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Commentary: The Business

It’s Time to Make the Investment in Diamond ID Technology

Old GIA report identifies old lab-grown diamond as naturally produced.

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HERE IS SOMETHING a jewelry designer/accountant in Wisconsin knows that no one is talking about: polluted natural diamond inventories.

An older gentleman came in to have a diamond ring appraised. I knew that he probably “knew a guy” and got a ring in a deal; that was my guess.

I told my husband I thought the guy was a bit strange, so he took a hard look at the 2.19-carat oval and mentioned the foggy inclusion to the gemologist when she came in. The girdle was faceted in a strange way, and since we all felt funny about the situation, she did a deep dive. The tests showed natural diamond but it had a yellow fluorescence, not blue. Finally, she put it under short-wave radiation for 30 seconds, and there it was: the glow of a lab-grown.

Instead of the $30,000 diamond he thought he had, it was worth less than $3,000. He was furious. Of course, he accused us of stealing his stone. We pointed out that we wouldn’t steal it and give him paperwork saying we did. He threatened to come in and search our benches.

Here is where it gets really interesting. He had purchased the diamond from a private diamond dealer at the turn of the century who had a GIA Carlsbad report that showed it was a natural diamond with a slight yellow fluorescence. Ruh-row. When our gemologist was studying at Carlsbad in 2007, she was told about lab-grown diamonds — that they were being made since 1970, but they were only up to a quarter-carat in size and heavily included. The GIA report was dated 2000. When we called GIA about the possibility of a lab diamond being graded as natural, we were told they didn’t start testing for lab-grown diamonds until 2007 because they did not have the equipment. However, the fact is that our gemologist was able to do it with short-wave radiation in a little jewelry studio.

GIA said they would flag the report. Our guy took it across town to the other jeweler, who indeed verified lab-grown. Our appraiser told us that if he had brought in his GIA report, she would not have questioned it and would have appraised it as a natural diamond. How many more are out there? Who knew, and when did they know it? Dark days ahead for diamond folks.

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Right after this happened, we were at the INSTORE Show and bought the Yehuda diamond testing light box. I had been pushing for one, but my gemologist said she didn’t need it. After the incident with the man who thought we had switched his diamond, our gemologist decided that had we had a light box at take-in, we could have shown him right then and there that he had a lab diamond.

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