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Tairus Man Made Gems

The first synthetic, or man made, gemstone was a synthetic ruby created in 1902, using the Vernuil flame-fusion method. Scientists have continued to "grow" synthetic gemstones, including diamonds, ever since. Creating synthetic or man made diamonds serves two worlds, the jewelry industry, and the world of technology. Small diamonds have been grown since the 1950s, but in recent years technology has improved to allow the production of large, gemstone quality stones. One of the companies emerging onto the synthetic diamond market is Tairus.

Tairus is a joint venture between the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Tairus Company, Ltd, of Bangkok, Thailand. Formed as recently as 1989 as part of Mikhail Gorbachev's initiative, Tairus is a business dedicated to representing the Soviet academic community's research and development. But the original discovery, the impetus behind Tairus, was born over 15 years ago.

In the cold winter of 1972, behind the Iron Curtain, inside super secret government laboratories deep in Siberia, a group of young scientists were working on a classified project to perfect laser technology for the Soviet war machine. The objective was to grow a flawless emerald crystal in a controlled environment to serve as a conductor for a guided laser beam. Their process duplicated the finest emeralds from the Ural Mountains and was very efficient.

They never achieved growth of an optically pure crystal for use in laser technology, but instead produced beautiful stones with color and hues ranging from dark-blue to intense-yellow. After two years they were ordered to stop their experiments and never again heard from the authorities who had ordered these experiments. Seventeen years later, Gorbachev founded his business initiative and Tairus was born.

Initially led by the late scientist Alexander Lebedev, who invented the process to hydrothermally grow gems, the Tairus' purpose was to grow and to supply emeralds, rubies, sapphires, alexandrite and other gems to the jewelry industry. Currently, the President of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Academician Nikolai Dobretsov runs Tairus. As a result of his vision, the company has achieved many scientific breakthroughs.

Today, Tairus is the only world producer of hydrothermally grown corundum (ruby, blue, yellow, pink and padparadscha sapphires). It also grows fine "created" alexandrites, utilizing its own "floating method process", otherwise known as horizontal crystallization.

Though Tairus has been creating synthetic gems for years, they only recently entered the world of man made diamond production. On a team led by Dr. Palyanov, diamonds are being crystallized in alkaline carbonate-fluid melts at pressures and temperatures representative of those used by nature. Known as the "Split Sphere" system, Tairus' process uses Na2CO3, K2CO3, graphite and oxalic acid. A tiny diamond is used as seed and all ingredients are placed inside a sealed platinum ampoule. Heated from 1,300 to 1,600 degrees Celsius, under pressures of 50,000 to 60,000 atmospheres, the ingredients form crystals on the seed. The resulting diamonds are differing shades of yellow, ranging from fancy yellow to vivid orange. Yellow diamonds in nature are more rare than the white (colorless) ones, so Tairus discovery has created an economical alternative to a beautiful rarity.

Tairus continues to work on improving the quality and size of their diamonds, plus is now venturing into creating colorless and fancy blue diamonds as well. Tairus is certainly a company to watch.

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