Undislcosed Lab-Grown Diamonds – Reality, Rumor or Fear Mongering?

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has recently reported “…there has been an increase in undisclosed synthetics…”. Tom Moses, executive vice president of GIA laboratory and research, even mentioned law enforcement contacted GIA in one of the cases. GIA spokesperson Stephen Morisseau adds: “The quantity of undisclosed synthetics remains a very small proportion of the diamonds submitted to GIA for grading and identification.”



Lab-grown Diamonds
[Image Courtesy: Decatur Jewelry, GIA]
The issue of undisclosed lab-grown diamonds has been appearing in the news ever since they started becoming a commercial success in North America for last few years. What doesn’t add up here is the absence of details about such “reported” mixing incidents like – carats of diamonds found, parties responsible for submission, how the perpetrators were identified, who are the perpetrators and actions taken against them.

To find out the truth behind this reported observation from GIA and to ensure that the details of these incidences are brought out in front of the entire industry and the world, BDI tried to contact Susan Jacques (President, GIA), Tom Moses and Stephen Morisseau and asked them following questions:

  1. So far how many “Undisclosed Synthetics” incidences have been identified by GIA?
  2. Who submitted these undisclosed lab-grown diamonds to GIA ? (names of companies/ individuals)
  3. When (date and time) and at which GIA labs (location), were these “Undisclosed Synthetics” submitted and identified?
  4. What were the volume in carats of diamonds and/or lab-grown diamonds in each of these submissions?
  5. Which law enforcement authorities contacted GIA and what actions have been taken against those involved in undisclosed lab-grown diamonds submission?
  6. How does GIA plan to discourage such practices from happening in future?


Of the three, only Stephen Morisseau responded saying, “GIA does not disclose details of submissions to our laboratories”, and avoided answering any of the questions. GIA being an important stakeholder in the industry with the responsibility to protect consumer’s interests must take an unbiased stand and should provide complete details about the “reported” incidences of mixing, if any. Their reluctance to provide details of undisclosed lab-grown diamonds indicates the possibility of GIA having a biased agenda on the issue. Whether that agenda is to protect the interest of mined diamond producers, or fear mongering to discourage lab-grown diamond adoption by trade, or simply spread rumors so more people get their diamonds tested resulting in more business for GIA, or are they really unbiased, only GIA would be able to tell.

The situation is even more confusing with trade associations in India. Recently Surat Diamond Association (SDA) has mentioned (yet again) in media that Undisclosed Lab-grown diamonds have been “spotted” in India. Only few months back, Dinesh Navadia, SDA President had categorically confirmed that no diamond mixing has ever taken place and “if any story is published in the past of such incidence, then its not factual and was a rumor only”. During the same period, even the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) chairman Vipul Shah stated “It is all just rumors. We have not received any official complaint.”

Important industry stakeholders like diamond associations – SDA and GJEPC going back and forth on their statement time and again only indicates that their sole agenda is to confuse and mislead consumers and trade. Besides, till date, none of these industry stakeholders including GIA has been able to provide any details of the rumored diamond mixing cases. It does not then come as a surprise that the truth behind Undisclosed Lab-grown diamonds happen to be a pure work of fiction.


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