GIA In­dia’s 10-year Jour­ney Has Been Ex­cit­ing and Event­ful

In an exclusive in­ter­view with Soli­taire In­ter­na­tional, NIRUPA BHATT, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, GIA In­dia and Mid­dle East, rem­i­nisces about the decade- long jour­ney of the In­sti­tute that has worked closely with the in­dus­try to help grow busi­ness.

Solitaire - - CONTENTS -

It’s been a decade-long jour­ney for GIA in In­dia un­der your ste­ward­ship. Tell us about some of the lab’s big­gest achieve­ments or mile­stones.

It has been an ex­cit­ing and event­ful pe­riod. In 2008, we ex­tended GIA’s in­de­pen­dent gem­stone eval­u­a­tion ser­vices, which meet global qual­ity stan­dards, to In­dia. This re­in­forced the In­sti­tute’s mis­sion to en­sure the pub­lic trust in gems and jew­ellery. I un­der­stand this also helped the In­dian di­a­mond in­dus­try to sell on­line, reach newer mar­kets and grow their ex­ports. Over the past decade the in­dus­try has grown sig­nif­i­cantly, even dur­ing dif­fi­cult times such as the 2009 global eco­nomic down­turn. This growth, in turn, helped GIA In­dia grow to over 1,200 em­ploy­ees to­day. In ad­di­tion to im­par­tial, in­de­pen­dent lab­o­ra­tory ser­vices and glob­ally recog­nised ed­u­ca­tion pro­grammes, GIA sup­ports lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and trade. GIA In­dia has sup­ported the Ma­harshi Karve Stree Shik­shan Sam­stha (MKSSS), a school ded­i­cated to the em­pow­er­ment of women through ed­u­ca­tion. We also of­fer Trade Ed­u­ca­tion Sem­i­nars (TES) and train­ing pro­grammes for re­tail sales as­so­ciates from var­i­ous re­tail jew­ellery out­lets on a com­pli­men­tary ba­sis to sup­port the In­sti­tute’s mis­sion.

What in your opin­ion will be the great­est chal­lenges to over­come in the next 10 years?

treated gem­stones. GIA is mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant progress in de­vel­op­ing and in­tro­duc­ing in­no­va­tive ser­vices and in­stru­ments to help ad­dress these con­cerns, par­tic­u­larly undis­closed syn­thetic or treated di­a­monds in the sup­ply chain. These in­no­va­tions are backed by GIA’s con­tin­ued in­vest­ment in gem­mo­log­i­cal re­search for the past 80 years.

The new Su­rat fa­cil­ity sig­nals GIA’s en­dur­ing faith in the In­dian in­dus­try’s growth story. Tell us more about it.

In­dia is the world’s largest di­a­mond cut­ting cen­tre. The open­ing of the lab­o­ra­tory in Su­rat will of­fer lo­cal di­a­mond man­u­fac­tur­ers ac­cess to our grad­ing ser­vices. In ad­di­tion, the avail­abil­ity of the GIA Melee Anal­y­sis Ser­vice – which sep­a­rates nat­u­ral, un­treated di­a­monds from sim­u­lants, syn­thetic and HPHT treated nat­u­ral di­a­monds, and sorts the screened di­a­monds by colour range – will help dia­man­taires in and around Su­rat, where ma­jor­ity of melee is cut and pol­ished.

GIA has al­ways been at the fore­front of pro­vid­ing high-tech so­lu­tions for the in­dus­try. Is it dif­fi­cult (from a tech­no­log­i­cal and/or mon­e­tary per­spec­tive) to con­stantly in­no­vate to meet new chal­lenges?

A wide range of gem ma­te­rial – both nat­u­ral and syn­thetic – can be found in the mar­ket­place to­day. The pro­cesses to pro­duce syn­thetic di­a­monds and other gem­stones have be­come in­creas­ingly so­phis­ti­cated, and de­tails of the growth or treat­ment process are not al­ways re­vealed. This cre­ates a sit­u­a­tion that com­pounds the dif­fi­culty of gem iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. GIA re­search ef­forts in­clude the char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion of nat­u­ral gem ma­te­ri­als to un­der­stand gem for­ma­tion, trace el­e­ment chem­istry, causes of colour and geo­graphic ori­gin when pos­si­ble. Key fo­cus ar­eas in­clude treat­ment de­tec­tion and the sep­a­ra­tion of nat­u­ral from syn­thetic gem ma­te­rial. At the heart of this fo­cused ef­fort on re­search is GIA’s mis­sion to en­sure pub­lic trust in gems and jew­ellery. As a mis­sion­driven in­sti­tute, GIA con­tin­u­ally rein­vests into its re­search ef­forts. A global team of more than 50 re­searchers and other GIA staff con­trib­ute to GIA’s re­search ef­forts. Their ob­jec­tive is to study ad­vance­ments in the in­dus­try, treat­ments and syn­thetic gems.

How re­cep­tive has the In­dian trade been to the high-speed melee-test­ing ser­vice?

In­dia is the largest pro­ducer of melee di­a­monds, with the ma­jor con­cen­tra­tion be­ing in and around Su­rat. In­creas­ingly, dia­man­taires are seek­ing a third-party iden­ti­fi­ca­tion ser­vice to en­sure they meet the glob­ally-ac­cepted qual­ity stan­dards.

What is GIA’s stance on plans to in­tro­duce blockchain tech­nol­ogy into the di­a­mond sup­ply chain?

There is a lot of dis­cus­sion and per­haps con­fu­sion in the gem and jew­ellery in­dus­try about blockchain. GIA is ex­am­in­ing how this new tech­nol­ogy can be use­fully ap­plied in the gem and jew­ellery in­dus­try to en­hance trust and pro­tect con­sumers.

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