March 18, 2003
EGL USA Matches JCK Grant
The U.S. branch of European Gemological Laboratory, New York City, will match the $50,000 grant it received in February from the JCK Industry Fund. It will use the funds to acquire advanced equipment to conduct research on high-pressure/high-temperature treated synthetic and natural diamonds, says Mark Gershburg, EGL USA's director. The money will also be directed toward education and publishing.
"Solving the HPHT puzzle is not just about having sophisticated testing equipment," says Gershburg. "It requires a multidimensional approach consisting of scientific testing methodologies, access to sample material, technical expertise, and the cooperation of important working partners from the scientific field, gemological labs and the HPHT processing facilities."
EGL USA included research on synthetic diamonds in its JCK grant proposal because producers of synthetics use the HPHT equipment to manufacture the stones, which have become more present on the market, according to Gershburg. Their original color could be improved through additional pressure and temperature, and these synthetic HPHT-treated stones could be confused with natural diamonds, which have either natural color or have been modified by HPHT.
EGL USA is one of only two major gem labs in North America doing research in HPHT (the other is the Gemological Institute of America). Since 1999, when HPHT-treated diamonds first appeared in the marketplace, EGL USA has spent more than $250,000 on HPHT detection issues. It was the first lab to announce HPHT colored diamonds had entered the market and the first to uncover that Type IaB diamonds could be made colorless through HPHT treatment.