Newsweek Intl. Errs in Synthetic Story

February 17, 2005

Newsweek Intl. Errs in Synthetic Story

Newsweek magazine's international edition has agreed to post a letter correcting errors in a story on synthetic diamonds both online and in its Feb. 28 print edition, says the letter's author, Jerry Ehrenwald, CEO of the International Gemological Institute, New York City. The magazine incorrectly reported that DiamondView, one of De Beers' two synthetic detection devices, was unable to identify as fake three CVD synthetic diamonds produced by Apollo Diamond, Boston, MA.

In fact, the machine did identify the synthetics, says Ehrenwald, whose lab Newsweek reporter Michael Hastings was visiting when he witnessed DiamondView in action. "DiamondView is a luminescence-imaging instrument, which gives the information required in order to make a definitive identification regarding whether a stone is natural or synthetic," says Ehrenwald. "The stones Newsweek brought to the IGI lab exhibited a strong and characteristic fluorescence reaction during DiamondView testing, which IGI gemologists unequivocally stated 'proved the stones were synthetic.'

"The sensational nature of the article misled readers. In reality, gemologists working at labs and in retail outlets, with both the appropriate detection equipment and level of knowledge, can detect these stones," says Ehrenwald.

In April 2004, De Beers announced it would begin selling its two synthetic detection devices to members of the trade through an agreement with the Gemological Institute of America. In November 2004, the Diamond High Council said at its annual conference in Antwerp that it too would begin selling a battery operated device that can detect synthetics, beginning in April 2005.

by Peggy Jo Donahue

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