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Monday, April 19, 2021

Diamonds Aren’t the Only Thing Showing Off How Technology Is Shaping Society

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This is a story of possibility, of technological innovation, and of unexplored resources that will not be green, but rather metallic.

On the globe, 400 times as many masonalites as diamonds have been discovered this year, according to Alex Atallah, president of the Geological Society of America. And yet, without a doubt, the best-known gem is the precious stone: Almost as many people know what the diamond looks like as those who can name a gemstone. But, there’s a surplus of masonalites in the world today, and it is one of the last minerals to be mined.

According to Tony Giuffrida, Gem Diamonds’ vice president of communications, though it “seems kind of silly,” people are not looking as much into mining emeralds as they have the past few years, with pent-up demand for some of the world’s top quality diamonds. One reason is that there is plenty of masonalite out there.

“The masonalite industry has been a very, very quiet industry for years,” said Francois Deshays, managing director of Pinto & Deshays, a platinum company. “It’s the most popular masonalite and it remains one of the most scarce.”

Gem Diamonds, one of the world’s largest masonalite producers, is trading at $7,250 a carat, said Mr. Giuffrida. Gem Diamonds, which has its headquarters in the United States, makes 1.5 million carats of masonalite annually, and is the largest producer in the United States. “At some point we’re going to run out of this magical, good-quality material,” said Mr. Giuffrida. And with there still being a surplus of masonalites out there, there is an opportunity.

The days of having to dredge gemstone from the sea, or mining fossilized masonalites, are over. Now, gemstones can be found anywhere, in “no-name” places. “People think, ‘Oh, they’re just sitting there in the woods, like rubber trees,’ but, to be fair, masonalites grow wild everywhere, even in Montana,” said Mr. Deshays. “You can go to Texas and find minerals, like lead and molybdenum, too.”

The masonalite industry is so hot that companies are spurring investments by mining companies, with trades priced at $40,000 a ton, according to Mr. Giuffrida. Pinto & Deshays alone has invested $5 million into mines, said Mr. Deshays.

This technology-driven industry will not be hurt by Hollywood. “The whole cineplex and virtual reality was invented in the last decade,” said Mr. Deshays. “Could I put out a virtual reality ring, like Snuggie? Maybe, who knows? But they didn’t say that Will Smith would be the one to sing ‘In the Air Tonight.’ ”

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