October 6, 1999
GIA Gives More Detail on GE POL
GIA published more detail on its research of almost 900 GE POL diamonds in the October 1 issue of the Rapaport Report. But Leon Tempelsman, president of Lazare Kaplan International, whose subsidiary Pegasus Overseas Ltd., cuts and markets the GE POL diamonds, said in the same issue that many of the diamonds GIA examined were early research-and-development samples and some of the characteristics GIA identified are not present in later GE POL diamonds.
Though much of the GIA research has been reported previously (read related story), a few added factors include:
Most of these characteristics are not consistent with the features in similar unprocessed diamonds, GIA said.
- The partially healed surface fractures previously announced sometimes gave the appearance of a fingerprint inclusion; others showed a frosted or granular appearance. Sometimes the cleavages displayed a black area identified as graphite. A number of the included crystals were surrounded by a roughly spherical black patch (thought to be graphite) then by a translucent outer halo of tiny cracks radiating outward from the inclusion.
- A large number of the diamonds exhibited strain patterns with cross-hatched, banded or mottled arrangements. The strain colors were mostly gray, blue and orange.
- 80% of the diamonds did not emit long- or short-wave ultraviolet fluorescence.
But Tempelsman told Rapaport the first nearly 900 stones GIA examined "basically represent the preliminary development work on the product well over a year ago [and] include samples that were works in progress. Some of the indicators GIA picked up were related to these research-and-development samples are not present in the later work as a result of improvements in the process."
Tempelsman also confirmed the early samples submitted to GIA were almost all Type IIa diamonds. Subsequent batches will have "a significant portion" of Type IIa stones, but other diamond types will be included as well. He confirmed GE continues its research on processing a broader range of diamonds; he thinks GE will be successful in the next few years. Bill Woodburn, GE's vice president of superabrasives, also confirmed to Rapaport that the company is expanding its technology and looking to apply it to a broader range of diamonds.
Meanwhile, LKI says its GE POL brand on the girdle of the processed diamonds is enough to prevent deception and that this constitutes full disclosure of what it calls a completely natural process, not a treatment. Nevertheless, many in the trade call the GE process a treatment because most authorities don't consider the high-temperature, high-pressure conditions to which these stones are subjected to be part of normal processing (such as acid boiling or laser cleaving, neither of which changes the grade of a diamond or affects its value, as the GE process does).
Additionally, retail jewelers worry that even though Pegasus is fully disclosing, some of these stones will be tampered with, their brands removed and passed off as unprocessed.
Tempelsman also told Professional Jeweler the company will roll out a complete consumer marketing program. He added to Rapaport that the company plans to offer the treated diamonds only to selected retailers.
- by Peggy Jo Donahue