A group of engineers and scientists, led by R. Martin Roscheisen, a founder of Nanosolar, announced on Wednesday that they had developed an advanced approach to making diamonds, using technology derived in part from making silicon chips and solar cells, to be used by a new company.
The first synthetic diamonds appeared in the early 1950s, and the commercialization of diamond manufacturing has grown to the point that at least 10 companies now make either commercial or industrial diamonds.
But the new company, Diamond Foundry, claims to have made proprietary breakthroughs that will make it possible to manufacture high-quality diamonds more quickly and cost-effectively than with existing technologies.
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Its new approach makes it possible to "culture" diamonds at a cost that is on par with the best naturally occurring gems, according to the company's founders. The company's goal is to create a new distribution website to compete with existing jewelry stores, which could reduce markups and therefore be more appealing to jewelry designers.
Diamond Foundry, based in San Carlos, Calif., has a notable list of financial backers, including the Zynga founder Mark Pincus; Evan Williams, a Twitter founder; Andreas Bechtolsheim, a founder of Sun Microsystems and a founding Google investor; and Andrew McCollum, a Facebook founder.
Another backer is the actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who approached Diamond Foundry because he was concerned about some ethical issues related to conventional diamond mining, including environmental issues. Diamond Foundry will buy solar power credits to reduce its carbon footprint to zero, Mr. Roscheisen said, to help support its claim that it will offer a "sustainable" alternative to mined diamonds.