Avoiding Gemological Crises

lfrederick@cahners.com If you’re going to introduce something as easily misused as an undetectable diamond treatment, you should do so in a carefully thought-out manner that will cause the least disruption to the jewelry industry. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen in the case of General Electric’s secret new decolorizing treatment for brown and yellow diamonds. In fact, the introduction of the treatment quickly spiraled into a controversy that Gemological Institute of America president William Boyajian called “the greatest gemological crisis in my 23 years at GIA” (see “Mystery Diamond Treatment Dominates GIA Symposium,” p. 92). There’s nothing wrong with transmuting ugly diamonds into beautiful ones and profiting from the alchemy. But this treatment, unlike most, can’t be detected with even sophisticated lab equipment, and that changes the nature of it from
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