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October 1999


The Girdle Hurdle

A few diamonds whitened with the GE POL process were submitted to GIA with their identifying laser inscription totally or partially removed. GIA responds with a warning

Anyone who thinks they can hide that a diamond has been whitened with the new GE POL process by polishing the identifying laser inscription off the girdle should think again. The Gemological Institute of America's Gem Trade Laboratory says it can identify such diamonds and will make an issue of it.

"A GE– processed diamond with all or part of its inscription removed can immediately be identified," says GIA President William E. Boyajian. "The company submitting the diamond will be asked to authorize, within 48 hours, the reinscription of GE POL, and [GIA– GTL] will undertake the inscription. Should the company choose otherwise, GIA will report this to the appropriate authorities, including the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, and make public the potential misrepresentation." JVC would investigate to see if fraud was committed somewhere along the distribution channel, says Cecilia Gardner, executive director and general counsel of JVC. "If the actions are proven to be fraudulent, we have the tools to bring legal action."

GIA– GTL also plans to issue an updated report for the diamond with this statement: "GE POL is present on the girdle. A GIA report was previously issued for this diamond which disclosed that Pegasus Overseas Limited stated this diamond was processed to improve its appearance by General Electric Co."

The History
Consistent identification of GE POL diamonds has been an issue ever since Lazare Kaplan International and its subsidiary, Pegasus Overseas Ltd., announced in March they would distribute diamonds that had undergone the proprietary whitening process developed by GE. Identification is a top priority at GIA because the process can't be fully recognized in all affected diamonds using gemological techniques, GIA relies on three factors for identification:

  1. Inscriptions – which read GE POL – that Lazare Kaplan International agreed to place on the girdle of the diamonds.
  2. GIA– GTL certificates that describe every GE POL diamond issued by POL.
  3. GIA– GTL's management information system, Horizon, which enters every diamond submitted to GIA– GTL for grading. Data about each diamond enters a traceable database.

"GIA is the independent arbiter of the public's trust in diamonds and gemstones," says Boyajian.

"We accept this important responsibility and will do everything in our power to ensure that GE– processed diamonds are distinguished through inscription – as POL intended – and through GIA's comprehensive archival database. These diamonds must be disclosed at every level of the pipeline. Our extensive research program continues at full pace because the integrity of the diamond industry is on the line."

by Robert Weldon, G.G.

The consequences for anyone who polishes away this laser inscription (shown left) could be dire. Courtesy of Lazare Kaplan International and Pegasus Overseas Ltd., New York City.

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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