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December 1999

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Speaking Out on Diamond Issues

The Jewelry Information Center and Jewelers of America have prepared information for you to share with the public on three hot topics: GE/POL, diamond synthetics and synthetic moissanite

The Jewelry Information Center has developed a brief you can consult in case you're asked about GE/POL or synthetic diamonds this holiday season. JIC developed the information in conjunction with the Gemological Institute of America, Diamond Information Center, Jewelers Vigilance Committee and American Gem Society. Professional Jeweler has edited the brief for space reasons. Call JIC at (800) 459-0130 for a full copy.

Also Jewelers of America has prepared market updates for its members on GE/POL, synthetics and synthetic moissanite. We reprint excerpts from JA's updates on moissanite to complement the JIC brief. Call JA at (800) 223-0673 for a full copy of its update.

GE/POL

On March 1, General Electric and Lazare Kaplan International announced a technological process developed by GE scientists to improve the color of a select group of natural diamonds. These stones will be marketed exclusively by POL, a new subsidiary of LKI. The actual process remains undisclosed, however, GE has confirmed it involves subjecting natural diamonds to intense heat and pressure. GE and LKI have agreed to identify all GE/POL stones with a laser inscription on the girdle (GE/POL). Each stone will be accompanied by a diamond grading report from GIA clearly indicating the stone has undergone the GE treatment.

JIC says you should be aware that:

  • GIA has been able to identify several GE/POL diamonds that were resubmitted to its lab with the inscription wholly or partially removed. GIA will reinscribe the GE/POL mark where it has been found to be removed.
  • The World Federation of Diamond Bourses will impose sanctions and penalties for dealers who fail to disclose or who remove a laser inscription identifying a treated diamond.
  • According to the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, anyone who knowingly removes the inscription and tries to sell a treated diamond as untreated could be prosecuted for deceptive trade practices and fraud.
  • A full consumer marketing and promotional package will accompany GE/POL diamonds, along with a warranty from GE. This warranty will be rendered null and void if the inscription is tampered with.

To help you answer other questions about GE/POL diamonds:

Q. Will many color-enhanced diamonds be available?
A. No. Only a very small number of diamonds are suited for this process.
Q. If retailers can't detect GE/POL diamonds gemologically, how will a consumer know whether his or her diamond was altered?
A. All GE/POL diamonds are inscribed on the girdle and are accompanied by a GIA diamond grading report clearly identifying them.
Q. What happens if a consumer later discovers he or she bought a GE/POL diamond without it being disclosed?
A. A professional jeweler will stand behind the products he or she sells. The World Federation of Diamond Bourses has recommended that if any GE/POL diamond is sold without disclosure, even in good faith, the buyer is entitled to a full refund.
  Synthetic Diamonds: JIC helps you answer these questions on synthetic diamonds:
Q. Will every retailer be able to tell the difference between synthetic and natural diamonds?
A. Many retailers are gemologists or have the instruments that detect synthetics. Questionable diamonds also can be sent to a gemological lab for identification as natural or synthetic.
Q. How can a consumer be sure he's not getting a synthetic diamond?
A. Strict consumer protection laws require full disclosure of synthetic diamonds. Consumers should shop at a well-established jeweler they trust. They should get everything in writing and, if it's a significant diamond, may want to ask for an independent laboratory report that will disclose whether the diamond is natural. They also should get the retailer's return and refund policy in writing.
Q. Will synthetic diamonds devalue natural diamonds?
A. Experience with synthetics in the colored stone industry suggests synthetic diamonds will not erode the market for natural diamonds and may create greater awareness and desirability for the natural gem.

Synthetic Moissanite

JA's update on synthetic moissanite states the material shares many of diamond's visual characteristics when inspected with the unaided eye. It also shares diamond's ability to
conduct heat rapidly. Because of this physical property, synthetic moissanite can't be separated from diamond with a standard diamond tester. Testers designed specifically to separate synthetic moissanite from diamond are available from several vendors. The material can be detected also by looking for double refraction using 10X magnification. Here are some other tips:

  • Make sure your customers know your store personnel are able to identify synthetic moissanite in the jewelry they bring in as well as in jewelry you sell.
  • If you have a synthetic moissanite detector, you should demonstrate how it works using a diamond and a synthetic moissanite.
  • According to JVC, the Federal Trade Commission in its Guidelines for the Jewelry Industry requires complete and proper disclosure of synthetic gem materials to customers. Words such as "gem" and "gemstone" cannot be used to describe a synthetic moissanite unless you also use the term "synthetic" or "laboratory-created." The FTC also considers use of the words "faux" or "created" by themselves unacceptable and misleading. Synthetic moissanite can't be described as simply moissanite.

By Caroline Stanley, Director of Marketing & Communications, Jewelers of America

Caroline Stanley is a third-generation jeweler working as director of marketing and communications for Jewelers of America (call 800-223-0673 for membership information.) She also is a past president of the Arkansas Jewelers Association, has worked with Platinum Guild International and won a Women's Jewelry Association Award of Excellence.

 

Who Ya Gonna Call?

Media types are hungry for expert information. Here are some organizations that can help. If you are a member of a retail jewelers group, – such as Jewelers of America, American Gem Society or Independent Jewelers Organization – these groups also have information.

Jewelry Information Center
(800) 459-0130

Diamond Information Center
(212) 210-7920

American Gem Trade Association
(800) 972-1162

Cultured Pearl Information Center
(212) 688-5580

Platinum Guild International
(949) 760-8279

World Gold Council
(212) 317-3800

Silver Information Center
(201) 891-7193

Watchmakers of Switzerland Information Center
(201) 291-8811



Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.



 

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