SBD interviewt Susan Jacques, CEO and President GIA (article in English)


The GIA Laboratory was operational from January 2019. The official opening of the new facility, located in the Antwerp Diamond Bourse, took place on Thursday 23 May 2019, with the ribbon cutting performed by, among others, GIA's CEO and President Mrs. Susan Jacques.

De Belgische Diamantnijverheid had the opportunity to interview Mrs. Jacques. It is a must read for all who seeks further insights on diamond grading technology and nomenclature for natural and laboratory grown diamonds! Wishing you a pleasant reading.   

- Reporter: Melissa Smet, Syndicate of the Belgian Diamond Industry

GIA introduced new country-of-origin reports. What types of stones qualify for diamond country of origin reports and is the origin service available in Antwerp?

We introduced the GIA Diamond Country of Origin Report service for D-to-Z diamonds in Antwerp and other locations on April 30. To be eligible for this new service, the original rough diamonds and resulting polished diamonds must be submitted to GIA for analysis so they can be matched to confirm the origin information provided by the participating mining company. We will shortly start offering this service for fancy color diamonds.

Could you tell us more on the size of the laboratory in Antwerp? And what are the plans for the future?

The GIA grading laboratory in Antwerp opened on January 28, 2019, offering diamond grading and other services to meet the needs of the global gem and jewelry industry. The Antwerp lab offers take-in for all GIA gem identification and grading services, and we plan to expand capacity over the next few years. GIA has had a small research facility in Antwerp for more than twenty years.

Traditionally, diamonds are graded by trained gemologists. Some of the 4Cs can be graded automatically. Is GIA conducting research to further automate the diamond grading process?

GIA has been involved in supplementing visual grading with instrumentation for several decades. The first GIA colorimeter developed was in the 1940s and we have continued to add more instrumentation into the grading process. We will continue to add technology and automation to the grading process, ensuring that any additional technology is based on a deep understanding of the GIA International Diamond Grading System to ensure both greater consistency and accuracy.

Each laboratory uses its own nomenclature rules. Do you see a danger in different grades for the same qualities and the same grades for different qualities?

GIA developed the 4Cs of Diamond Quality – Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat Weight – and the International Diamond Grading System (with the universally-accepted D-to-Z scale for diamond color and the Flawless-to-Included clarity scale) as a standard method for assessing and communicating diamond quality. The Institute shares its diamond grading system with other organizations; reports from other labs using the GIA nomenclature are available in the marketplace. As these other organizations may not use the same standards as GIA does for evaluating diamonds, their results may not be consistent with GIA’s although the nomenclature or terminology used is the same.

How do laboratory grown diamond certificates issued by GIA differ from their natural counterparts? Why does GIA have a different nomenclature for laboratory grown diamonds?

The GIA Laboratory-Grown Diamond Report, announced on March 29, 2019, will continue to use terminology different from GIA reports for natural diamonds to report the color and clarity grades for laboratory-grown diamonds. The GIA Laboratory-Grown Diamond Reports are also visually distinct from GIA’s reports for natural diamonds.
"The GIA Laboratory-Grown Diamond Report will continue to use terminology different from GIA reports for natural diamonds to report the color and clarity grades for laboratory-grown diamonds."
Laboratory-grown diamonds do not have the same range of color as mined diamonds and are generally grown to be as
close to colorless as possible or are treated post-growth to make them colorless or near colorless.
GIA uses words rather than letters or abbreviations to report grades for the color and clarity of laboratory-grown diamonds:
  • Colorless, Near Colorless, Faint, Very Light and Light to report the color grades for laboratory-grown diamonds, rather than the letters used to report the color grades for natural diamonds.
  • Flawless, Internally Flawless, Very Very Slightly Included, Very Slightly Included, Slightly Included and Included are used to report the clarity grades of laboratory-grown diamonds rather than abbreviations (for example, IF, VVS1, VS1, SI1, I1) used to report the clarity grades for natural diamonds.
To provide more information to consumers, the GIA Laboratory-Grown Diamond Report includes the standard color and clarity scales from the GIA International Diamond Grading System for reference purposes. For example, Colorless, Near Colorless, etc. will be listed alongside the D-to-Z color scale so consumers can see that a Near-Colorless laboratory-grown diamond is in the range G to J.

What are the challenges facing the diamond sector and how does GIA cope with these challenges?

As production of laboratory-grown diamonds increases and technology advances, disclosure continues to be a very important
issue. This is why GIA devotes significant resources – including more than 60 full-time staff and extensive investment – to research into diamond growth and treatment, and into the fundamental characteristics of gems so that we continue to ensure that the trade and consumers have confidence in their gems. That research contributes directly to our laboratory services and instrument development, including the GIA iD100 gem detection instrument, our melee analysis service to rapidly screen parcels of small stones and separate natural, untreated diamonds from simulants and laboratory-grown diamonds, and the GIA Diamond Origin Service.

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