Synthetic Diamond Bears Fake Inscription Matching Natural Report

In an episode that has frightening implications for an industry trying to keep its diamonds distinguished, a synthetic round diamond was recently submitted to GIA’s gem lab with a phony inscription meant to identify it as natural.

According to a GIA Lab Note, its Carlsbad, Calif., laboratory recently took in a 1.76 ct. F VS1 excellent cut round. It bore an inscription (pictured) for a GIA report issued in 2015, which was meant for a  1.74 ct. D VVS1 natural untreated stone.

GIA’s screening process, however, determined that the stone needed additional testing. Further research showed the stone was grown by HPHT.

“Rarely do we encounter the type of blatant fraud described here,” said note authors Christopher M. Breeding and Troy Ardon, adding, “We believe the submitting client noticed inconsistencies with the GIA report information and sent it to the lab for an updated report.”

This is not the first time the trade has seen this kind of episode. In 2016, man-made diamonds sold with natural reports—advertised as such—were discovered on Asian website Alibaba.

Photo courtesy of GIA, credit: Tony Ardon

JCK News Director


  • Mike Robertson

    And so it begins.

  • Ken Choo

    Terrible and shortsighted people doing such things. This kind of practice harms the industry as a whole as consumer started to loose trust in diamonds and shift to other purchase. I got asked multiple times from customers if fake diamonds (synthetic?) were ever sold as natural with a fake report 🙁 🙁

  • tom chatham

    Now we need to ask, “who is the crook, a natural dealer or a stone grower?” No one would come to me to buy a natural diamond, would they?
    tom chatham

    • David Saad

      Neither are crooks, it’s the people who try to misrepresent one as the other.

      That said, I think that I would die laughing at an article about someone who bought a natural diamond as synthetic.

      • tom chatham

        well, start laughing …. I have been sent, for ID, natural sapphire and ruby sold as “chatham” but were natural bought on ebay….I guess they thought it would sell better??? Obviously not top end stuff but it does happen….

        • David Saad

          Were they full of glass? That wouldn’t surprise me too much, at least synthetic is stable.

    • Jeff Unger

      Now it’s melli

      • Jeff Unger

        FYI… Tom has NEVER lead anyone in the industry astray. One of the greatest in the industry.

  • Bobby

    Mr. Chatham, Would it be reasonable for all stone growers to inscribe their diamonds? That way the suspicion falls on the dealer who is selling the created stones as natural. No one wants the government controlling our business any more than it does. But how can we as an industry ensure that the created stones are entering the market properly documented? It’s definately an issue we all need to address.

  • Jackie Tharp

    Laser inscription won’t help. No sense in burdening the growers with this and adding to the cost of the stones. If someone has the equipment to perpetuate this kind of fraud, they will also have the (less expensive) equipment to remove existing laser inscriptions. These types of dishonest people would not adhere to any kind of standards in the industry anyway. The problem would continue to exist. The only way to guarantee what you have is to use GIA services who have the expertise to delineate grown versus mined stones. Maybe GIA needs an option for one of their fee services to be a simple validation process of synthetic versus natural ONLY.

    • David Saad

      A laser inscription machine doesn’t cost that much money. If you have funds to grow diamonds, you have funds for the inscription laser.

  • Shiv C

    Thanks for sharing Rob. This has been going on for last few years to the best of my knowledge It comes from China and India. A lot of them are selling this online directly to consumers, maybe some via wholesalers. I have heard they now even cut the synthetic diamonds to the exact same specifications, weight as the natural in the report. GIA, HRD ….. mostly 1.00 – 2.50 carat stones.

    why is our industry so surprised. a Lot Lot more of this is out there and will grow.

    Basic Awareness is needed in the industry.

    • David Saad

      About ten years ago I remember hearing of people recutting lesser quality diamonds to match GIA certs for better quality stones.

      I’m pretty sure that I haven’t seen any of these, and, as with so many things in this business, it may have just been rumours, but, it wouldn’t have surprised me.

  • Nirali Mehta

    It has nothing to do with natural diamonds or lab grown diamonds. The problem is to do with dishonesty and misleading the public. There are many crooks in this industry who will and have tried backhanded methods to make a few extra $$$. There are extremely honest and open retailers out there who very openly sell lab grown diamonds and are there to educate the consumer. The battle is not between lab grown vs earth mined. The battle is to drive out the crooks from the industry!

    This has been going on for a very long time, from personal experience, I was in Surat, India a few years ago and I met a few diamond merchants who were selling CVD and HPHT diamonds underhand posing as natural diamond resellers. It did not come to a surprise when one merchant asked me to leave his office because I explained I openly want lab grown diamonds and I trade exclusively in lab grown diamonds. He wanted it to be hush hush because a lot of his buyers thought he was providing them with natural diamonds, he then went on to say he could provide me with a fake certificate from the GIA to say it is a natural diamond. “Don’t worry madam we will keep our business deal confidential and nobody will know you are selling CVD diamonds as natural diamonds.” I was so angry I wanted to punch him in the face!!!!

    • David Saad

      SO GROSS!

      I wish you did punch him in the face!

  • tom chatham

    I don’t think lasering all stones will stop fraud, it’s just too easy to remove and/or change. What I would like to see is a few of these bad apples do jail time with hefty fines. So far, with all the episodes of diamond-gate and salting parcels, no one has been punished. No fear of punishment, no fear of cheating…it will get worse, I am afraid.

  • Jim Adair

    Fraud in the jewelry business has been going on ever since there has been a jewelry business. Doesn’t make it acceptable but thieves are rampant in the world. Simple reminder, how many have seen Grandmas old ring with a real ruby that she treasured for decades and it was synthetic. Or fancy filigree bracelets with synthetic rubies or sapphires sold in the 1920’s that weren’t disclosed. The crooks have to be “outed” and not allowed to hide behind anonymity. Another example nobody talks about, remember a few years ago when all of a sudden there were huge quantities of fancy yellow GIA reports diamonds in the market……..before it was announced that yellow diamonds were being produced synthetically. I bet if they were retested today a lot of those yellow diamonds would be recognized as synthetic.