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September 1999

Diamond News

GE POL: Industry Speaks Out

Concerns about disclosure bring calls for quick but thoughtful reaction

Industry leaders debated treatment disclosure in the War Room, a feature of the International Gemological Symposium in June. Principally, they discussed the General Electric process used on diamonds marketed by Pegasus Overseas Ltd., a subsidiary of Lazare Kaplan International. The process is known in the trade as GE POL.

In a panel discussion, GIA President William Boyajian called this the biggest crisis in the diamond industry in 23 years. And Martin Rapaport, a diamond dealer in New York City and publisher of the Rapaport Report diamond price list, posed the question how the industry will deal honestly with the issue of diamond color. He said the prevalence of treatments in colored gems may soon be true for diamonds.

Missing Information

The absence of conclusive identifiable features other than a laser inscription on GE POL diamonds is at the crux of the issue. That's a concern because the inscription can be polished off, as it was partially on a few diamonds GIA received at its lab. If laser inscription remains the only known way to detect the GE POL process and it is removable, "As an appraiser, I will at some point feel compelled to say to my customers this technology exists but we are unable to detect it," said Ralph Joseph, an appraiser with The Jewelry Judge, Princeton, NJ.

This lack of specifics about GE POL could cause consumer pressure for details, added Cecilia Gardner, executive director of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, New York City. "The research GIA has undertaken is very important, but we need to know from GE what they are doing," she said.

Jeff Fischer of Fischer Diamonds, a dealer in New York City, suggested a committee be formed to deal immediately with proper disclosure issues and to craft an appropriate response for retailers when consumers and the consumer press start to demand answers.
Many people urged calm. "Let's not overreact," said Boyajian. "Let's respond in a thoughtful manner."

– by Robert Weldon, G.G.



Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.



 

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