the Internet. Those plans have since been delayed.