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Natural Diamond Processing Process Works With Heat or Pressure

1990: Natural Diamond Processing Process Is Irreversible For Diamond Jewelers

April 1999

General Electric will be processing natural diamonds to create a "super-duper diamond" according to Gus Weil, speaking for Pegasus Overseas Ltd. (POL), a newly developed subsidiary of Lazare Kaplan International, Inc. (LKI). LKI has signed an agreement with POL to market gems that will have been processed to enhance certain aspects of the natural diamonds. "This will affect color and brilliance, but not the general clarity," said Weil in an exclusive interview with the Diamond Registry Bulletin.

The process is owned by GE and its specifics are being kept extremely quiet. Indeed, when the DRB asked whether the process was one of physical, chemical, laser or some other type of change, Weil would only state that it did not include laser drilling, irradiation surface coating or fracture-filling. "Although we’re not saying what it is, it is only an additional step in the already lengthy process," said Weil. Using the process of elimination, we assume that the process is either pressure or heat, General Electric’s specialty for years.

Apparently, once the process has taken place – and it is irreversible – a jeweler will not be able to tell the difference between a stone that has been treated and one that has not. Exactly how much difference will be made? Will the laboratories mark the certificates with some sort of statement, "processed diamond", for instance? Will the color change be as much as, say, I to G? Should one know or be able to tell somehow if one’s diamond has been chemically, physically or otherwise treated? Will other cutters be able to use the treatment or will it remain a proprietary process.

The most interesting question raised by the discussion with Weil is that of "brilliance." If the brilliance of the diamond is affected, how is that possible without changing either the material involved, i.e. the carbon, or changing the faceting of the stone? Indeed, by keeping its process so under wraps, GE seems to raise more questions than it answers.

POL will be marketing the processed stones only, which, at this time, will be sold with the standard certification for diamonds.

The DRB will be following this situation closely and will report as it develops.


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