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Colored Stone Expert and Wholesaler David Patterson Dies at 89
He helped develop a process to synthesize alexandrite and founded manufacturer and wholesale company Geminex in the 1970s.
Patterson was born in Colorado in 1933 and attended Colorado State University, where he graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering.
But gemstones always called to him, ICA said. Patterson designed and built his own faceting machine and taught himself lapidary.
He also learned and developed the process to grow alexandrite.
In 1970, he contacted a group that had synthesized alexandrite and emerald and eventually started working with them, according to a column Patterson wrote that appeared as part of an article in the Gemmological Association of Great Britain’s Journal of Gemmology in 2012.
They had grown the crystals through one method but were starting to look at growing them via seeding.
When one of the team members was set to move to a new job, they asked Patterson if he wanted to buy the operation. He did, establishing Creative Crystals and stepping into the role of president.
Creative Crystals continued to develop the process, introducing its lab-grown alexandrite to the market officially at the 1972 AGS convention in New Orleans.
Though it drew “a significant amount of interest” there, according to the article, they still ran into plenty of resistance from jewelers.
“We came to believe the cost of marketing would exceed the size of the market. Therefore, we concluded it was a dead-end project for us.”
They sold the operation in 1979 to a limited partnership.
Patterson also started a gemstone manufacturing and wholesaling company called Geminex Corp. in 1975 in California.
Patterson was a longtime member of the ICA who established many relationships around the world throughout his career.
“He shared his knowledge and love of gemstones with all. He loved his alexandrite with a passion,” the organization said in an email remembrance.
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