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Watch the Rapaport Diamond Certification Conference

Grading Language, Standards, Issues

Jun 12, 2012 1:11 PM   By Rapaport News
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The following video (83 minutes) is the full version of the Rapaport Diamond Certification Conference, which was held during the JCK 2012 Vegas show on June 3.  Discussions centered around  diamond certification, the state of grading and grading standards, how laboratories grade stones and how the role of certificates have evolved. Observations were shared that some labs play by the rules and some do not. While there are multiple grading labs --that itself provides a healthy, competitive environment-- they don't follow the same language or standards, which ultimately presents a risk to consumer confidence.

Panelists include Michael Cortez, founder of World Gemological Services; John Nichols of Huntington Jewelers and Maarten DeWitte of Embee Diamonds.

Tags: certification, diamonds, discussion, grading, Labs, panel, Rapaport News, standards
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Jun 15, 2012 3:51PM    By Chris B
I respectfully would like to add that one of the primary factors hurting the industry at the moment, in my opinion, is the inconsistency of grades coming from GIA. I preface my comment by saying that I am a G.G., I worked for the GIA Laboratory for a number of years as a double-checker (essentially a final grader), and I presently work in a position that exposes me to hundreds of diamonds per day. As a former GIA Laboratory diamond grader, I can assure you that there was a system (pre-2009/2010 or perhaps slightly before) in place that was truly exceptional, scientific, reliable, and consistent, and that internally this could have been observed down to a quarter of a grade. Today, however, GIA is easily the least consistent laboratory in the market, yet they remain the most influential voice as it relates to the grading of any given diamond. If Richard Liddicoat were alive today, I know two things for certain: 1) He would be incredibly proud of GIA's educational, research, and publication accomplishments; 2) He would be incredibly disappointed by the absolute contrast of the pure business minded attitude that the laboratory has adopted. When I first started working at GIA, I was among a group of 15 or so people who had the good fortune of joining a group of gemological experts that seldomly recruited more than 15-25 people annually. Naturally, those where the years when standards were manageable. Today, however, the Lab recruits an unbelievable number of people worldwide and naturally the standards are no longer in place. Anybody who sells diamonds on a serious level knows this story, perhaps some more than others. Am I going too far to say that GIA Laboratory is behaving in a somewhat monopolistic manner? Probably. In fact, I am sure that I am, but it's how I feel. However, GIA represents the vast majority of certified diamonds, and they're valued at an incredibly small discount rate despite the inconsistent grading. It doesn't matter if the a "K" stone is given an "M" or an "I"; either way, the stone is going to sell for about 10 back. And all other diamond laboratories (namely, IGI, EGL USA, AGS, HRD,...etc) will continue to sell at considerably lower rate because they are not deemed to be at the same level -- thank God, I might add. Thank you, sir, for speaking up about the VVS1-potential that ultimately got a VVS2-not-potential. I hear similar stories nearly everyday, yet it continues to blow my mind. I hope GIA fixes these massive problems, and I say that for one reason: because I believe it is their duty to do so.
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