Professional Jeweler Archive: EGL USA to Apply Grant to HPHT Study

June 2003


EGL USA to Apply Grant to HPHT Study

EGL USA conceives an ambitious plan for use of a $50,000 JCK-sponsored industry award

It’s never easy being director of a gem lab, the people in that position are fond of saying. New synthetics and simulants, new gem and diamond treatments and exotic requests from clients can be daunting.

Each new wrinkle requires more research and new equipment, both of which cost money – a lot of it. So when EGL USA was named to receive a $50,000 JCK Industry Fund Grant in February, Director Mark Gershburg’s mind raced to formulate a spending plan. EGL USA already has a considerable investment in understanding the high-pressure/high-temperature treatment of diamonds ($250,000 so far, says Gershburg), so the new grant is aimed at acquiring advanced research equipment and sample material to further study that area. Gershburg also announced the lab will match the grant with its own contribution.

Construction of the detailed wish list falls to Branko Deljanin, director of EGL Canada, part of the EGL USA group. Deljanin shared his ambitious plan with Professional Jeweler.

The Plan

  • Instruments. No. 1 on the wish list is the acquisition of FTIR infrared spectrometers for use in EGL USA’s labs in Los Angeles and Toronto. Deljanin is also asking for a new screening instrument to detect HPHT treatments in diamonds to be used in the Canadian and New York labs.
  • Diamond samples. Acquisition of synthetic Type Ib diamond crystals from producers in the U.S. and Asia are a high priority. The lab also will buy natural Type IIa and IIb rough diamonds from global sources. This will increase the database of knowledge in the ongoing study of crystal morphology (“Rough Report,” Professional Jeweler, March 2002, p. 22).
  • Documenting changes. Ongoing experiments include submitting synthetic crystal slices to HPHT treatments at varying temperatures. It’s important to document and better understand the resulting nitrogen aggregation and color changes, he says. Of interest to the trade, for example, is information about Type IIa brown stones and verifiable information about when they turn colorless or pink, or when rare Type IIb stones can be changed from gray to blue. With the more common Type Ia diamonds, Deljanin says the lab is keen on knowing the mechanics that cause pure yellow or pure orange and that cause colors to lighten in some stones. In conjunction with these experiments, Deljanin says the lab is interested in documenting changes in color, inclusions, fluorescence and spectral characteristics in all types mentioned. The instruments mentioned in this article will be key.
  • International collaboration with scientists and universities. The money also will fund joint projects with other scientists involved in HPHT experimentation in North America, Europe and Asia. Use of advanced technology, not otherwise available to gem labs, will be sought to confirm previous research or determine new ways of screening and identifying HPHT diamonds.
  • Lectures and educational material. The money has already helped to pay for EGL lectures in Edmonton and Vancouver in Canada; New York City, Los Angeles and Tucson in the U.S.; and in Seoul, South Korea. Deljanin says the work will lead to published research in the form of an updated HPHT booklet to be distributed free at EGL USA lectures.

– by Robert Weldon, G.G.

Branko Deljanin examines synthetic diamonds manufactured in the Iljin diamond factory in Seoul, South Korea. Courtesy of EGL USA.
EGL Korea students who attended an HPHT lecture examine the diamonds with Deljanin. Courtesy of EGL USA.

Copyright © 2003 by Bond Communications