Loveland man crafts copies of 29 famous diamonds

Wilson has created 22 replicas in 14 years

LOVELAND, Colo. - Known for their carat, cut, color and clarity -- famous diamonds of the world are something most will never see.

Unless they know Loveland's Chuck Wilson.
 
For 14 years, Wilson has been working to replicate 29 of the world's most famous diamonds, including the Hope Diamond and the Star of the South. 
 
"Everybody can't do it, it's something that takes a little skill and patience  -- mostly patience.  It takes a long time," said Wilson.
  
Wilson begins with a simple diagram and a metal stick super-glued to a chunk of cubic zirconia.
 
 "Then I'll take my band saw, and cut it  -- cut the excess off -- so that I don't have to grind so much," Wilson said.
 
Now the faceting begins, Wilson uses a series of ever-finer grits, or grades, of industrial diamonds bonded on a grinding wheel, known as a lap.
 
Faceting is the process of removing parts of a polygon without creating any new vertices.
 
 "It all goes by angle and index. The index we're using on this stone is 96.  It has 96 points all around it," explained Wilson. 
 
The meticulous repetition can take months to perfect. In the case of the Jubilee Diamond it took Wilson two years.
 
"It takes a lot of looking; each facet you have to grind a little bit and look.  Grind a little bit and look.  It takes a lot of time, patience expertise."
 
So far, Wilson has completed 22 of the 29 famous diamonds of the world. 
 
He does not sell his diamond replicas; he has no idea what they are worth. 
 
You can see Wilson's work at the Fort Collins Rockhounds Club's 52nd annual Gem and Mineral Show
 
The show runs March 22-24 at the Ranch in Loveland.
 
-Friday, March 22 from 4 to 8 p.m.
-Saturday, March 23 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
-Sunday, March 24 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
 
The cost is $4 a day or $7 for a three-day pass. Children under 12 free with an adult and students 12-18 are $1 with an ID.