GIA has bowed to pressure and says it will re-introduce paper certificates, at no extra cost, as of Sunday (9 April).
The move to digital-only Diamond Dossiers, for stones up to 1.99-cts, provoked widespread criticism from retailers, who said some customers were refusing to buy a diamond without one.
In a message to clients, GIA (Gemological Institute of America) said it “did not adequately anticipate the potential difficulties of adopting the digital-only GIA Diamond Dossier report.
“We appreciate your candid and constructive feedback. After much consideration, we have decided to return to printed GIA Diamond Dossier reports beginning April 9.”
All diamonds currently at GIA labs, or submitted from Sunday, will be returned with a printed GIA Diamond Dossier report just like those issued before the introduction of the digital-only report in January.
It will also issue, at no cost, a printed certificate for diamonds that were graded without one from January until now.
GIA introduced digital-only certificates as the first step towards phasing out all printed reports within three years, saving tons of paper and plastic.
Diamond dealers and manufacturers have complained to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) about its new paperless dossier reports, claiming they reduce security and are less popular among retailers.
The reports — available for 0.15- to 1.99-carat, D- to Z-color diamonds — have caused consternation in the industry since the GIA switched to digital-only versions at the beginning of this year.
GIA customers who submit a diamond receive the stone back in a small envelope that shows the key specifications and a unique QR code that links to an online report. Although the girdle gets inscribed, other people can easily copy the code and associate it with a different diamond, according to traders who spoke with Rapaport News in recent weeks.
Suppliers are also seeing pushback from retailers that are accustomed to selling diamonds and jewelry with physical certificates. Using the digital documents is especially difficult with mounted jewelry, an official in the Indian diamond industry noted, as reading the girdle is difficult or impossible.
“In January, they started doing this digital certification,” he told Rapaport News last week on condition of anonymity. “By now, some of the retailers are getting the stones and they’re having concerns, and customers are returning stones that don’t have a [paper] certificate.”
India’s Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) and the Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) in Mumbai have raised the issue with the GIA. A representative of the GIA fielded questions from members at the Diamond Dealers Club in New York in a recent address, while delegates discussed the matter at the World Diamond Congress, the triennial meeting of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), which took place in Israel last week.
“Concerns were expressed as to the security of the digital certificates as well as the desire of retailers and consumers to receive a printed certificate,” a WFDB spokesperson told Rapaport News on Sunday. “It was discussed that for a certain period of time, the GIA might provide both digital and printed certificates to those who request them. The presidents of the bourses who participated in the congress asked the WFDB to present their concerns to the GIA.”
A GIA spokesperson said the organization had “heard from clients — manufacturers, brokers, dealers and retailers — about their concerns regarding the digital GIA diamond dossier reports and how integrating the digital reports into their processes could disrupt their businesses.”
“We appreciate the constructive feedback and are considering how we can best address their concerns within the context of our mission to protect consumers and ensure their trust in gems and jewelry.”
The switch to digital dossiers is part of a plan to make all GIA reports paperless by 2025.
Update, April 4, 2023: Information about a GIA visit to the Diamond Dealers Club in New York has been added to this story.
The start of 2023 marks a significant milestone in the digital transformation of the global diamond industry – the launch of the fully digital GIA Diamond Dossier, the most widely available diamond grading report in the world. The GIA Diamond Dossier is available for D-to-Z diamonds from 0.15 to 1.99 carats without colour treatments. Printed GIA Diamond Dossier reports issued before January 2023 remain valid.
Tom Moses, GIA Executive Vice President and Chief Laboratory and Research Officer, said, “The launch of the digital GIA Diamond Dossier report starts the conversion of all GIA’s laboratory reports to a modern digital format. This important change improves data security, offers efficiencies across the supply chain and reduces our reliance on paper.”
The first digital GIA Diamond Dossier report was issued at the GIA laboratory in Ramat Gan, Israel, on Monday, 2nd January 2023. More than 33 million printed GIA Diamond Dossier reports were issued since the introduction of the service in 1998.
Pritesh Patel, GIA’s Chief Operating Officer, added, “In 2025, when all GIA reports are digital, retailers and consumers will find greater convenience and a more immersive experience. Eliminating printed reports is an important advancement, reducing the impact of using, shipping and storing the nearly 40 tons of paper and plastic that go into printed GIA reports each year.”
