Robert Linares has been at the forefront of crystal synthesis research since he started working at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, New Jersey, in 1958. He went on to start a semiconductor company, Spectrum Technologies, which he later sold, using the proceeds to bankroll further research on diamonds. In 1996, after nearly a decade working in the garage of his Boston home, he discovered the precise mixture of gases and temperatures that allowed him to create large single-crystal diamonds, the kind that are cut into gemstones. “It was quite a thrill,” he says. “Like looking into a diamond mine.”
Seeking an unbiased assessment of the quality of these laboratory diamonds, I asked Bryant Linares to let me borrow an Apollo stone. The next day, I place the .38 carat, princess-cut stone in front of Virgil Ghita in Ghita’s narrow jewelry store in downtown Boston. With a pair of tweezers, he brings the diamond up to his right eye and studies it with a jeweler’s loupe, slowly turning the gem in the mote-filled afternoon sun. “Nice stone, excellent color. I don’t see any imperfections,” he says. “Where did you get it?”
“It was grown in a lab about 20 miles from here,” I reply.
He lowers the loupe and looks at me for a moment. Then he studies the stone again, pursing his brow. He sighs. “There’s no way to tell that it’s lab-created.”
via (Touch Me!)