NovaDiamond Quits HPHT Business

After a year and a half of turning light champagne diamonds into fancy intense greenish-yellows using a high-temperature/high-pressure process, Novatek is pulling out of the gem business. Novatek, located in Provo, Utah, is the parent company of NovaDiamond, a subsidiary specializing in gem diamond enhancement.

It seems that for some enhanced diamonds, specifically the pure yellow and orangey yellow HPHT diamonds, identification is difficult. NovaDiamond’s HPHT diamonds were inscribed by EGL USA, but since inscriptions can be removed by repolishing, NovaDiamond could not eliminate the possibility that dealers might send repolished NovaDiamonds to major gem labs that could misidentify them as naturally colored diamonds.

NovaDiamond created fancy colored gem diamonds by subjecting natural off-color diamonds to the intense pressures and temperatures found deep in the earth, yielding stones with brilliant golden-green hues. This process is achieved in a special geodynamic press, a product of 45 years of development by the chairman of Novatek, Dr. H. Tracy Hall. Hall was the first person to transform carbon into diamond while working for General Electric in December of 1954.

When NovaDiamond was introduced to the trade in 1999, Hall’s son David noted trade members’ concern that other companies might copy the NovaDiamond process and not disclose the enhancement. At the time, Hall stressed the firm’s policy of openness, saying, “We will do whatever we can to enforce the patents and trademarks that are granted to NovaDiamond. We invite De Beers, GE, the Russians, and anyone else that is involved in enhancing natural diamonds to disclose their process in detail and to openly mark all enhanced diamonds by trademark, serial number, and certification.”

While GE’s Bellataire colorless HPHT diamonds are trademarked, certified, and inscribed, that has not kept some dealers from removing the inscription. There also have been reports that unidentified fancy color and colorless HPHT diamonds from foreign sources are entering the market.

Alan Bronstein of Aurora Gems in New York City, an expert in natural fancy colored diamonds, says he hears rumors from reliable sources that HPHT diamonds are entering the market from outside. He doesn’t buy diamonds without laboratory reports. “I never take a stone for granted,” says Bronstein. “There’s always the potential for it not being natural. Overall, I have faith in the laboratories who are doing the due diligence in trying to protect the market and get the information correct, to make the right identification.” He notes that if the labs don’t have ways of differentiating HPHT diamonds from natural diamonds today, they soon will.

Novatek is now using the NovaDiamond name for its industrial diamond division, which specializes in diamonds for oil and gas drilling applications. For more information, log onto the company’s Web site at www.novadiamond.com.