Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Identifying Synthetic Diamonds with Deceptive Attributes

As Guy Borenstein gears up for Stuller’s Bench Jeweller Workshop scheduled for March, one recurring focal point remains synthetic diamonds, slated for discussion for the fifth consecutive year.


The landscape of tools available to detect lab-grown diamonds has expanded significantly, with approximately 40 instruments on the market aimed at delineating natural from synthetic diamonds, according to insights from the Natural Diamond Council (NDC).


“Five years ago, only a handful of attendees were screening for lab-grown diamonds [LGDs], but now more are,” remarked the director of gemstone procurement for the Lafayette, Louisiana-based manufacturer. However, he underscored that a majority still do not engage in such screening measures.

Recent episodes involving undisclosed synthetics being submitted to labs have underscored the imperative for heightened vigilance among retailers. Over the past two months, four labs, including the Gemmological Institute of America (GIA), have documented instances of synthetic diamonds being misrepresented as natural. Despite the advanced testing capabilities of labs, the onus for detection often rests upon retailers, small-scale manufacturers, and dealers.

Marc Altman of B&E Jewellers in Southampton, Pennsylvania, has encountered undisclosed synthetics in newly crafted items as well as in client engagement rings. Leveraging screening tools like the GIA ID100, he managed to identify lab-grown diamonds, thus safeguarding his reputation.

While some instances of undisclosed synthetics may be inadvertent, others raise suspicions of deliberate deception. Regardless of intent, industry experts underscore the critical importance of comprehensive screening to uphold consumer trust.

Efficient screening poses challenges, particularly with items adorned with micro-pavé and concealed halos of diamonds, necessitating patience and meticulous examination. Robust quality controls and repeated testing emerge as imperative for accurate detection.

Both retailers and labs employ an array of tools and methodologies, spanning from microscopes and polariscopes to advanced spectroscopy techniques, to discern natural from synthetic diamonds. However, dependable identification often necessitates multiple tools and seasoned operators.

Manufacturers such as Stuller prioritize rigorous screening protocols to forestall the infiltration of undisclosed synthetics into the market. With Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations governing, the responsibility rests on all stakeholders across the supply chain to execute thorough testing.

Despite the hurdles, industry practitioners stress the significance of disclosure and thorough screening to mitigate the risk of undisclosed synthetics permeating the market, thereby safeguarding consumer trust in the long haul.


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