Element Six

Element Six is a global leader in the design, development, and production of synthetic diamond and tungsten carbide supermaterials. Part of the De Beers Group, Element Six employs over 1,900 people and its primary manufacturing sites are located in the UK, Ireland, Germany, South Africa, and the US.

Element Six
Privately held company
IndustryDesign, development, and production of synthetic diamond and tungsten carbide supermaterials.
FounderErnest Oppenheimer
Area served
Key people
Bruce Cleaver, Chairman

Walter Huhn, Chief Executive Officer

Andrew Guthrie, Chief Financial Officer

Karl-Georg Hildebrand, Executive Director – Operations

Siobhan Duffy, Executive Director - Sales & Business Development

Neill Hunt, Executive Director - Innovation

Victoria Matthews, Executive Director - HR & Communications
ProductsIndustrial Diamond, Cubic Boron Nitride, Carbide, Ceramics, Synthetic Diamond, CVD Diamond, Synthetic Polycrystalline Diamond, Polycrystalline Cubic Boron Nitride
ServicesDevelopment of advanced engineering industrial and technology material solutions
Revenue US $0.5 billion (2011)
OwnersUmicore, De Beers
Number of employees
Over 1,900

Element Six advanced engineering materials are used in abrasive applications such as cutting, grinding, drilling, shearing and polishing, while the extreme properties of synthetic diamond beyond hardness are applied in a wide array of industrial and technology applications such as optics, power transmission, water treatment, semi-conductors, sensors and quantum information processing.


As De Beers Industrial Diamond, the company was set up initially to concentrate on the industrial applications of natural diamond. Following the development of diamond synthesis in the early 1950s, the company acquired the technology and by 1958 was able to manufacture material based on a high pressure, high temperature process. By the 1960s, the company was offering a range of diamond grit products that was followed by nickel and coated diamond materials plus grinding products based on cubic boron nitride. In 1992, breakthroughs in chemical vapour deposition technology opened the opportunity to synthesize diamond films and a new raft of application areas became possible.

In 2002, the company changed its name to Element Six and its business focus moved towards building an enterprise based on advanced material applications for increasingly sophisticated engineering customers backed by global technical support and a strong research and development organization.

In 2013 Element Six opened the world’s largest and most sophisticated synthetic diamond research and development facility. The Global Innovation Centre, near Oxford, UK develops a pipeline of innovative synthetic diamond and related supermaterial products for customers, in industries from oil and gas drilling to precision machining and electronics.


Products offered by Element Six fall into two broad categories - superabrasives and advanced diamond products. The largest part of the company's business today is in superabrasives. These products are based on the world's hardest materials such as synthetic diamond and cubic boron nitride that are used in a wide range of cutting, grinding and drilling applications range from oil and gas exploration to machine tools, automotive part manufacturing and marble production.

See also

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