Carroll entered college at the California Institute of Technology, leaving his latest experiment still running in his family’s garage. As fate would have it, his father turned off the power supply to his project. This simple act caused emerald crystals to grow inside the crucible.
It took Chatham three years to understand why the emeralds formed. When he did, he founded the company that bears his name. After perfecting the process to grow emeralds in 1938, laboratory-grown rubies, alexandrite, blue sapphires and a variety of other gemstones followed suit.
Chatham discovered how to duplicate the conditions deep within the earth: the temperature, the pressure and the chemical makeup, and was able to successfully grow gemstones over the course of a year’s time. All Chatham lab-grown gemstones possess the same physical, optical and chemical structure as their mined counterpart.