No one seems to know what to make of the GIA lab’s recent recall of certain reports it issued last year for green diamonds, except that, well, they don’t know what to make of it.
GIA just sent out letters to dealers who submitted green diamonds to its lab between January and June 2020, saying the gems needed to be looked at again. (The rechecks will be free.) It’s also removed the reports for those diamonds from its online Report Check.
Something must be up, especially given the very specific time frame. The implication is that something may have been done to certain diamonds. For the moment, GIA is keeping customarily tight-lipped.
“Recent research and investigation into potential treatment methods caused us to request the return of the subject diamonds for further analysis,” said Tom Moses, GIA executive vice president and chief laboratory and research officer, in a statement to JCK. “We were prompted to review a subset of green diamonds that our current research results raised questions about their origin of color.”
He added: “The decision to request the return of stones originally submitted in this time frame was based on the recent analysis and investigation into potential treatment methods. GIA’s research into diamond and other gem material treatment is a dynamic process.”
He noted it’s possible GIA may find nothing at all.
“At this time, we do not know whether the diamonds in question have been treated,” he said.
The reaction from the diamond market ranged from angry to bewildered.
One former GIA employee, who did not want to be identified, complains the GIA is being “typically opaque” about this.
“The whole story is very strange. Why is this being brought up now?”
The big issue, he says, is that the green color in diamonds is caused by radiation, and it can be tough to determine if the radiation is earth- or human-created.
“It’s superinvolved to determine if they are natural,” he says.
(GIA noted radiation “is a common method to treat diamonds within this color range.”)
Nilesh Sheth, president of Nice Diamonds, believes that the lab may have seen an influx of green diamonds during the specified period, and now suspects something was amiss.
“A lot of times when people do these things, they do them under different names,” he says. “GIA may have started looking into it, and it took them some time to catch up. But they will find out what it is.”
Another dealer, who did not want to be identified, is more philosophical.
“I’m disappointed,” he says. “But I’ve seen it happen before. We trust the GIA like we trust our doctor. Do doctors make mistakes? Sure. All the treaters have to do is make one simple change, and the treatment becomes harder to detect.”
It’s possible certain diamonds may be marked as color “undetermined,” which would severely limit their marketability, he says.
“‘Undetermined’ is the kiss of death. That makes it unsellable. That’s worse than saying it’s treated.”
But a third dealer, who also did not want his name used (sense a pattern?), is less sanguine, complaining the notice has seriously damaged the market for green diamonds.
“It can be very difficult to get a ‘natural’ designation,” he says. “If one entity was able to put a lot of green diamonds through in a short time, I don’t get how that’s possible.”
Sheth hopes the GIA will provide more information soon.
“Right now, it has everyone in limbo. The more transparent they are, the better it will be. We need to know who did this.
“Everyone trusts the GIA,” he adds. “They do a lot of research and are the only lab that can justify such high values.”
The former employee, however, feels that the GIA needs to be more forthcoming.
“You just wish they would tell people what the story is. Sometimes, the speculation becomes worse than the reality.”
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