By Jacquie De Almeida
Three colourless synthetic diamonds sit on Sam Barbuzzi’s desk, though none are part of a parcel submitted for grading. Instead, the Gemesis-produced 40-pointers were sourced by one of Barbuzzi’s suppliers. Why? He wanted a closer look.
“The synthetics just came into the office yesterday, and I haven’t had a chance to play around with the pen yet to see if it actually works,” says Barbuzzi, co-owner of GS Laboratories (GSL), which provides diamond and jewellery grading to the trade and consumers. “But I’m going to look at the stones very closely and do all the things we would normally do. We want to make sure we’re prepared if we come across any lab-grown diamonds.”
The pen he’s referring to is actually a low-cost laser device claiming to show indicators that a colourless diamond is synthetic in origin. It’s new on the scene, spurred by the discovery of undisclosed colourless lab-created diamonds earlier this year by the International Gemological Institute (IGI).
Staying informed of technological developments like colourless lab-grown diamonds is a must for GSL, which has offices in Toronto, Dallas, and four in India: two in Mumbai’s Opera House district and the Bharat Diamond Bourse, one in Chennai, and one in Pune. The India offices are key not only in the sense they are located where 90 per cent of the world’s diamonds are cut and polished, but also because they allow GSL to service its biggest client, which happens to be a major U.S. chain. At the Mumbai office, diamonds are graded by GSL’s staff before being shipped to North America, ensuring the stones meet the client’s program requirements. It also means costs are kept low on customs fees that would be incurred should the product not be up to par and have to be sent back.