Last July GIA addressed the ‘synthetic’ problem by removing the word from their grading reports (it was forced by the FTC, to be precise) but there’s still a bigger issue that can’t be ignored.
What’s the issue?
GIA deliberately censors lab-grown diamond reports and withholds full information from the public.
Why is it a problem?
a. Creates confusion (less trust and confidence)
Both mined and lab-grown diamonds are graded exactly the same (can be seen from their official videos, scientific articles and statements). Therefore, GIA is withholding full information from the public to create more confusion.
b. Pricing problems and loss of profit for everyone involved
How one is supposed to set his/her price on a near-colorless SI diamond? There’s a huge price difference between G SI1 and J SI2 diamonds but their GIA certs will be identical.
This forces people to grade their diamonds in other places, such as IGI/HRD/GCAL. However, some clients are not willing to accept any other reports besides GIA, which leads to a complete loss of a sale.
Why does GIA do it ?
GIA uses the outdated 2006 lab diamond grading policy as the main justification for not grading them fully (considering them “too rare” and in need of differentiation from mined diamonds).
In their own words: “When these reports were introduced, there was a range of opinion in the trade about GIA grading synthetic diamonds… Since synthetic diamonds continue to be rare, and to differentiate them from what is reported on grading reports for natural diamonds, only color and clarity ranges are used.”.
It’s unethical because it’s against GIA’s official mission as a non-profit “To truly be the foremost authority in gemology, we must always be an impartial, independent organization. No matter what other changes may come to GIA, we will always be steadfast in our commitment to lead with integrity and the highest ethical standards.”
It’s illegal because withholding lab diamond grading information substantially serves the private interests of the mined diamond industry, not public interests.
What can be done?
GIA should refrain from engaging in political activities if they are to retain their scientific credibility. It’s clearly a win-win solution not just for GIA but for all the parties involved in trading lab-grown diamonds (as well as end-consumers). With more “rare synthetic diamonds” at hand, GIA will greatly improve their grading abilities which would certainly help to “serve the consumer and provide clear and accurate information”.