The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has suspended its diamond-sealing service after fraudsters tampered with packets and replaced stones with treated ones.
A small number of packages were “compromised” after leaving the GIA with their seals closed, the organization said in a statement Friday. The “third parties” swapped the original goods with natural diamonds that had undergone High Pressure-High Temperature (HPHT) treatment.
“The substitute treated diamonds superficially matched the GIA report information for the original diamonds, including information on the sealing-packet data label,” the GIA explained. “GIA is suspending sealing services in all locations indefinitely, pending an investigation of the source of this fraud.”
The institute has invited clients with concerns about their GIA-sealed diamonds to submit them to the laboratory for verification free of charge. If the GIA concludes that the stone in the packet is the same as the one described in the original report, it will issue a letter confirming that fact. If it does not match the document, it will issue a new report with the accurate results. However, it will return all diamonds unsealed, it said.
The service enables customers to submit diamonds for grading and receive them back in a tamper-proof wallet. The GIA had similar troubles in 2014, when it suspended the service after receiving a sealed diamond for verification that did not correspond to the information in the packet.
Image: An example of a GIA sealing-service packet. (GIA)