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December 2005

GIA announced it has settled its lawsuit with Max Pincione, who had sued the GIA over two stones he said were misgraded because of a “payment.”

Ralph Destino, chairman of GIA, said, “We are pleased this matter is behind us. Following a thorough independent investigation, the public can continue to have full confidence in the integrity of GIA’s diamond grading reports.”

He noted that the GIA was willing to re-examine any diamond if there are questions about its report.
Joseph Tacopina, Max Pincione’s lawyer, said, “The civil action filed by Max Pincione against GIA has been resolved. After reviewing the GIA grading reports, the parties agreed that the grades at issue involved areas of subjectivity and fell within industry standards.

Yet, the story is not going away, at least from a media perspective. GIA has done a lot of work in solving any problems in the lab, including firing four graders, replacing its chief executive (though he was not implicated in any wrongdoing) and changing its procedures. But recently a slew of articles have appeared in places like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal hinting that a criminal investigation may be underway.

Some of the stories were a bit sensationalized, particularly in the Wall Street Journal, which said “diamond buyers were worried whether they had overpaid for their purchase.” But the fact is, by all accounts, there was not a large amount of gems impacted, and these were primarily larger, higher value stones. The majority of diamonds are unaffected, and most people at the GIA remain people of the highest integrity.

The most important thing to avoid worrying if you’ve overpaid is to only buy from people who you trust 100% and who personally inspect each stone to see if its grade matches the report.

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