Diamonds: Lab-Grown Diamonds Arrive at the GIA and More

Lab Groan

In June, a parcel of 10 undisclosed lab-grown created diamonds showed up at the Gemological Institute of America’s lab in Hong Kong.

The incident was announced in the Gems & Gemology monthly eBrief.

The news comes on the heels of the International Gemological Institute’s May alert that 600 synthetic colorless diamonds were submitted to its Antwerp lab without disclosure.

The 10 stones in Hong Kong were swiftly identified as lab-created, the GIA says. The stones were comparable in quality to naturals, and were round brilliants, ranging from 0.30 to 0.35 ct., with F–H color grades, and clarity grades ranging from VVS1 to VVS2 (though one diamond received a VS1).

As with the Antwerp parcel, the stones found in Hong Kong were described as “similar” to those produced by manufacturer Gemesis, as they were both CVD-grown and treated with HPHT afterward.

In related news, a Hong Kong company says it has developed a low-cost synthetic diamond detection device.

Diamond Services Ltd., the sales arm of EGL Asia, is selling the instrument, a pen-shape laser pointer called the ­DiamaPen, which can be used only with special glasses.

EGL Asia owner Joseph Kuzi says the pen delivers a definitive identification for yellow synthetics, but shows only indicators for colorless stones. He warns that it won’t replace sending stones to a lab.

“It gives you a hint that these diamonds should be looked at more thoroughly,” he says. “The differences between CVD and naturals are enough to raise a flag.”

While Kuzi hasn’t shown the Diama­Pen to any other labs or scientists, he says he will in the near future.

“I don’t think what I have now in my hand is the final word,” he says. “I am sure everyone will continue to play with it. But there is definitely a direction here.”

But GIA scientists have sounded a more cautious note: On June 20, Tom Moses, GIA’s senior vice president of laboratory and research, said at a Diamond Manufacturers and Importers Association meeting that he didn’t think it would ever be possible to develop an easy detection device for synthetics.

He added that detection of created diamonds—as well as HPHT treatments—likely will continue to be something only gem labs with trained gemologists could handle.

Story Time

Every Rio Tinto diamond has a story.

“Diamonds With a Story,” launched by miner Rio Tinto at JCK’s LUXURY show, can’t really be called a marketing initiative; executives liken it more to a system of thought. Still, it’s plenty ambitious, aiming to do nothing less than change the way the industry sells diamonds.

“We get so caught up with ourselves, with the Four C’s, and with price,” says Rebecca Foerster, manager of Rio’s U.S. rep office. “It takes a huge amount of resources to get a diamond out of the ground onto a ring. We want to tell that story, where it came from, how it’s made.” Rio will support the theme with videos, training, and other marketing.

“A lot of the excitement has gone out of what we present, and how we present it,” Foerster says. “We want to bring back the glamour and drama to the diamond purchase.”

Worldwide Webb

Christie’s Images Ltd. 2012

Diamonds earned top dollar at Christie’s June 12 ­Important Jewels sale in New York City. The auction’s highlight: a rectangular-cut E color 22.46 ct. David Webb diamond ring (right), which sold for $1.87 ­mil­lion, ­topping its $1.2 million–$1.8 million estimate.

Other impressive sales included a 14.82 ct. pear-shape E color VVS2 diamond ($1.59 million) and a 15.56 ct. circular-cut F color VS1 gem ($1.54 million).

For more cutting-edge diamond news

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