The International Gemological Institute opened its newest full-service gemological laboratory in diamond trade center Ramat Gan, in the Tel Aviv district of Israel.
IGI Israel Sept. 1 and plans to be fully operational by November, IGI said in a statement. Initially, 15 IGI professionals will staff the lab initially and the Institute estimates that number will at least triple by next year. Services include independent diamond grading and colored stone identification reports, as well as laser inscription services through its U.S. patented LaserscribeSM process. Plans are also in the works for an IGI Israel Gemological School, which will afford the Israeli diamond and gemstone industry the opportunity to earn an IGI diploma in gemology.
IGI has had a presence in the Israel jewelry industry for more than eight years through its Diamond Window Service—which allowed clients to deposit items to be sent to the full-service IGI Antwerp laboratory. As a result of this success, and the fact that Israel is one of the three largest diamond wholesale markets in the world, IGI opted to open a full-service gem-testing laboratory in Ramat Gan in the Yahalom Building. The Israeli lab is IGI’s 13th.
According to figures released by Israel’s Diamond Controller in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, net polished diamond exports in 2007 totaled approximately $7 billion. The United States remained the largest market for Israel’s polished exports accounting for 53 percent of the total, Hong Kong imported 19 percent, Belgium eight percent, Switzerland six percent and India two percent. Net polished exports to the U.S. stood at approximately $3.7 billion, Hong Kong at $1.3 billion, Belgium $562 million, Switzerland $429 million and India $109 million.