A Chinese lab recently discovered that the documentation attached to a 3.1-carat round brilliant diamond was falsified - and that the “diamond” itself was a synthetic.

Synthetic Diamonds | GIA-Certified Diamonds | K. Rosengart

Caveat Emptor

Let the buyer beware. This is always true, regardless of what type of product (or service) you are purchasing. When it comes to diamonds, however, beware, be cautious, and demand proof! Reputable suppliers and dealers provide proof of Gemological Institute of America (GIA) certification, delivering duly authenticated GIA-certified diamonds with clear provenances and documentation.

But there’s a subsection of the diamond industry - or perhaps more accurately, an entirely different industry altogether - that’s creating greater complexity and confusion: synthetic diamonds.

Touted as being the “environmentally friendly” and “ethical” alternative to mined stones, synthetic diamonds are not natural diamonds, nor do they carry the same value. While there is nothing wrong with choosing a lab-grown diamond, and they can be quite beautiful, you must know that this is exactly what you are getting.

A Fake Exposed

The story of the fake report begins in Shenzhen in the Guangdong Province of China. There, the National Gemstone Testing Center rated a 3.1-carat round brilliant diamond as an F-G in color (colorless to near colorless on GIA’s color scale) and VS (very slightly included).

But then, the gemologists did some digging. While verifying the code laser-inscripted on the girdle, they discovered the diamond grading report for that code was, in fact, rated H in color and VS1 in clarity. Red flags raised, the gemologists tested the stone and determined it was synthetic. The inscription and corresponding report were fake.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time such a deception has been uncovered. Gemologists can identify natural from synthetic diamonds. However, some unscrupulous parties occasionally try to hide a stone’s real identity.

The GIA's Carlsbad, California lab, for example, received a round brilliant for an updated grading report. The old report for the “natural, untreated” diamond indicated that the stone had a 1.74-carat weight, D color (colorless), Excellent cut, and VVSI (very, very slightly included) clarity.

The new grading report was different. The diamond was a 1.76-carat round brilliant with F color, Excellent cut, and VSI clarity.

Again, those red flags were raised. GIA decided additional testing was warranted. They subsequently discovered that the stone was a synthetic. The sole purpose behind the fake report was to deceive the consumer. This is the real concern when it comes to lab-grown diamonds.

According to GIA, “Most synthetic diamonds that come to the laboratory are properly disclosed... Rarely do we see or encounter the type of blatant fraud described here. It is important for the industry and public to exercise caution.”

If you are concerned about possible inconsistencies or suspect that a diamond is synthetic, it should be sent for testing immediately. This is a matter that impacts your investment and the value the stone returns.

To avoid these issues, entrust your business and your custom jewelry needs to a reputable, experienced supplier - one who always provides proper documentation of GIA-certified diamonds. You can trust - but always verify.

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