Tom Moses, executive vice president and chief laboratory and research officer of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), talks about the institute’s evermore relevant role in fostering consumer confidence by offering advanced treatment detection technologies.
What opportunities and risks are brought about by technological disruption in gemmology?
Tom Moses: As technology improves, laboratory-grown gems, imitations and gem treatments become harder to detect. GIA is uniquely positioned to stay ahead of treatment methods and lab-grown gems. Our global research team – more than 20 of whom have doctoral degrees – can study the millions of gems submitted to our labs. This research allows GIA to see and harness emerging, disruptive technologies, and provide tools and services to build and protect consumer confidence.
What new capabilities is GIA building to combat challenges in the trade?
Moses: As consumer desire for transparency and traceability rises, one challenge is providing information about a diamond’s origin. GIA developed the Diamond Origin Report, which uses spectroscopy and other analytical techniques to match polished goods to the original rough, confirming their provenance. This allows the diamond to tell the story and reduces dependence on intermediaries and the likelihood of human misrepresentation. It relies on GIA’s expertise from over 60 years of advanced gemmological research. The country of origin is printed on the report, along with the 4Cs and a diagram of inclusions. Knowing a diamond’s origin lets consumers buy with conscience and confidence since their diamond benefited the community where it was mined. GIA continues to develop rapid and efficient gem identification techniques to support the trade and the public.
How do these latest products and services respond to the needs of the jewellery industry?
Moses: Lab-grown diamond production increased in volume but consumer demand for natural diamonds remains strong. GIA aims to ensure that the public knows exactly what it is buying: Natural, treated or lab-grown gems or imitations. The GIA iD100® gem testing device is invaluable to retailers who want to verify the characteristics of their inventory. The benefits extend to consumers, giving them greater confidence in their purchases. We recently updated this device to distinguish natural pink diamonds from lab-grown stones and simulants. GIA continues to work with Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd to offer the 4Cs grading information for its T MARK diamonds in a blockchain-secured digital report. This provides increased traceability, transparency, data security and quality assurance.