Apr 01, 2019

GIA to Align Grading Reports for Lab-Grown Diamonds with Recent Changes in US FTC Guides

Gemological Institute of America (GIA) announced last week that it has revised some of the key aspects of its grading reports for lab-grown diamonds to align them to the changes brought in last year by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  The lab said that beginning July 1, 2019, its Laboratory-Grown Diamond ReportsTM and identification reports will no longer use the term ‘synthetic.’

Further, it stated that the LGD reports will also feature the same visual representation of the scales for colour, clarity and cut as GIA’s grading reports for natural diamonds. They will also continue to use descriptive terms for colour and clarity, for example, Near Colourless and Very Slightly Included, as shown on the scales.

GIA also added that the report will also include a QR code linking to GIA’s online Report Check service with more information about the growth processes of laboratory-grown diamonds. It said that all detected clarity treatments will be disclosed and the comments section will include the statement: ‘This is a man-made diamond produced by CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) or HPHT (High Pressure High Temperature) growth processes and may include post-growth treatments to change the colour’.

“Over the past few years, there has been an incredible advancement in the technology by which laboratory-grown diamonds are made. With the increased availability of man-made diamonds in commercial qualities, sizes and quantities, and with greater consumer awareness of and desire for this product, GIA is making these changes to align with the revised FTC Guides and changes in the market,” said GIA President and CEO Susan Jacques. “Our mission is to ensure the public trust in gems and jewellery; these updated reports will give consumers buying laboratory-grown diamonds confidence in their purchases.”

The lab also announced that any GIA Synthetic Diamond Report issued since January 1, 2018 may be returned and exchanged for the new Laboratory-Grown Diamond Report at no cost.

While announcing these changes, GIA said that since the FTC issued the revised guides in July 2018, it has been reviewing and revising its education materials and procedures to ensure consistency in nomenclature across the Institute. It said that through significant research, including consumer focus groups, it learnt that there is still confusion about the product and the differences between natural diamonds and laboratory-grown diamonds. There are also mixed views on what format GIA reporting on laboratory-grown diamonds should take and on whether grading reports are needed at all for man-made diamonds.

It clarified that in keeping with its mission to protect the public trust in gems and jewellery, the Institute will continue to survey consumers with the goal of providing them with information that clearly describes the product and informs them in making their purchase decisions.