GIA responds to WSJ story

The Gemological Institute of America in a statement said it wants correct “factual errors” in a The Wall Street Journal story which reported that additional dealers were banned from having their diamonds graded. The letter is as follows:

While we will not comment on any specific aspects of The Wall Street Journal article other than to point out the factual inaccuracies, we want the diamond and jewelry industries as well as the public to know that the Gemological Institute of America operates with the highest ethical standards, and they can and should continue to have full confidence in GIA’s laboratory operations and the reports we issue.

Over the past several months, GIA has communicated openly about the actions we have taken to uncover the facts related to the ethical violations and the measures we have implemented to ensure that nothing similar can happen again. As we have reported previously, after completing nearly 100 interviews and reviewing over 100,000 documents spanning a 10-year period, the independent investigators concluded that any violations of GIA’s policies were very limited in scope. In addition, we have taken a number of steps to enhance our already stringent laboratory procedures and controls, and we continue to monitor our processes with great diligence. However, in order to dispel any lingering concerns, we are offering free verification of any GIA-graded diamond.

We realize that GIA and the entire industry suffer greatly when a few dishonest players damage the reputation of the honest majority. In addition, inaccuracies in reporting and misrepresentations by the press do a disservice to all, including the public at large. The Wall Street Journal article from March 8th erroneously states that the “Gemological Institute of America fired four employees it accused of accepting bribes from diamond dealers as part of an inquiry into inflating the grades of stones.” This statement is not true. The employees were terminated, following an extensive investigation conducted by independent counsel on behalf of a Special Committee of GIA’s Board of Governors, for violating GIA’s Professional Ethics and Conduct Compliance Statement. We have therefore requested that the paper publish a written correction to set the facts straight.

GIA is currently implementing many positive changes designed to prevent such ethical lapses by a few isolated individuals from occurring again. We are working to further strengthen the numerous procedures and controls we have in place to safeguard the integrity of the grading process. GIA’s mission for 75 years has been to ensure the public trust in gems and jewelry by upholding the highest standards of integrity, academics, science, and professionalism through education, research, laboratory services, and instrument development. We believe strongly in this mission and are continuing to take the appropriate steps that will enable us to serve the public even better in the future.