Gemology’s Outer Limits

Despite all the grumbling over price lists and grading reports, the diamond industry has had it relatively easy. While the colored-gem market has been roiled by treatments and synthetics, the diamond scene has had to deal only with fracture-filling and the occasional simulant like cubic zirconia and moissanite. But now all that is changing. Recently, noted diamond dealer Lazare Kaplan International threw the industry for a 10-power loupe with a mysterious process that purportedly improves a diamond’s color and brilliance. The company won’t describe the process, citing a confidentiality agreement with the process’s developer, General Electric. (GE won’t comment, either.) But most experts think the process is annealing, a high-pressure, high-temperature treatment that improves a diamond’s color and sometimes its clarity. (LKI denies that clarity is affected.) Whether or not tha
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