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American Diamonds Jewellery


No longer are diamonds the exclusive preserve of the super-rich. American diamond jewellery-with its inexpensive price tag and expensive looks-has made a flashy debut in the jewellery market.

Jewellery and woman go together and when the jewel is made from stones like diamonds refuse a chance of wearing it. In today’s fast paced world, however, real jewellery can be quite expensive, and not exactly a security man’s delight. Yet a woman can satisfy her desires to adorn herself with equally sparkling diamonds that do not necessarily have to be the real thing. The success of cubic ziroconia, or American diamonds as it is nicknamed by the trade because of its origin of development, has made it very easy for the modern Indian woman to dazzle without getting unduly worried about the price or the risk factors. To replace the real diamond several alternatives have been tried: Lead crystals, highly compressed graphite and carborundum, for example. But the cubic zirconia produced initially in the Soviet Union received the most approval . later in the 70s, the General Electric Company of USA perfected by discarding as many impurities as possible to bring it closest to the original gem. The Diamond and Gem Development Corporation (DGDC) factory in Taloja manufactured the cubic zirconia by a process called Skull Melting. So far the raw material for its manufacture has to be imported since the process has not yet been perfected in the country. The price of the cubic zirconia is only a few thousand rupees per kilo and that is what makes it so attractive vis-à-vis the real diamond. Yet the smaller the stone the higher the price while for a real diamond it is the other way round.

The cubic zirconia after cutting and polishing is re-exported to the west. As with real diamonds, it is also based on the rough. So if the rough is inferior then the end product will be of the same level. But often the fake is more brilliant than the real diamond and the end result at times is so good that it is hard to tell the difference between a cubic zirconia and a real diamond. In India, Legend, the American diamond jewellery outlet in Bombay was the first to introduce the stone in 1982. In 1983, Aura was started as an outlet for exclusive designer jewellery. Besides these two outlets there is Eternia, the newly opened ladies high fashion store, a part of Premson’s Bazar in Bombay and many other stores that display collections of high fashion American diamond jewellery. The 4Cs apply to cubic zerconia too. They are the cut, colour, clarity and carat, explains Nikhil Chaganlal of Aura. The carat is different since the specific gravity is higher as it is heavier. Besides, the zirconia is not as hard as a real diamond and so cannot be used for industrial purposes. On the G scale it measures approximately 6 while diamond is hardest measuring approximately 6 while diamond is hardest measuring 10. As an item of investment the zirconia has no resale value. It is for purely aesthetic purposes and only when set in jewellery can it be sold, informs Bharat Gala of Eternia.

Pricewise, jewellery in zirconia is very competitive, Where a good real one carat diamond would cost around Rs.75,000 a similar one in a cubic zirconia would only be a few hundred rupees. Therefore earrings could sell for Rs.300/- to 400/-, bracelets, bangles for Rs.1200/- to 5500/- pendants Rs.300 to 1200/- and cuff links, tie pins, kurta buttons for Rs.600/- adds Gala.

What started off as a mere trend or a fad has now become a way of life where cubic zirconia is concerned. The boom in the sale of American diamond jewellery in the local market encouraged the DGDC to manufacture and sell synthetic gemstone in 1989. new units were added every year. The sale of this jewellery is year round with an increasing during the festive months. Most of the sales of American diamond jewellery are restricted to Bombay and the other metros with new outlets opening up everyday with more modern and interesting innovations in design. Even though the American diamond has become a welcome substitute for the real thing, yet this section of the industry has been given very stepmotherly treatment by the Gem and jewellery Export Promotion Council, says Chaganlal. The American diamond jewellery industry has the capacity to absorb the idle craftsmen since it is also a handcrafted jewellery all over the world is a dream which India can provide when zirconia is exported in the form of jewellery. This market is ignored for export even though it can be profitable to the country, argues Chaganlal who is one of the few who exports even though it can be profitable to the country, argues Chaganlal who is one of the few who exports jewellery to boutiques in Geneva, at Rue des Alpes and Londen at Knightsbridge and to Singapore. Tourists are attracted to American diamond jewellery made in India but it hasn’t become a foreign exchange earner. As a jewellery item it is antidowry and a social equaliser. Investing in real diamonds which are really dead assets with fluctuating prices, is now becoming a thing of the past. A zirconia’s rate doesn’t fluctuate and loosens up the parallel economy. Designing in America diamond jewellery has reached a traditional as well as an international look. The stones are normally set in silver plated with gold. Very often strike off of Cartier, Boucheron, Bulgari and other western designers are also popular. Chaganlal has created a line of jewellery with the ancient Mohenjo-daro look. There are delicate bracelets, dazzling necklaces and glittering sets that will catch the eye of many a fashion-consious woman. In fact, the cubic zirconia has been so indistinguishable from a real diamond that it has at times even confused jewelers. The only fool-proof way to tell the difference is by the thermal conductivity method which is used at international airports and customs sections. As far as the durability of this diamond is concerned it is comparable to the real thing. the normal standard precautions applicable to a real diamond are followed. The zirconia is more brilliant than the real diamond and in addition to other colours has flashes of red and yellow. The stone does not blacken nor does it wear away.

Most of the major manufacturers like Aura and Art Karat in Delhi have a buy back guarantee scheme, whereby the item can be exchanged at 85 per cent the value or returned at 75 per cent the value. Thereby making this jewellery is in the age group of 35 years and above. The customer profile comprises the woman who does not want an obvious fake item but is able to present a prestigious as well as fashionable image. The workingwoman who wants to flash a subtle diamond and express her tastes in the right direction opts for a zirconia jewellery piece. With this type of jewellery one can have one’s cake and eat it too since one can buy a good piece of jewellery, which is cheap. Yet has a resale value.