The secure digital GIA Diamond Dossier is available in the reimagined GIA App or on computers, tablets and phones through the robust and secure online GIA Report Check Service and the GIA advanced application programming interface (API) for commercial users. The digital report service includes a Report Access Card with the report number, a QR code linking to the digital report and 4Cs information to embed into receipts, invoices and e-commerce sites.
The new GIA App is widely available for Apple and Android devices. The Android app for China is in development and will be available at a later date. The GIA Match iDTM inscription matching service is expected to be available in the first half of 2023, accessible exclusively through the reimagined GIA App.
Printed GIA Diamond Dossier reports issued before January 2023 remain valid.
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.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has begun accepting submissions for a new service providing consumers with source verification for diamonds.
Leading manufacturers sent the first polished diamonds to the GIA’s Source Verification Service in early July, the institute said Wednesday. GIA-graded diamonds with confirmed origin information will be available to consumers when the initial submissions are returned and as more manufacturers join the program, the organization explained.
An independent auditing firm will vet all cutters before they enter the program. The auditors will confirm the company has the ability to track a diamond from receipt of the rough through the entire manufacturing process. The GIA will evaluate all participating firms regularly to ensure they are continuing to adhere to the guidelines, it noted.
Initially, the GIA will accept only polished natural diamonds with verified source documentation, including Kimberley Process (KP) certificates and invoices from vetted manufacturers. It will add lab-grown diamonds to the service in the near future. Consumers can access the information through the GIA’s online Report Check service, it added.
“GIA’s new service provides diamond-source information to consumers as quickly as possible,” said its CEO, Susan Jacques. “The GIA Source Verification Service is ready to provide verified diamond-source information to address increasing consumer demand and government interest in transparency and traceability across the supply chain.”
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) plans to convert all of its paper reports to digital within the next three years, beginning with its Diamond Dossier in 2023.
The digital reports, which it will link to an app, will be more secure than their paper counterparts, the GIA said Tuesday. They will be paired with a new inscription-matching service, called GIA Match iD. This feature captures a diamond’s inscription image and links the stone to its GIA report using artificial intelligence (AI).
As each report category is introduced in digital form, the printed reports will be discontinued, the GIA told Rapaport News. However, some specialty services, such as the Monograph reports and notable letters, will continue to be available in printed versions.
“Digital reports…build on our decades of innovation and move our consumer protection mission forward,” said GIA CEO Susan Jacques. “This important transformation allows GIA to offer consumers a truly modern and engaging experience while helping our industry progress toward a more sustainable future.”
Starting in January 2023, the new Diamond Dossier service will offer a fully digital report, including the 4Cs; the app, which enables retailers and consumers to view, save and share information for their diamonds; and the Match iD instrument.
The elimination of GIA paper reports will save 20 tons of paper and 18.5 tons of plastic each year, the GIA said. It will also reduce transportation-related carbon emissions, the institute added.
HRD Antwerp recently discovered a fake inscription on a polished diamond the lab had received for grading.
The 1.50-carat stone had a Gemological Institute of America (GIA) laser inscription corresponding to a natural grading report, HRD said Monday. The accompanying report listed the diamond as natural, with no color treatments. The stone was further identified as type IIa, meaning it contained virtually no elements other than carbon. However, during testing, the Antwerp lab found that the diamond had undergone High Pressure-High Temperature (HPHT) color treatment.
Although the diamond’s carat weight, color and cut precisely matched the GIA report, HRD noticed inconsistencies with clarity characteristics that were quite similar to those listed in the certification and could easily be mistaken during a standard loupe inspection, it explained.
“Detailed microscopic investigation by an experienced grader revealed that this was not the same diamond described in the report,” HRD said. “The clarity characteristics did not completely overlap. Since these characteristics are a unique fingerprint of the diamond, the inscription was conclusively identified as false. The diamond at hand had been intentionally inscribed with a fake laser inscription to deceive the customer.”
Correction: The story has been updated to clarify what was disclosed in the report and the findings of HRD.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has seen a rise in submissions of lab-grown diamonds with counterfeit inscriptions that make the stones appear natural.
