Q & A with GIA

The Gemological Institute of America Inc. (GIA) is considered the world's leading source of gems and jewelry knowledge, standards and education. Established in 1931, GIA's mission as a nonprofit institute is threefold: to educate, conduct gemological research, and to protect consumers through unbiased gem grading and analysis. Here at deBebians, we're proud to have three GIA graduate gemologists on staff who trained at GIA's Carlsbad, Calif. campus and who are always on hand to provide expert guidance to our clients.
Donna Baker
"As a public benefit organization, we strive to apply the strictest ethical standards each day and to adhere to our core principles in serving the public interest in every country and city where we operate." — Donna Baker, GIA's president and CEOPhoto courtesy GIA


We thought we'd offer you a glimpse into GIA with these exclusive Q&As recently asked by us and answered by GIA in April 2013.


Q. In 2006, GIA began including a cut grade for round brilliant diamonds on its GIA Diamond Grading Reports and GIA Diamond Dossiers. Does GIA plan to offer cut grades for other diamond shapes in the future?

A. Nearly 80% of diamonds today are cut as round brilliant, and given the wide variety of other shapes in the market and the extensive amount of research involved in creating a cut grade, there are no immediate plans to offer a cut grade for other shapes.

GIA conducted 15 years of research using the human eye and computer modeling to come up with the cut grade. This determined which proportion and which cut produce the best performance in a round brilliant diamond. While diamonds can be fashioned into different shapes, the term "cut" refers to a diamond's complex relationship with light. A number of factors influence a diamond's cut grade, including its overall face-up appearance, design and craftsmanship.


Q. GIA's core research focuses on separating out artificially enhanced and synthetic gemstones from natural ones in order to protect the buyer. What are some of the latest artificial technologies GIA has encountered?

A. Gem-quality colorless synthetic diamonds, which to the unaided eye look identical to natural stones, appeared in the market in commercial quantities early in 2012. With millions of gems entrusted to GIA for grading each year, its researchers have an exceptional opportunity to see the products of new gem treatment and synthesis techniques as they begin to appear in the market. Based on those observations, GIA's global team of more than 50 scientists and other experts is able to develop and share new practical means of identifying natural treated and synthetic gems of all kinds to best serve the public, industry and the market.

The summer 2012 issue of Gems & Gemology, GIA's peer-reviewed quarterly professional journal, offers an extensive analysis of synthetic diamonds based on the work of GIA researchers and other contributors. The first article discusses how to distinguish synthetics from natural stones; a second looks at why newer synthetics appear much closer to natural diamonds than those manufactured a few years before. The third article offers an initial evaluation of a new form of synthetic diamond material that has not yet reached the market. An overview of these articles is available on GIA's website here.


Q. GIA is known in the jewelry industry for its strict diamond grading standards. How does GIA maintain this high level of consistency?

A. All GIA laboratories and graders follow the same rigorous standards and procedures based on the international standard for describing diamond quality that GIA created 60 years ago. Staffed by expert diamond graders and gemologists, GIA laboratories set the standard for grading practices worldwide. Known for its strict impartiality and benchmark grading services, the Institute is entrusted with grading some of the world's most famous diamonds including the Hope Diamond, the Steinmetz Pink and the Taylor-Burton. GIA laboratories are located in Bangkok, Carlsbad, Gaborone, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Mumbai, New York, Ramat Gan and Tokyo.


Q. Part of GIA's mission is to ensure public trust. It's been reported in the Wall Street Journal that jewelers agree that GIA is the most trustworthy accredited gemological laboratory. Please tell me a little about GIA's code of ethics and its integrity as an institution.

A. The Ethisphere Institute recently named GIA as one of the 2013 World's Most Ethical (WME) Companies. GIA's ethics program promotes the integrity, respect, results, teamwork and leadership among all of our staff members. To be included in the annual list of WME Companies, organizations must demonstrate an active role in promoting ethical business practices internally and exceeding legal compliance standards. The designation recognizes GIA's efforts to build and maintain a superior ethics and compliance program, which is part of the Institute's mission of ensuring the public trust in gems and jewelry.

To learn more about GIA, please visit www.gia.edu. deBebians sells GIA graded loose diamonds, GIA graded yellow diamonds, and jewelry featuring diamonds with a GIA report.