Rapaport: A Lab’s View of Lab-Grown; An article by Debbie Azar

Grading institute GSI shares the global trends it’s seen in this segment and offers its predictions for the year to come.

Power Women - an interview with Debbie Azar of GSI

Last year was a great one for the diamond and jewelry industry. It was a particularly good year for laboratory-grown diamonds. Gemological Science International (GSI), as one of the main providers of grading services and reports for lab-grown diamond jewelry, has had the opportunity to see the existing trends in that field and to forecast further trends for 2022. Here are some of our observations.

Full disclosure

In March 2020, GSI became the first gemological organization to include post-growth treatments on its grading reports. GSI believes full transparency is essential, and this means having the same disclosure and testing standards for all diamonds, whether they’re natural or lab-grown.

By 2021, most of the other gemological labs had followed suit in their reports, and the trend of full disclosure will likely continue in 2022. As the laboratory-grown diamond sector matures, it will not only expect, but demand to have the same standards as natural when it comes to transparency.

The shift to CVD

GSI has noticed significant changes in the growth origins of melee and smaller sizes. Previously, almost all melee was produced via the High Pressure-High Temperature (HPHT) method, but in 2021, we saw a tremendous shift to chemical vapor deposition (CVD)-grown melee in lab-created diamond jewelry. We attribute this shift to factors ranging from technological to geopolitical.

The technology for CVD has evolved exponentially, improving growth efficiency and reducing costs. In addition, a large number of CVD growers are concentrated in India — specifically in Gujarat, where the vast majority of the world’s diamonds, both natural and lab-created, are cut and polished. From an economic and logistical point of view, it makes sense to cut and mount CVD melee into jewelry locally, rather than import HPHT diamonds from China, where most HPHT producers are located. This is another trend we expect to continue this year as Indian growers increase their market share and work to streamline their supply chains.

A two-way street

For a number of years, the focus of gemological testing was on the separation of natural diamonds from undisclosed lab-grown ones, with the aim of ensuring that natural diamond jewelry contained only that: natural diamonds. In 2021, GSI saw a considerable shift in the opposite direction, with natural stones becoming increasingly mixed into lab-grown jewelry.

This could be the result of a few factors. The first is that an increasing number of diamond manufacturers are involved in both natural and lab-grown production and cutting. While they make every effort to separate the two diamond categories, it is difficult to do in practice, given the volume of goods and the expertise and equipment necessary to distinguish them. Another factor is the inaccurate perception that having the more expensive natural specimens intermixed with the cheaper lab-grown ones is not an issue.

This two-way contamination of the supply chain will continue into 2022 and will most probably increase. We believe it will take greater effort from gemological laboratories and detection-equipment manufacturers, as well as from the jewelry industry, to resolve the problem.

Because GSI grades, examines and tests millions of diamonds every year, it has the chance to see a wide range of laboratory-grown goods. Keeping the industry informed of what we see, when we see it, is part of GSI’s dedication to leadership, as well as our contribution to the global diamond and jewelry trade.

Debbie Azar is the president and cofounder of GSI.
Article from the Rapaport Magazine – February 2022.

About GSI:

Gemological Science International (GSI) is the only major gemological organization established in the 21st century. Founded in 2005 in New York City, it has grown to become one of the largest gemological entities in the world with laboratory facilities spanning four continents. Utilizing cutting-edge processes and proprietary technologies, along with a commitment to the highest ethical standards and practices, GSI provides manufacturers and retailers globally with a wide range of gemstone identification and grading services. The company is committed to advancing gemological research and offers gemological educational programs for trade professionals and the general public through its state-of-the-art research center.

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Where is Gemological Science International (GSI) located?

GSI is headquartered in New York, NY. It has 13 laboratories on four continents and in a number of countries: the United States, India, Dubai, Israel, Belgium, Hong Kong, and Botswana. This makes GSI one of the largest independent gemological organizations in the world.

Is there a difference between grading reports issued by different GSI laboratories?

All GSI laboratories grade using the same methods and adhere to the same standards. Every laboratory is staffed with highly trained professionals who have years of grading experience and an extensive gemological background.

What does it mean when a sales associate tells me my diamond is “GSI Certified” or is accompanied by a “GSI Certificate”?

The phrases “GSI Certificate” and “GSI Certified” are industry shorthand for GSI grading or identification reports. What this means to you is that expert gemologists and trained professionals meticulously evaluated the item. When your diamond, jewelry or gemstone is accompanied by a GSI grading report, you can be completely confident in the accuracy and objectivity of the evaluation.

Where can I find “GSI Certified Diamonds”?

GSI diamond grading and identification reports can be found in jewelry stores worldwide and online. Insist on a GSI grading report when shopping for a diamond, jewelry or gemstone.

What do I do if I lose my GSI Diamond Report?

Every GSI grading report is available on our website. Please visit and go to “verify your report”. Enter your GSI report number and you’ll instantly have access to a digital copy of it. You can also email us through the website to request a copy.

What are the 4Cs

A beautiful diamond is one of nature’s most mesmerizing creations. But how do you objectively judge the quality of the gem? The 4Cs – Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat Weight – are the universal standard for doing this.

Is there anything beyond the 4Cs?

The 4Cs are an essential and important description of a diamond’s characteristics. But there is a considerable amount of detailed information behind each “C” along with other qualities of a diamond that affect its beauty, such as fluorescence, light performance and more.

How much do you need to know? That’s up to you, but knowing the 4Cs is almost essential.

What does a GSI diamond grading report look like?

GSI offers a number of grading reports (often referred to as “GSI Certificates”). You can see samples of them by browsing the Grading Reports page on our website.

What does a GSI colored diamond grading report look like?

You can see samples grading reports by browsing the Grading Reports page on our website.

What does a GSI Colored stone report look like?

You can see samples of Colored stones reports by browsing Grading Reports page on our website.

How does a GSI grading report compare to other laboratories that issue grading reports?

It is our policy not to comment on other laboratories. However, know that GSI adheres to the highest ethical standards. We do this in a number of ways:

  • Rotating gemologists to our different labs
  • Continuously upgrading our proprietary grading software to ensure full compliance with international grading standards
  • Having our gemological research department constantly investigate new developments in the industry, which informs the grading process

What’s the difference between a “GSI Certificate” and a “GSI Diamond Grading Report”?

GSI issues a variety of grading and identification reports. Consumers and industry professionals often call these reports “GSI Certificates”.

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