Diamonds / Industry

AGS Laboratories To Close, Merge With GIA


American Gem Society’s grading lab, AGS Laboratories, will close at the end of 2022, and the lab will be merged into GIA’s.

“This strategic decision allows the [AGS] to focus solely on advancing our mission, education, and membership programs,” said CEO Katherine Bodoh.

The new agreement calls for GIA to take over AGS Laboratories’ intellectual property, technology, and Las Vegas location. In the future, GIA will offer AGS Ideal Reports, which will use the AGS measures for light performance. (See correction below.) The reports will be available as a digital-only supplement to GIA’s diamond reports beginning next January and cost $25 extra.

A GIA statement said, “The combined research team will develop innovative products and services to improve how consumers and the trade understand and appreciate diamonds, including light performance research and a science-based fancy cut grade standard.”

The GIA and AGS statements did not put a price tag on the deal, but said that GIA will create an endowment to support AGS and our membership through educational initiatives.

Both nonprofit groups share the same founder, Robert M. Shipley.

Founded in 1996, AGS Laboratories first made its name by issuing one of the industry’s first-ever cut grades, based on Marcel Tolkowsky’s “ideal cut.”

Yet, in an increasingly crowded lab field, the AGS lab, while well-respected in the trade, had trouble setting itself apart, particularly once other labs, including GIA, began introducing their own cut grades. Still, the AGS lab is generally credited with putting cut on the industry’s radar in a way no lab had before.

“What we did absolutely improved the quality of cutting in the diamond industry,” the lab’s first executive director Peter Yantzer told JCK in 2015. “I had worked at GIA [in the 1980s] when a 1 ct. D flawless was selling for $60,000 a carat. But no one knew anything about makes. You saw some horrible makes, but the report said D flawless, so it sold for a lot of money.

“A better-cut diamond is a better-looking diamond. That is my professional and personal opinion.”

Correction: The new GIA AGS Ideal Reports will measure light performance, not cut.

Logo courtesy of American Gem Society Laboratories

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By: Rob Bates

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