Diamond Lab Issues Land on Local Newscasts

For a long time, the industry has complained about different diamond grading labs using different standards. Now, consumers may become aware of this as well, with two ABC affiliates slamming the trade for its “dirty little secret.”

The two stories—one broadcast on a Denver station on Nov. 25, the other broadcast in San Diego on Dec. 16—were similar, with both using testimony from Denver appraiser Neil Beaty. 

In the stories, Beaty showed a diamond that was graded J-I1 by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), with poor cut. But EGL International graded it H-SI2 and did not list a cut grade. 

“Shoppers are not shown both certs when examples like this come about,” explained Beaty, complaining the lab business is “ a completely unregulated industry.” 

“The price a jeweler could charge for that same one carat diamond was nearly doubled if they used EGL International’s report instead of the one provided by GIA,” the broadcast added.

“I’ve seen these examples…hundreds of times,” Beaty added. “The usual reason to choose a lab is because it produces the most money for a stone.”

When the Denver station queried local sales associates about the differences, they received some different responses.

“What matters is what’s prettiest to you, what sparkles the most, what you like, not what is printed on the paperwork,” one said. 

Another said that when diamond grading, “The standard, the scales are the same…[t]he Diamond Council…has a standard.”

However another associate said exactly the opposite: “Not all HSI1’s or HSI2’s are going to be the same. It depends on who they are graded by.”

On the broadcast, Beaty recommended consumers look for GIA reports.

Beaty is not the only trade member to talk about this publicly. A Florida jeweler started a campaign called Diamonditis, with radio ads and local news appearances.

See the broadcasts here:

  

JCK News Director