In its ongoing efforts to meet worldwide demand for its Diamond Grading Reports and other laboratory services, the Gemological Institute of America is well under way with substantial expansions of both its East and West Coast laboratory locations. After more than a year of planning, construction has begun at the GIA Gem Laboratory headquarters at 580 Fifth Ave., in the heart of New York’s diamond district, as well as at the Institute’s Carlsbad, Calif., location. The laboratory has been focused on growth for some time, and through aggressive hiring, the GIA Gem Laboratory has increased its grading, gemological identification, research, and support staffs to nearly 700 individuals. These expansions will allow the laboratory to continue growing at a rapid pace for many years to come.
When construction is complete, the New York location will have added 11,500 square feet, for a total of 32,500 square feet. In addition, GIA will more than double its laboratory space in Carlsbad by adding almost 45,000 square feet, for a total of 85,500 square feet.
The multiple-phase remodeling efforts in both New York and Carlsbad are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2005. In New York, this includes remodeling the former education center (relocated to 270 Madison Ave.) and adding space on the third floor to expand the Grading Laboratory. Renovations of the Grading Laboratory, Research, Identification Services, and other laboratory-support areas on both coasts are also in progress or scheduled.
GIA Gem Laboratory chief executive officer Thomas C. Yonelunas said that since 2001, the total number of items processed by the Institute’s laboratory has increased by more than 20 percent each year. In 2004 alone, the demand for all GIA Gem Laboratory diamond-grading services increased by 22 percent, GIA Diamond Dossier services by 49 percent, its fancy-color diamond services by 28.5 percent, and its diamond-inscription services by 35 percent.