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Starting later on in 2020, GIA reports will include the same colour and clarity grades for both synthetic and natural diamonds.
Starting later on in 2020, GIA reports will include the same colour and clarity grades for both synthetic and natural diamonds.

GIA updates lab-grown diamond grading reports

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has confirmed it will use the same clarity and colour grades on its reports for lab-grown diamonds as it does for natural stones, starting in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The change was announced at the recent JCK Virtual event, with Susan Jacques, CEO GIA, saying that the decision was made to reflect “consumer demand”.

Susan Jacques, GIA president and CEO
Susan Jacques, GIA president and CEO
"We want to make sure that consumers are educated, that we can protect their trust in the gem and jewellery industry as well as the products they are buying"
Susan Jacques, Gemological Institute of America

“We want to make sure that consumers are educated, that we can protect their trust in the gem and jewellery industry as well as the products they are buying. As consumers adopt this new category, it’s important that we evolve with the new consumer,” Jacques explained.

Previously, GIA reports for lab-grown diamonds – which it has offered since 2006 – used general descriptions in the colour and clarity sections, rather than the specific grades that are standard for natural diamonds. GIA began producing synthetic diamonds in 2016 in order to better understand their unique properties.

Belgian organisation HRD Antwerp harmonised its natural and lab-grown colour and clarity grades in March 2019, while International Gemological Institute (IGI) has offered full standardised reports for lab-grown diamonds since 2005.

In a statement, IGI management said, “We are proud to have been the first institute to enter this arena, instilling confidence in lab-grown diamond grading for the entire industry – from manufacturers and retailers to consumers – since 2005.

“We are proud to see other organisations adopt our long-held philosophy regarding the dual-channel legitimacy of natural and lab-grown diamonds, and believe professionals and consumers alike will benefit from the increased transparency in our industry.”

» View: GIA's sample Grading Reports for lab-grown diamonds

Roland Lorie, CEO IGI, told Jeweller, "While other labs decided to focus only on a grading system for natural diamonds, IGI took the risk of certifying lab-grown stones, even when volume was minimal, because we not only thought it was the right thing to do, but had an inclination that the industry would one day embrace these diamonds.  We wanted to ensure consumers knew exactly what they were buying, so they could be confident in their purchases."

He added, "In the last year, lab-grown inventory and prominence have drastically increased, resulting in an interesting financial opportunity for our industry. Today, major gemological labs want to get their share of the growing business.”

The GIA announcement came two weeks after another US organisation, American Gem Society Laboratories (AGS), resumed grading lab-grown diamonds seven years after it abandoned the practice due to lack of demand.

The AGS reports use standard grading terminology but add the denomination ‘LG’ to indicate the diamond’s synthetic origin, note the method of manufacturing – such as chemical-vapour deposition or high-pressure, high-temperature –  and include the disclaimer: “It is important to note that the color and clarity grades do not reflect the rarity of the laboratory-grown diamond, but rather the quality and consistency of the manufacturing process.”

Jason Quick, executive director AGS, said, “We just saw there was a need for a different type of report, where we clearly articulate what a laboratory-grown diamond is. We wanted to provide full transparency.”

US-based Gemological Science International (GSI) began offering a similarly comprehensive report for lab-grown diamonds in March this year, which includes information about detected post-growth treatments.

 

More reading:
The Great Diamond Debate: Round II
The Great Diamond Debate
GIA to start making lab-grown diamonds 











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