GIA South Africa to Open Feb. 21

The Gemological Institute of America will officially open GIA South Africa, its new laboratory in Johannesburg, on Feb. 21.

“GIA is moving quickly to bring its services to our global clients,” said Thomas M. Moses, senior vice president, GIA Laboratory and Research.

The Johannesburg office will initially provide GIA Diamond Dossiers, which covers stones ranging from 0.15 cts. up to 1.99 cts., Moses said. It will eventually offer classes, seminars, and scholarships.

GIA South Africa introduced a GIA Diamond Fee Schedule Friday to reflect current GIA fees as converted to the South African Rand currency, Moses said.

The GIA laboratory in Johannesburg will accept any size diamond, colored stone, or pearl from GIA clients in the region. For any service other than the Diamond Dossier report, items can be delivered to the laboratory and GIA will send them for service at one of its other laboratories and return them to Johannesburg for customer pickup. GIA has also been granted a VAT exemption so these services will not be subject to the traditional fee for shipping stones outside of South Africa for servicing.

Leslie (Les) Milner, director of the GIA Laboratory in Johannesburg (pictured), and an experienced team of laboratory diamond graders were trained in the U.S. at the end of last year so they could be immersed in the GIA grading methods and fully aligned with the Institute’s standards. They will be joined by a team of experienced GIA graders from the U.S. offices.

“We have been learning GIA’s grading methodology while working with the great array of state-of-the-art research and scientific equipment GIA has at its disposal,” Milner said. “As technology advances, you need an up-to-date research facility with the expertly trained staff and resources to advance the future of the industry here in South Africa.”

The address for the new GIA Laboratory in Johannesburg is Suite 512, 5th Floor, S.A. Diamond Centre, 225 Main Street, Johannesburg 2001. The mailing address is P.O. Box 1756, Houghton, 2041, South Africa.  The hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The general phone number is (011) 27 11 334-2744, and the fax number is (011) 27 11 334-0932.