I recently read with some horror that a diamond-grading lab reported getting over 600 synthetic diamonds without disclosure. You may or may not have heard something about this yourself, but either way, I urge you to read about it now. JCK reported it here. I’ve since learned that a gem lab in China has also reported receiving undisclosed synthetic diamonds for evaluation.
This is scary. Diamonds are the life-blood for many jewelers, and any threat that the diamonds for sale in a store might be “fakes” could be a huge problem for everyone, be they a jeweler or a customer. So what is a jeweler to do? First of all, I urge you not to ignore this. Failure to deal with this just opens you up to potential fraud. Unfortunately, new methods of synthesizing diamonds leave hard-to-find clues. More than ever before, jewelers must rely on a few labs such as GIA and IGI to tell us if a diamond is synthetic. Given this, one obvious strategy is to only buy diamonds that have grading reports from reputable laboratories.
Testing isn’t really viable for melee, however; the expense of grading reports becomes an unacceptable burden as the cost of the diamond comes down. Indeed, at the smallest sizes, a grading report will cost more than the diamond itself; therefore, purchasing grading reports cannot be your only strategy.
Ideally, I would hope that GIA or some other enterprising gemological organization could find a “black box” that we can test for synthetic diamonds in bulk, but there is no assurance such a device will ever be developed.
My advice is to buy melee diamonds only from trusted sources. Buying loose melee goods at shows from new unproven vendors has suddenly become fraught with a new peril. Ensure that your supplier has a direct relationship with a cutting factory. And for center stones, the need for a reputable grading report has just become heightened.
We will be monitoring this situation with keen interest here at Rio Grande. If you have any concerns, or diamond needs, our gemologists are always ready to serve you either through the web or by phone, 800-257-7026.