When I became a graduate gemologist in 1985, we relied on three things — education, simple tools and intuition — to identify gems, especially diamonds. The course is difficult in the beginning, with a lot of dry humdrum and specifics. While Jeffrey graduated with a GIA certificate in diamonds, I went all the way — completing my GG and taking other courses like the pearl course.
Our tools were simple: a scope, a loupe, and a refractometer. With these tools, I could be 100 percent sure what a stone was and what it was not.
My, how things have changed! Today, manmade diamonds have gained a foothold in the market. As they become cheaper, scammers are getting in on the action.
In recent issues of Gems & Gemology, the GIA reported finding manmade diamonds infiltrating melee (those small diamonds surrounding your bigger diamond). Dealers, knowingly or unknowingly, are beginning to sell manmade diamonds as genuine Earth-grown, and some are now even taking info from a genuine GIA report and ascribing this info to a manmade diamond with a report number matching the mined diamond!
An article authored by Christopher Breeding and Troy Ardon states that such a stone came through the GIA’s facility that was inscribed with the number of a GIA report issued in 2015 for a natural, untreated diamond graded as 1.74 carats, D color, Excellent cut grade and VVS1 clarity.
When GIA looked at the stone, they found it was Excellent cut grade but 1.76 carats, with F color and VS1 clarity. Close, but no cigar.
Moreover, the GIA’s screening processes — which are used on every stone to determine if it is natural, treated, lab-grown or a simulant — indicated that the diamond needed “further testing to determine its origin.”
As a self-described tool person, when Jeffrey asks me what I want for a birthday or anniversary, I ask for tools. While he always gets me a piece of jewelry, he also acquiesces to my tool passion — his latest gift was an expensive machine (below) similar to the one GIA used to detect the scammer’s manmade diamond. This machine shows aggregated nitrogen and boron impurities.
When you add this to our Sarine DiaScan recut machine and our GIA colorimeter, this solidifies us as a full-fledged lab.
In the article, the GIA advises members of the trade with any doubt about some aspect of a diamond to send it to a gem lab for verification. Let us help. We have the tools and the knowledge.
It takes highly educated experts like the team of graduate gemologists at Old Northeast Jewelers to understand and identify the true value of natural diamonds. Call or bring yours in for an appraisal and offer. We are always buying vintage diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds. We will meet you at your home, bank, or attorney’s office. No estate too small or too large.
JEFF HESS, Owner & Appraiser.
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