Diamond Screeners/Testers

Posted on September 1, 2018 by Richard B. Drucker, GIA GG, Honorary FGA AND Jon C. Phillips, GIA GG, AGS CG

The jewelry industry has a real concern for the impact of lab grown and treated diamonds. Selling just one, even if unknowing, can be damaging to that seller’s reputation and potentially a legal issue. The concern is among manufacturers, retailers, and appraisers. We examined several of the instruments on the market looking at their practicality from the various aspects of the industry.

The machinery and equipment suppliers have developed and now market a variety of instruments that purportedly screen and identify both treated and lab grown diamonds. The capabilities of these instruments vary. The range of pricing is from a few hundred dollars up to about $10,000, while more advanced levels for testing utilized in the laboratory setting can go well over $100,000. Besides the use of these screeners/testers, some major laboratories are now also offering low cost batch testing as a service.

One of the concerns that we have is that the jewelry industry is being led to believe that these instruments do more than they actually do. They are definitely useful tools but they are not the end-all “black box” solution that everyone would like. They are most often marketed as diamond testers when in fact, most of these are actually screeners that offer results that include “natural” or “refer for further testing.” The refer category may be natural, treated, or lab-grown. These instruments are screening for TYPE IIa diamonds which can be any
of the latter three choices. Whether a screener or a tester, these instruments come with limitations. They do not do it all and they do not have total accuracy. That is important to understand because while we believe that there is good reason for many industry businesses to own a screener/tester, you must know the limitations and accuracy level.

There are some areas to discuss here. What are the actual uses of these…

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