GIA, Pincione settle lawsuit

GIA said Wednesday that the civil lawsuit filed by Max Pincione and Cimabue Ltd. alleging that GIA “upgraded” two stones, has been resolved.

“We are pleased this matter is behind us. Following a thorough independent investigation, the public can continue to have full confidence in the integrity of GIA’s diamond grading reports,” said Ralph Destino, GIA chairman. “As a public service, we have set up a program to re-examine any diamond that we graded free of charge if an owner has any concerns.”

Destino added, “GIA has long been the standard bearer for quality in the diamond industry. We are fully committed to assuring the diamond trade and consumers that they can count on GIA to uphold these standards. We will continue to enhance and strengthen our policies and procedures and will not tolerate any ethical violations by our employees or clients.”

Joseph Tacopina, Max Pincione’s lawyer, said, “The civil action filed by Max Pincione against GIA has been resolved. After reviewing the GIA grading reports, the parties agreed that the grades at issue involved areas of subjectivity and fell within industry standards.”

Pincione, a former Harry Winston employee, launched the lawsuit in April naming GIA as one of four defendants. In his suit, he claims that “payments were made” to GIA to have the two stones “upgraded” at the GIA Gem Trade Laboratory in New York City.

The lawsuit filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York in April,  charges that in 2001, Pincione purchased two pieces of jewelry from Vivid Collection, a New York-based jewelry designer and manufacturer: a platinum diamond ring with a 37.01-ct. stone, and 103.78-ct. pear-shaped pendant. According to the lawsuit, the pieces had reports labeling them as H VS2 and D Flawless, respectively.

Pincione, according to the complaint, then sold the diamond ring to the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia. He said after the stone was examined by independent experts of the royal family, the diamond ring was returned “without explanation, and with a demand for the return of the monies paid for the stones,” the suit said. Pincione then sold the pendant to a Saudi entrepreneur. Again, the diamond was returned to him and he was later advised that the stones were not of the quality stated in the GIA report, according to the lawsuit.

The suit includes an “Exhibit F,” which it claims is “a document delivered to the plaintiff by an informant which indicates that payments were made by defendant VIVID to defendant GIA to ‘upgrade’ the quality of the diamonds.”