GIA’s latest news of an undisclosed synthetic should worry us all

Rob Bates

Undisclosed lab-grown diamonds are out there, and the industry needs to deal with that.

The 13th of October, Gemological Institute of America sent out news that it had intercepted an undisclosed 5 ct. CVD-grown synthetic at its Hong Kong lab. The discovery, it says, “marks a significant milestone”:

This is the largest CVD synthetic diamond GIA has examined to date, and the largest reported in the jewelry industry. It had J-equivalent color grade and VS2-equivalent clarity, comparable to a high-quality natural counterpart.… It is worth noting that black inclusions, often contained in synthetic diamond, were not found in this CVD specimen, which could have been mistakenly identified as natural based on microscopic examination alone. This case, therefore, highlights the importance of using advanced spectroscopic instruments as well as conventional gemological techniques to ensure an accurate identification.

It’s undeniable: Undisclosed synthetics are out there, in just about every size and shape, and it’s something our industry is just beginning to get a handle on. And while this is generally considered a worse problem in India and China, we can’t discount the possibility that undisclosed lab-growns are in circulation in the United States.

Given that most big stones—like the one mentioned above—are sent to labs, the biggest problem remains melee, where the screening can sometimes be more costly than the actual goods. GIA recently launched a melee-analysis service, and the results were disconcerting. Of 3,005 melee submitted in one parcel, three turned out to be synthetics.

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Source JCK Online