The Gemological Institute of America will begin issuing synthetic diamond reports in January—after reversing course on the thorny nomenclature issues that stirred controversy when the reports were first announced.
GIA chairman Ralph Destino first talked of GIA’s plans to grade synthetics at the World Diamond Congress in Tel Aviv, Israel, this summer. But manufacturers of the lab-grown stones complained about the sample reports’ repeated use of the word synthetic, which GIA planned to inscribe on the stone’s girdles.
In the new reports, the word synthetic is still used, but GIA will also use other phrases approved by the Federal Trade Commission, including lab-grown, company-created and man-made.
“Any stones that come to us with any of those inscriptions, we will not erase anything that’s on there,” Destino said. “We came to the decision that we are not the final arbiter; the Federal Trade Commission is. We take our lead from the FTC.”
If there is no inscription on the stone’s girdle, GIA will inscribe the words lab-grown.
As for the controversial word cultured, now used by several synthetics manufacturers, Destino said, “If at some point the FTC accepts the word cultured, we will be guided by the FTC.”
Destino said the most important point is that GIA’s reports “inform the public” that synthetics are not natural diamonds. He notes the reports have a yellow stripe on the outside to differentiate them from other GIA reports.
“We’ve created a report written in plain English,” Destino said. “There can’t be any confusion when people read this report. That was a guiding principle for us.”