Synthetic rubies and emeralds compete against natural stones

Chinese companies interested in Belarusian technologies for growing synthetic precious stones

By Anna Burmistrova

Chinese companies are showing interest in the synthetic gem technologies of the Material Science Centre of Belarus’ National Academy of Sciences. At present, Belarusian scientists and Chinese businessmen are studying various co-operative schemes, with Belarus ready to share its technologies on beneficial terms. Partnership with Chinese companies would raise exports of Belarusian synthetic emeralds, promoting them on the Asian market.

“We hope that our talks will yield results,” stresses the head of the Centre’s superconductor physics laboratory, Vladimir Merkulov, adding that demand for Belarusian synthetic emeralds and rubies is ever growing domestically. The Centre can produce about 10,000 carats of gems annually, fully satisfying the demand of Belarusian jewellery makers and allowing exports to such countries as Latvia. Other export opportunities are being sought.

The Centre has been producing synthetic rubies and emeralds for several years now, with red emeralds being the latest ‘miracle’. Synthetic gems are identical to those found naturally, having the same optical properties and transparency. Moreover, they have fewer defects. Natural emeralds are unique and rare, with limited deposits. According to estimates by foreign experts, deposits of natural emeralds will deplete faster than oil. With this in mind, an increasing number of foreign jewellers prefer synthetic gems.

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