The film documents the efforts of researchers around the world to create synthetic diamonds, some of which have become so indistinguishable from natural diamonds as to fool experts.
Today science is closing in on an impossible dream: the ability to manufacture gem-quality diamonds in a few days, instead of the billions of years required by nature. These synthetic diamonds are such good copies of the real thing that they not only have the identical atomic structure but can even replicate their flaws. Even the most sophisticated machines can scarcely distinguish the difference. More important, these diamonds can be made and sold at a handsome profit.
In "Diamond Deception," NOVA dramatizes the breakneck battle in the 1950s as a team at General Electric beat its rivals to synthesize the first industrial diamonds. Then the show explores today's race to produce the first artificial gem-quality stones. Surprisingly, crucial breakthroughs have been made with primitive-looking equipment in makeshift labs in Russia and China. These unlikely pioneers are now closing in on their goal of producing bigger stones with fewer flaws and perfect coloration. Their efforts threaten the centuries-old monopoly of De Beers and may transform the marketing of the world's most desirable gem.