FORMICA GROUP: Industry Innovation of the Year.
Jewellery Industry Best practices | Official publication of the most prestigious awards in the international jewellery and gemstone trade
Formica Group specializes in the manufacturing and sales of synthetic crystals and materials for jewellery industry – both in rough and faceted form. The company was founded in Moscow, Russia in 1992 by a group of researchers from the Geological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Back then, it mainly produced synthetic crystals such as hydrothermal and flux-created emerald, hydrothermal quartz, flame-fusion corundum and cubic zirkonia. In 2002, it established a jewellery factory in Yaroslavl City, Russia. In 2005, it set up a manufactory in Thailand, where production is now mainly carried out.
Currently, Formica Group comprises nine companies in different countries and cities, with a total staff of over 120 people. It has a diverse product portfolio and a wide-reaching client base. “Our buyers are jewellery factories producing silver and gold jewellery. Most of these factories are located in India, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Turkey, Italy and Russia, hence these countries are our main markets. At the moment, the biggest and steadly growing sales are coming from Thailand and China”, said company CEO Dr. Karen Avakyan.
In addition, the company also purchases natural cut stones and pearls in Asia and exports them to the United States, Russia, Ukraine, Armenia and EU. Its connection to Russia, in particular, remains steadfast. “We are one of the biggest exporters of natural precious stones, synthetic stones and freshwater pearls to Russia. Many big Russian jewellery manufactures are our clients. We cater to three vast Russian regions with the help of regional dealers”, Dr.Avakyan said.
THE BIRTH OF NANOGEM
Originality, creativity and initiative are highly valued and cultivated at Formica Group. “I started the business when I was already 35 years old. By that time, I was already holding a PhD in Geology and Mineralogy, and worked as Chief of the Laboratory in the Geological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences,” said Dr. Avakyan. “In science, you always need to implement the same innovative approach in business in order to extend our range and create new and exciting products”.
Such business philosophy has led to the development of Nanogem, Formica Group’s latest achievement. Nanogem is a new material made of transparent glass-ceramics that completely imitates the colours, brightness, hardness and density of coloured gemstones such as emerald, sapphire, topaz, peridot, citrine and black spinel. Formica-made Nanogems possess unique physical properties such as hardness of between 7 and 7.5, a refractive index of 1.61 to 1.64, a density of 3.0 to 3.3 g/cm3, and a melting temperature between 1,600C and 1750C, the company said.
” The major problem in the production of colour CZ and many other synthetic crystals is the unevenness of colours”, Dr.Avakyan said. “Nanogem’s advantages are obvious – colour uniformity over the entire volume; relatively high levels of hardness and density, colour and luster which closely match those of natural minerals; and its compatibility with wax casting technology.”
Dr.Avakyan is extremely proud of Nanogem. “We have been in the coloured synthetic stones market for over 20 years. We possess a wealth of information on all types of products in the field. We know all the advantages and disadvantages of each and every one available in the market. The creation of this unique material, Nanogem, has been our long-standing dream. We are happy to have finally realized this dream.” – he said, noting the hard work and continuous research involved in the entire product development.
Marketing efforts in the past two years have gained considerable results. Promotions in traditional media and participation in trade fairs have caused sales of nanogem cut stones to rise. “Two years ago, the monthly sales volume of synthetic cut stones was just several hundred thousand pieces a month. Now, it reaches up to 10 million pieces each month, and this number continues to grow.”
Formica Group is upbeat about its future in the next few years. “Sales of relatively inexpensive jewellery is increasing because of the growing demand for synthetic stones,” – Dr. Avakyan said. “We have no doubt that Nanogem can compete with almost all imitations of natural coloured gemstones. As a whole, our prices are in line with the cost of other synthetic stones. Therefore, we are confident in the future of our business as a whole, and sales of Nanogem stones, in particular.”
Formica Group is the Honouree for “Industry Innovation of the Year – Manufacturing – Technology” at the 2013 JNA Awards. The company considers its recognition a step in the right direction. “I believe that recognition in the JNA Awards is a goal of every jeweler. For me and my company, our participation is certainly of great importance, as the JNA Awards is organized and carried out by the most widely read and respected jewellery magazine,” – Dr. Avakyan said. “Being recognized for our manufacturing innovation is a mark of our achievements in creating a new coloured synthetic material for the jewellery industry.”
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