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Tue, Oct 19, 2010
The New Paper
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More bling for your buck
by Dolores Tay

LAST week, I wrote about my search for elusive No.

35 - that special piece of jewellery to mark my 35th year of earthly existence.

What do you know? The responses poured in. All three of them, to be exact.And funnily, all via Facebook.

The first message I received was from one Mrs Smith, who lost her rich husband in an apartheid uprising in Africa and needs an account (and a sucker) to accept the millions stashed away in an offshore bank.

I'm guessing it must have been the headline of my article - "Got $1 million to spare?" - that caught Mrs Smith's fancy.

The second was from an accessories company based in Korea, whose boss read the article online and wanted an interview for their designer. Wow, we have readers all the way in Korea!

The third message was by an outspoken friend, who argued passionately that my article should have included examples of man-made diamonds as she believes that the natural diamond trade is run by a bunch of blood-thirsty megalomaniacs bent on world domination.

Which got me thinking. And when I start doing that - thinking - my thoughts usually end up as fodder for some fortnightly column.

In any case, man-made diamonds warrant its own column. Why? Not just because of the impassioned ranting of a friend, but because there is a growing number of young, modern women who are buying these man-made gems, choosing them over the real deal.

Okay, I admit I'm one of them. I took a real-versus- fake test and I failed - miserably. I managed only two right guesses out of five.

I wasn't allowed to feel the stone and I could only guess which was the real McCoy based on the shine, lustre and whatever my poor eyesight could tell me.

A search on popular local women's forums like and threw up pages of discussion on real versus man-made diamond.

Most of the contributors tell me that affordability is the primary reason why they choose to buy man-made.

For the price of a one-carat synthetic diamond, they'd probably get only a tiny speck of the real thing.

Technology has improved the manufacturing process of these lab-created gems to the point that one can hardly tell the difference between the two with the naked eye.

Even a seasoned jewellery collector like me was fooled.

Slim pickings

But I must say though that I feel the quality of man-made diamonds available in Singapore remains poor cousins of the higher-end ones available in the West.

I did my usual research on foot (an excuse for shopping!) and found that retailers offering cubic zirconias and diamond substitutes in most of the malls carry products that are of poor quality: With one look, you'd know they were fake.

But, of course, there was one brand that stood out - gordonMax.

Its simulated diamonds are a good option for women who want the big blings without breaking the bank.

Fakes with maximum impact

IT ISN'T every day that I get wowed by replicas. But those by gordonMax are exceptions.

Since 2001, this homegrown company has steadily grown its share of the man-made diamond industry pie and now has 16 retail outlets in Singapore and the region.

So what makes them shine brighter than the rest?

I speak to Mr Jonathan See, 43, executive director of gordonMax.

What's unique about gordonMax's simulated diamond?

GordonMax diamond simulants are made to simulate natural, mined diamonds and we provide a lifetime guarantee for our stones' brilliance, lustre and fire.

We are constantly introducing and innovating new cutting and designs to provide variety of choices to our customers.

Is there a difference between simulated diamonds, synthetic diamonds, cubic zirconia and mossainite?

Synthetic diamond is man-made cubic carbon or 99% carbon created stone. The cost of producing is just as high as the mined diamond. Thus, most synthetic diamonds are used for precision technology and manufacturing, not as jewellery. And it is not popular in this part of the world.

Simulated diamond is a creation of man; it is formed via a technological process. That is why it is also known as manufactured, lab-grown or cultured diamond. Cubic zirconia, mossainite and gordonMax are classified as simulated diamonds.

They use different compositions and methods in creating unique varieties of simulates.

Who are your customers?

We can proudly say that most of our customers have an aura of confidence that enables them to carry off, or I should say, rock our gordonMax jewellery. Our most loyal clients are usually corporate executives or self-made achievers. Characteristically, they are educated, financially capable and independent thinkers who know what they want.

How much has business improved over the years and do you see a growing trend of women switching from real diamonds to gordonMax simulated diamonds?

The man-made diamond industry is still at its infancy.

The growth potential is immense with confident, young women now wanting more affordable lifestyle choices, be it in the fashion, jewellery, food or leisure segments.

The gordonMax business has successfully ridden the the wave of the industry's growth. We will expand our business in more countries and with more lifestyle products like leather handbags.

But our core business will always be our high-grade diamond simulants.

You can find gordonMaxin Liang court, United Square, Wheelock Place, Tangs - Orchard and Vivo.


This article was first published in The New Paper.

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