Ultra-Diamond/Super-ValueOliver Goodhall + David Benque
The diamond, as we know it, is a unique example of marketing and monetization of a geological resource. Through careful supply-control, advertising, and cultural massaging, the industry has managed to mythologize a geological material in cultures around the world. Throughout the 20th century, rituals, expectation, and meaning have been intentionally crafted around the diamond through tales of rarity and carat-value. A complete mythology, ranging from sparkling wedding rings to shady deals and overworked mines, surrounds each of these stones and furthers the mystery as well as desire.
As a counterpoint to this aesthetic industry, a new functional aspect is emerging as diamonds are grown in the lab with ever increasing control and huge promises for technological applications. The unique properties of diamond as a super-material open up potentially revolutionary breakthroughs in fields as varied as quantum computing, electronics, biosensors, and clean energy.
As lab-grown diamonds become more recognised and enable further progress, will they also achieve a new cultural status? Until now, the aesthetic and the technological are carefully kept separate to preserve market value and cultural narratives. We can easily imagine that gemstone dealers have no interest in promoting the fact that chemically perfect diamonds are now routinely grown in laboratories. Synthetic diamonds have become recognised for enabling further technological advances and while doing so achieve a new cultural status to rival their natural counterparts.
As synthetics become more important and celebrated as agents of our technological progress, how will this impact their place in society? And, functionally, is the eternal promise of diamond about to deliver very tangible results?
All artefacts, images, and texts presented in this essay are purely fictional.
Any resemblance to real persons, situations, or products is purely coincidental.
- A visual essay that presents fictional devices that enable the celebration, transport and valuation of diamond super-materials. These devices are staged as the supporting characters in the true, currently unfolding story of man-made geology. ↑