Ultra-Diamond Super-Value

4.11.11 | London


in collaboration with Oliver Goodhall (We Made That)

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Research Blog

Contribution to Making the Geologic Now by Smudge Studio

Natural Synthetic
love science
eternity singularity
priceless price point
endless limitless
enduring reliable
promise promise
earth’s core lab grown
flawless perfect
forever infinite
more desired more powerful
romantic technologic
I do can do
finely cut finely fabricated
dream today tomorrow’s dreams
expectation anticipation
occasion progress
social status material status
DeBeers Element 6

fig 1.Comparative table for the aspiring synthetic diamond agency copy-writer



The diamond, as we know it, is a unique example of marketing and monetization of a geological resource. Through careful supply-control, advertising and cultural massaging the industry has managed to mythologize a geological material
in cultures around the world. Throughout the 20th Century, rituals, expectation and meaning have been intentionally crafted around the diamond through tales of rarity and carat-value. A complete mythology, ranging from sparkling wedding rings
to shady deals and overworked mines, surrounds each of these stones and furthers the mystery as well as desire.

As a counterpoint to this aesthetic industry, a new functional aspect is emerging
as diamonds are grown in the lab with ever increasing control and huge promises
for technological applications. The unique properties of diamond as a super-material open up potentially revolutionary breakthroughs in fields as varied as quantum computing, electronics, biosensors and clean energy.

As Lab-grown diamonds become more recognised and enable further progress, will they also achieve a new cultural status? Until now, the aesthetic and
the technological are carefully kept separate to preserve market value and cultural narratives. We can easily imagine that gemstone dealers have no interest
in promoting the fact that chemically perfect diamonds are now routinely grown
in laboratories.
So, as synthetics become more important and celebrated as agents of our technological progress, how will this impact their place in society? And, functionally, is the eternal promise of diamond about to deliver very tangible results?

This visual essay explores a world where synthetic diamonds become recognised for enabling further technological advances and while doing so achieve a new cultural status to rival their natural counterparts. Using design as an explorative tool, the story is told through props, artefacts and excerpts extrapolated from the potentials of this burgeoning industry. By enabling the celebration, transport and valuation of diamond super-materials, these devices are the supporting characters in this unfolding story of man-made geology.



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