GIA Expands East and West Coast Labs

February 15, 2005

GIA Expands East and West Coast Labs

In its ongoing efforts to meet worldwide demand for its diamond grading reports and other laboratory services, the Gemological Institute of America is underway with substantial expansions of its East and West Coast laboratory locations.

After more than a year of planning, construction has begun at the GIA Laboratory headquarters at 580 Fifth Ave., in New York City's diamond district, as well as at GIA's Carlsbad, CA, laboratory location. The Laboratory has been focused on growth and through aggressive hiring, the GIA lab has increased its grading, gemological identification, research, and support staffs to nearly 700. These expansions will allow the lab to continue growing at this pace.

When construction is complete, the New York City location will have added 11,500 square feet, for a total of 32,500 square feet. In addition, GIA will more than double its lab space in Carlsbad by adding almost 45,000 square feet, for a total of 85,500 square feet.

The multiple-phase remodeling efforts in New York City and Carlsbad are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2005. In New York City, this includes remodeling the former education center (relocated to 270 Madison Ave.) and adding space on the third floor to expand the grading laboratory. Renovations of the grading lab, research, identification services and other laboratory-support functions on both coasts are also in progress or scheduled.

GIA laboratory CEO Thomas C. Yonelunas said that since 2001, the total number of items processed by GIA lab has increased by more than 20% each year. In 2004 alone, the demand for all GIA Laboratory diamond grading services increased by 22%, GIA Diamond Dossier® services by 49%, its fancy color diamond services by 28.5%, and its diamond inscription services by 35%.

"The number of reports generated annually is astounding, and we are constantly searching for ways to better serve our clients," Yonelunas said. He added that GIA has restructured its procedures to ensure greater efficiency, while also investing significantly in staff growth, facilities expansion and infrastructure development to keep up with the ever-growing demand. "We are concentrating heavily on the laboratory’s growth to support the record number of requests for grading and other services."

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