GIA Museum hosts two exhibits with a unique look at the diamond industry

The Gemological Institute of America’s (GIA) Museum Gallery in Carlsbad, Calif., is hosting two exhibits that offer a rare behind-the-scene glance at the diamond industry.

The first, The Glitter Merchants is a photo essay by New York-based photographer Greg Kinch that features a diamond’s journey from the rough, to its faceting, and ends with how it is traded. The black and white photos offer a glimpse of what life is like for diamond cutters and dealers in Antwerp, Belgium and New York, two of the world’s most important centers of the diamond trade. Real life displays of rough diamonds, as well as the tools used to facet them are also featured.

“The photographs are not just static pictures, they are carefully crafted windows that give an immediate understanding of the atmosphere and personalities in the diamond industry,” Elise Misiorowski, GIA’s museum director, said in a statement.

Kinch himself notes, “People love this story. We’ve all seen diamonds in the jewelry case, but how did they get there? It’s a fascinating journey.”

In addition to learning about diamond cutting and trading, visitors can also learn the role GIA plays in the diamond industry with the From Trading to Grading exhibit. It features the subsequent steps in the diamond’s journey from the cutting and trading to the consumer. The diamond dealer is the link from the diamond cutter to the trade, and their business is to buy cut diamonds and sell them to designers, manufacturers and retail jewelers. A typical diamond dealer’s desk is showcased, and the various tools and items needed to conduct business are highlighted.

The second exhibit, Grading, shows how GIA developed the internationally accepted system for grading diamonds using the Four C’s: color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. The Four C’s are clearly explained and demonstrated, along with the GIA Gem Trade Laboratory and the GIA Diamond Grading Report. A separate exhibit shows each step in the grading process. Finally, beautifully finished jewelry pieces are shown to exemplify the outcome of the diamond’s journey. A videotape, How GIA Grades Your Diamonds Using the Four C’s, which describes how diamonds are graded in the GIA Gem Trade Laboratory, enhances the case display and pulls the exhibit together.

The Glitter Merchants and From Trading to Grading exhibits will be on display in the Museum Gallery of GIA’s world headquarters in Carlsbad, Calif., through May 2002. It is free and open to the public Monday through Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except when the Institute is closed for holidays.