AGS Laboratories to Integrate with GIA

AGS CEO Katherine Bodoh and GIA president and CEO Susan Jacques
AGS CEO Katherine Bodoh and GIA president and CEO Susan Jacques

The American Gem Society (AGS) will close its laboratory operations at the end of this year, with the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) taking on elements of the organization.

AGS Laboratories’ intellectual property (IP), technology, research staff and Las Vegas facility will become part of the GIA, the two organizations announced Wednesday. AGS Laboratories will continue to provide services until the end of 2022 and will contact clients with details of the transition, it said.

The nonprofits, both founded by Robert M. and Beatrice Shipley in the 1930s, will combine their gemological research efforts. The amalgamated team will “develop innovative products” to help consumers and the trade, encompassing light-performance research and a “science-based” fancy-cut grade standard, they said.

“This consequential agreement brings AGS and GIA even closer, driving our future with 90 years of shared history and elevating our founders’ vision,” commented AGS CEO Katherine Bodoh in a joint statement.

The GIA will create an endowment to support AGS and its membership. They did not provide further financial details. The collaboration will also help advance AGS’s retailer programs and support more member education, for example at the annual AGS Conclave, the statement continued.

The AGS Ideal grading report will be available from GIA as a digital-only supplement to GIA reports for eligible D to Z natural and laboratory-grown round and fancy-shape diamonds, incurring an additional cost of $25. GIA clients will be able to request these extra reports from January 2023.

In an information sheet for customers, AGS noted that GIA was responsible for inventing the 4Cs of diamond grading while AGS “created light performance and ignited a discussion on sparkle.” For instance, the AGS is one of the few major labs to offer a cut grade for fancy-shape diamonds.

“By harnessing each other’s strengths to move forward boldly, consumers will be better protected, and we will ensure the longevity of the Shipleys’ vision,” said GIA president and CEO Susan Jacques.

Correction, October 20, 2022: An earlier headline incorrectly stated that the GIA was taking over AGS’s grading division. In fact, the AGS Laboratories grading operations will close, with the GIA taking over certain other elements of the organization, including research.


Labs Refute Claims HPHT Escaping Detection

IIDGR AMS2 synthetic diamonds test

Major gemological laboratories have rebuffed claims that detection machines are failing to spot synthetic diamonds that have undergone irradiation.

In a trade alert last week, Diamond Services argued that the treatment, generally used to alter the color of a stone, can mask the phosphorescence effect when diamonds created using High Pressure-High Temperature (HPHT) undergo scanning at room temperature.

While detection machines can often identify HPHT diamonds because they phosphoresce — or glow — under ultra-violet light, certain devices fail to spot some of those stones that have been subject to irradiation, the Hong Kong-based diamond-technology company argued.

However, De Beers and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) have denied the impact of such a phenomenon on their machines’ ability to sift out HPHT synthetics.

“The International Institute of Diamond Grading and Research (IIDGR) confirms that its instruments AMS2, SYNTHdetect, DiamondView and DiamondSure are all effective at screening HPHT synthetic material which has been irradiated and is tested at room temperature,” the De Beers-owned grading unit said in a statement last week.

“Any business using these devices can have full confidence that any such material will be detected without the need to undertake tests at different temperatures,” it added.

Meanwhile, although detection devices based on phosphorescence may not be able to detect some HPHT-grown irradiated synthetics, the GIA’s machines can spot them, the Carlsbad, California-headquartered laboratory stressed.

“The ability of the instruments that GIA uses to differentiate natural diamonds from HPHT and CVD [chemical vapor deposition]-grown synthetic diamonds, including the GIA iD100 gem-testing device and the GIA Melee Analysis Service, is not affected by irradiation treatment,” the GIA told Rapaport News.

Examining diamonds at the temperature of liquid nitrogen can be an extremely accurate method of detecting synthetics, while a technique called Raman spectroscopy is a simple way of spotting irradiated diamonds, according to Joseph Kuzi, founder and president of Diamond Services.

“Our latest findings indicate that the diamond and jewelry trades should show extra caution, but we do not claim that irradiated HPHT-grown synthetic diamonds are undetectable,” Kuzi said.