Thai firm sues gem lab for identifying lattice diffusion

A Thai gem heat-treating firm, the Orange Sapphire Company, claims that the Gem and Jewellery Institute of Thailand (GIT) Laboratory, has “damaged the value of the company’s products and caused confusion among consumers as to whether its orange sapphires are natural or synthetic,” and is suing the lab for 50 million baht, roughly the equivalent of US$1.2 million, quotes the May 15 Bangkok Post newspaper.

The Orange Sapphire Company told the Post that it “uses heat treatment to turn pink rubies into highly sought-after orange-pink or orange sapphires.” The GIT lab report says that the sapphires have been beryllium treated, and uses standard identification nomenclature set forth by the international Laboratory Manual Harmonization Committee (LMHC), which includes GIA, SSEF, and the Gübelin Gem Lab as well as GIT. The laboratory report states that the stones show “indications of heating and color induced by lattice diffusion of a chemical element from an external source.”

According to the Post, the company is asking for 2 million baht for damages, and another 48 million for lost opportunity to sell its sapphires. The court date has been set for sometime in August.