GIA Inaugurates New York Lab & Education Facility
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) board of governors formally inaugurated the Institute’s new laboratory and education facility in the International Gem Tower in mid May. In addition to discussing regular business, the board focused on the challenges posed by unprecedented demand for GIA’s identification and grading services, and growing industry concerns about synthetic and treated gemstones.
To address the elevated service time resulting from high demand for GIA laboratory services, the governing body of the public-benefit institute directed GIA’s management to examine the potential for adding a diamond grading facility in Surat, the centre of India’s diamond manufacturing industry, as well as affirming its support for GIA’s expanded hiring programme and other measures. The board also increased funding for continued research into the detection of synthetic and treated gems, and for further innovation to speed the diamond grading process.
The Board identified three factors contributing to the exceptionally high demand for GIA grading reports: • Many banks appear to be requesting grading reports to substantiate loans
• Concerns about undisclosed synthetic diamonds have made effective screening, especially of smaller stones, much more important
• An increase in consumer demand in developing markets for smaller stones with GIA grading reports
Speaking after the meeting, chair of the GIA board of governors John Green said, “Over the past 18 months, GIA has seen a dramatic increase in demand for laboratory services, especially for diamonds weighing less than half carat. To address the demand-driven longer service times, particularly in the increasingly important Indian manufacturing sector, GIA will study the feasibility of expanding our laboratory presence to Surat, bringing grading services that much closer to our clients.”
The board increased funding for GIA’s research programmes. The institute’s team of 38 full-time research scientists, including 20 with doctoral degrees, focuses its efforts on developing the tools and techniques to identify synthetic and treated diamonds, coloured stones and pearls. The research team is working to expand the capability of GIA’s DiamondCheck system and to develop technology and processes to further accelerate the grading process.
Addressing representatives of the New York gem and jewellery industry gathered to mark the opening of GIA’s new facility in the city’s Diamond District, Green said, “This fantastic new space brings together the three pillars of GIA – our comprehensive, long-term research efforts, our industry-leading laboratory services, and the most recognised gem and jewellery education programmes in the world – all in one fabulous location.” GIA moved its laboratory into the 80,000-sq-ft, three-floor facility in midMarch; gemmology and jewellery design classes started in the new location on May 27.