The Diamond Producers Association (DPA) and Signet Jewelers have published the first results of their program designed to measure how well lab-grown diamond detectors actually do what they claim.
The first phase of the Assure Program tested 11 lab-grown diamond detectors and screeners according to standards developed by UL (the certification company formerly known as Underwriters Laboratory) and a committee of gemologists and scientists. The results can be seen here.
The machines looked at what DPA CEO Jean-Marc Lieberherr calls a “super challenging” sample—1,200 diamonds salted with 200 lab-grown diamonds of all types, including both treated and untreated stones. The instruments were operated by a “trained novice.”
Two of the machines misidentified some lab-growns as natural, and every device but one registered false positives, meaning they either called a natural stone synthetic or referred it for further testing.
But Lieberherr says overall, he’s pleased with how they performed.
“We definitely had a sample made to fool,” he says. “These results are probably a lot of tougher than if you used these machines in your business.”
DPA strategic project manager Lisa Levinson says that the numbers need to be looked at against that backdrop.
“Keep in mind that a 1 percent [rate of misidentifying lab-grown diamonds as natural] doesn’t mean you can’t rely on this instrument in your operations,” she says. “This does not mean that 1 percent of all synthetic diamonds would be classified as natural diamonds, as our Assure sample is very challenging and not representative of what is available in the marketplace.”