November 15, 1999
GE/POL Hits Newspapers
As if diamonds hadn't already gotten their share of international media attention in the past few weeks, the first story in the mainstream press about GE/POL treated diamonds appeared in yesterday's New York Post. (Read story here.)
The article, written by the Post's criminal justice editor, Murray Weiss, called the treatment "a top-secret new process that transforms dud diamonds into glittering gems" and said the issue "has thrown the jewelry world into a panic not seen since the creation of the synthetic diamond more than 40 years ago." Weiss interviewed Cecilia Gardner of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, Bill Boyajian of the Gemological Institute of America and unidentified sources at General Electric, which invented the treatment.
The story did not mention Lazare Kaplan International, the distributor of the diamonds, and only mentioned LKI's subsidiary POL when it explained the GE/POL name stood for "GE Pegasus Overseas Ltd." The article was otherwise accurate, though, explaining the industry's efforts to regulate disclosure and distribution of GE/POL diamonds. The article explained fears that the stones' identifying inscription would be polished off and mentioned that GIA recently caught three dealers trying to sell GE/POL diamonds as untreated ones. The story ended with the usual "buyer beware" message: "None, however, has been sold in the U.S. but that is about to change."
Diamonds were in the press last week because of a worldwide controversy over rebel groups in war-torn African countries selling diamonds to buy arms and support human rights atrocities. The consumer press, especially investigative newspapers and TV programs, often picks up "scandal" stories about jewelry and gemstones around the beginning of the holiday shopping season. (Read more about answering reporters' questions on these issues.)
- by Stacey King