At the GIA Symposium in June, Martin Rapaport repeatedly said
he suspected that undisclosed synthetic yellow melee is being sold on the market. Some were also concerned about comments
made by the head of the Gemesis, that it doesn’t plan to inscribe lab-grown
Clearly, identification and detection of smaller man-made and
treated stones is becoming a bigger issue in the industry. It’s a particular
problem since many companies don’t see it as cost-effective to send smaller
gems to labs.
In a follow-up article in the GIA
Insider, senior industry analyst Russ Shor noted that GIA researchers are
working to introduce “rapid, low-cost screening techniques” for melee.
This was intriguing to me, so today I talked with GIA’s senior vice president of lab and research
Tom Moses about what the Institute had in mind. He gave me the following
– First off, while Moses is “confident” that the GIA will
eventually develop a treatment and synthetic detector for melee, he didn’t have
“We don’t have a product in the development stage right now,
but we really feel that, given some of the other instruments we have built for
in-house use in the last year, it is not an out-of-the-question challenge,” he
says. “We are exploring a couple of
things and have a few ideas.”
– The envisioned “user friendly” device will use
spectroscopic analysis to detect treated and created gems, but wouldn’t be the
“mythical black box” the trade has long sought. It would simply flag stones
that require further testing.
“I don’t envision that you put down 50 stones on this device
and you get simultaneous readings,” Moses says. “It would be more a probe,
where you are probing one stone at a time. If you are going through a parcel
and some high percentage is being referred you would have a pretty good
indication that you probably have an issue.”
– Finally, Moses says that he had no idea if there really is
more undetected man-made and treated melee on the market. “I haven’t seen any
hard evidence,” he says.
But he noted that, with melee prices rising, the
unscrupulous have more economic incentive to cheat.