Thursday, June 29, 2006

GIA to grade synthetic diamonds

In an effort to distinguish the rising quantities of gem-quality, lab-grown diamonds entering the marketplace from natural diamonds, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) announced Wednesday that it will soon begin issuing synthetic diamond grading reports for the first time.

"GIA is a public benefit institution and, as such, has an official obligation to protect the public by providing the critical information needed to make informed decisions," GIA Chairman Ralph Destino said in a statement. "As a nonprofit entity serving the public trust, it is simply the right thing to do."

GIA's new synthetic diamond reports will provide a clear description of the synthetic, containing color, clarity, carat weight and cut information when applicable. The design of the report will be markedly different from the current GIA Diamond Grading Reports for natural diamonds, and reports will be printed on distinctive yellow paper to immediately signal that it is a synthetic diamond grading report.

To further help the public and members of the industry readily distinguish synthetics from natural diamonds, the GIA Laboratory will laser-inscribe the word "synthetic," along with the GIA report number, on the girdle of every synthetic diamond it grades.

Tom Moses, senior vice president, GIA Laboratory and Research, noted that GIA's research scientists have been studying synthetic diamonds for more than 30 years and have carefully monitored the new technologies that create these stones.

"Once we start grading them, we will be able to study a far greater number and variety of synthetic diamonds and we will report our findings as we proceed," Moses said. "As a nonprofit education and research institution, GIA has the ability to conduct comprehensive research into synthetic diamonds and other gemstones. It is imperative that GIA continues to expand its understanding of synthetic diamonds and to share that information with the industry and the public."