INDUSTRY: Synthetic Rivalry

One day in February 1955, Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, then board chairman of De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd., received shocking news. General Electric Co. had succeeded in making a synthetic diamond. Hastily, the world's diamond king conferred with De Beers' top officials, finally said: "If it must be, then De Beers must do it too. We cannot stick our heads in the sand." Last week De Beers finally did it; the company announced that it had developed a synthetic diamond to compete with G.E.'s highly successful man-made stones as industrial abrasives.

Actually, De Beers turned out the first synthetic diamonds in...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!