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Formica bolsters position in synthetic gems sector

15 May 2018


Karen Avakyan, Formica Group CEO

 

Thailand-based Formica (Th) Co Ltd takes its synthetic gemstone expertise to the next level by rebranding its signature product as Siamite, a composite material combining glass with nanocrystals to achieve a resplendent colour and brightness vastly similar to gemstones.

Formica (Th) Co Ltd has further expanded its foothold in the synthetic gemstone trade. With the renaming of its flagship product from Nanocrystals or Nanogems to Siamite, the company has also unveiled a new colour chart, featuring 600 different colours and shades, in transparent or opaque forms.

Karen Avakyan, Formica Group CEO, said the company offers rough and cut synthetic stones, which come in a variety of colours including emerald, sapphire, ruby, rubellite, citrine, London blue topaz, garnet, peridot and tsavorite, among others.

Formica produces about 10 tonnes of rough Siamite stones monthly in its factory in Thailand. The rough is then cut in its facilities in China, Thailand or Europe.

According to Avakyan, these created stones are highly popular among manufacturers of silver or 14-karat gold jewellery. Some of its clients however are producers of 18-karat gold jewellery with diamonds.

“We offer not only rough materials for cutting. Our product portfolio mainly comprises cut and polished stones from 0.8mm to 20mm, in round to any fancy shape,” the company official continued.

Siamite

Siamite is made of a nanocrystalline glass-ceramic material, which is composed of nanoscale crystals of spinel (gahnite), sapphirine, titanate, cordierite and other minerals (depending on the colour) that are uniformly distributed in the amorphous glass matrix.

With a hardness of 7 to 7.5, a density of 3 to 3.3 g/cm3 and a refractive index of 1.61 to 1.63, Siamite perfectly mimics the brightness, colour and density of gemstones.

Growing market

Avakyan revealed that buyers have become more receptive to synthetic gemstones over the years, thanks to these products’ versatility and competitive prices.

“The market for these products is growing. With a more challenging economic situation, people are constantly looking for a smart alternative to gemstones. Siamite stones are just that – they effortlessly replicate gemstones in colour, density, brightness and appearance but their prices are more reasonable,” he noted.

Siamite is also “wax-castable,” according to Avakyan. This means that Siamite is stable enough to withstand the casting process without cracking or losing its colour, unlike other synthetic stones, he added.

Moving forward, the Formica official said the company continues to perform well in major markets such as the US, China, Thailand and Russia but it is hoping to strengthen its presence in emerging markets such as the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Australia.

At the moment, the most sought-after Siamite colours are emerald, sapphire and ruby colours as well as black and turquoise, which is particularly favoured in Turkey and China.

Avakyan is also maintaining an upbeat business outlook for 2018. “We hope that our new colour chart and the wide range of colours that we offer will help strengthen the business even more. Since we manufacture rough and cut materials, buyers will always find their way to us as long as we provide innovative, top-quality products,” he added.