Clients using the GIA’s update or verification services are increasingly sending in goods that prove to be synthetic, the organization said Monday. These stones have falsified girdle engravings that reference a genuine natural-diamond report number, while most have almost identical measurements and weights to the natural diamonds they mimic.
In a recent case, someone submitted a 3.075-carat, H-color, VVS2-clarity, triple-Ex, lab-grown diamond to GIA Antwerp for an update. The stone carried a report for a 3.078-carat, G-color, internally flawless, triple-Ex natural diamond. The synthetic stone’s real-life dimensions were within hundredths of millimeters of the measurements in the natural-diamond report, the GIA noted.
“This unfortunate situation demonstrates why it is important, especially in any transaction where the buyer does not have a trusted relationship with the seller, to have the diamond-grading report updated before completing a purchase,” said Tom Moses, the GIA’s executive vice president and chief laboratory and research officer.
The GIA blotted out the counterfeit inscription and inscribed a report number for a new certificate that it issued, adding the term “laboratory-grown” on the girdle, as is its practice.
In February, the institute reported that it had received a number of lab-grown or treated stones carrying natural reports and fake inscriptions.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has asked customers to return a number of colored diamonds for reassessment, suspecting that a treatment might have gone under the radar.
The organization will reevaluate certain diamonds with “green or greenish” in the color grade, a spokesperson told Rapaport News last week. The recall applies to reports it issued between January and June 2020. The GIA declined to reveal how many stones were affected or to provide their report numbers.
“Recent research and investigation into potential treatment methods caused us to request the return of the subject diamonds for further analysis,” the spokesperson said.
The institute informed customers about the issue around six weeks ago, and is in the process of collecting and reassessing the diamonds. Some stones could get an “undetermined” ruling, while others may require further testing, the spokesperson explained. Many diamonds had already come back with their natural-color statuses confirmed, market sources said. The GIA bases its conclusions on the “state of knowledge and criteria in place at the date of examination,” it added.
Sources estimated that the number of reports under review was close to 100 and could be much higher. The GIA did not specify the nature of the possible treatment. The case is unrelated to the recent discovery of a treated fancy-color diamond on which the institute reported in the latest edition of its academic journal, Gems & Gemology.
“GIA has been investigating the cause of color in diamonds and other gem materials for nearly 70 years,” the spokesperson continued. “Among GIA’s earliest area of research was determining origin of color of green diamonds, which remains even today one of the most difficult areas of gemology. The research process is dynamic, and we recently discovered new information that may provide new insights about the origin of color of the group of diamonds that we have requested to be returned for review.”
The GIA is already dealing with a wider grading backlog following a rebound in market activity in recent months. The organization is operating with as much capacity as local Covid-19 rules allow, using weekends, second shifts and overtime, the spokesperson said.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has recently received “a number of” lab-grown or treated stones carrying natural-diamond reports and fake inscriptions, the organization warned.
Clients submitted the stones for updated reports or verification services, but the grading documents that came with the goods did not match the stones, the GIA explained Tuesday. The weights and grading scores of the lab-grown and treated diamonds were close but not identical to the original stones that appeared on the reports, and they all featured the corresponding natural-diamond report numbers in the form of counterfeit girdle inscriptions.
In one example, a stone submitted was a 1.51212-carat, D-color, VVS2-clarity, type IIa, lab-grown diamond with a cut grade of “very good.” However, the accompanying report — for which the client was seeking an update — was for a 1.50362-carat, VVS2, E, type I natural diamond with “excellent” cut.
In line with its policy, the GIA overwrote all the fraudulent inscriptions with X’s to obscure them, it added. The organization also issued new reports with the accurate details, and engraved the correct report number onto the girdle, and, where relevant, the phrase “laboratory-grown.” In these cases, it also considers informing the client that submitted the stone, law enforcement, and the public, the GIA noted.
Last month, the institute revealed that it had spotted three synthetic moissanites that clients had submitted with forged girdle inscriptions that disguised them as natural diamonds. The cases at its Johannesburg laboratory were the first times the GIA had discovered fake inscriptions on diamond simulants.