Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Engineering Diamonds

While I am on the subject of Jewellery, let me also say a few words about diamonds. The biggest question that faces a layman like me is about the authenticity of the diamond, its material (is it really a diamond or is it polished glass!!), the cuts (apparantly more of them are better), weight in carats, flaws ( diamonds always have some of them). Not many people can look a diamond in the eye or pass light through it and tell if its a great piece or not. We all go by experts view. Is there any other way?
Optics and Diamonds
At the core of diamonds value is light or better optics. A diamond appears bright and sparkles. Also when light is passed through a diamond it forms patterns. When the diamond is manufactured they should establish what pattern it forms and share it with the consumer.
So long as the light is consistent (same frequency) and the way it is passed is consistent ( angle of incidence etc) it should produce the same pattern throughout the life of the diamond. This can be used as a metric to measure the genuine-ness of the diamond. For example, it should be possible to design or designate one particular frequency of light that shall be used for the purpose of reading patterns. Using this it is possible to create a testing equipment which can observably indicate if the diamond is of high quality or if its quality has deteriorated.
Artistic Inclinations and Observable Quality
Turning the idea around, theoritically, it is possible to design a diamond's cuts given a light pattern. Lets say a hexagon of certain dimension with bright vertices is a pattern. Now can we work back from this pattern and arrive at what design will form such a pattern? I think we can. Just that not much "engineering" thought has gone into designing of diamond patterns.
The general artisty in diamonds is currently confined to ability to design the cuts that creates the best value. Another form of artisty can be applied to diamonds and that will be pattern creation. The more complicated the pattern (and more recognisable) the more value can be derived from the diamond.
Imagine...
People can be offered diamonds that emit a pattern (under certain conditions) that says "I love you" or "Ferrari" or "Intel Inside" and even customized names like "Rahul" and the value of these diamond can appreciate far more. I am sure once this happens it wont be long when real pictures can be encoded into these diamonds so that the pattern that they form is actually a photo. And that will be the first step in making diamonds more valuable. All it needs is a few engineers putting their heads into the design departments in this industry. Dont you think so?