A Colorless Nightmare

Posted on April 17, 2020 by Bill Hoefer, GIA GG, FGA

The marketplace thrives from demand by consumers. Recently man-made diamonds have become a lower priced source to help meet that ceaseless demand for diamonds. However, some of these diamonds do not come with warning labels.

Most gemologist-appraisers can, with extreme detail, explain how man-made diamonds are made, the gemological aspects,2 how to detect them and so forth. Yes, as a common practice for important diamonds is to be laser inscribed declaring it to be a laboratory made offering, a significant safeguard. And many gemologist-appraisers believe that they can detect every man-made center diamond encountered in appraisal assignments. Odds are, they are not one hundred percent perfect though and some man-made diamonds will slide through. Before you disagree, think about mounted melee diamonds.


Melee diamonds may be the best example of the problem gemologist-appraisers face in this new struggle for gemological truth.

Depending on the source, the market has been facing the increasingly common practice of blending natural and manmade diamonds together and set into mass manufactured jewelry. Once mounted, it is an onerous task to try to separate the man-made diamonds from their natural counterparts.

Can gemologists guarantee they are able to detect without error the man-made diamond melee? Would it be practical to do so for the appraisal fee involved?

Thus, the same disclosure rules needed to alert the appraisal customer and authorized third parties that there is a genuine limitation of the gemologist-appraiser concerning identification of man-made melee diamonds also applies for larger diamonds—‘killing two birds with one stone’ to use an…

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