© Gem Certification & Assurance Lab, Inc. 2008. All Rights Reserved. Issue Four July / August 2008
In this issue:
  1. Selling Security
  2. Coming Soon: DiamondID® Online
  3. Training Day
  4. CDE Membership Soars
  5. New Product Spotlight: GCAL GemAudit™
  6. Back to Basics: KGK and GCAL team up for classic diamond goods
  7. JA New York: Sign Up, Win Big: Stop by GCAL's booth for a special raffle
  8. GCAL Marketing To Help Retailers
  9. Did You Know?
  10. Making the Grade: VS1 and VS2 clarities
  11. Live from Vegas: Fashion Trends for your Diamond Business

Selling Security
Do you know the difference between GCAL and the competition?

Most diamond buyers are aware of the 4Cs. But in the last few years, a fifth ‘C’ is steadily emerging as just as important: the Certificate. Consumers, especially with the Internet’s easy access, are inundated with more information than they can possibly use, forcing the industry to deal with education that isn’t always accurate. As a form of protection, buyers are told to make sure they have a certified stone—but in truth, all certs are not created equal.

According to Donald A. Palmieri, President of GCAL, an uneven playing field currently exists in the diamond grading marketplace. “I opened GCAL because somebody needed to prove that accurate, reliable grading could be done,” he says. “I believe that all labs could grade at 99% accuracy if they wanted to, and our guarantee puts that on the line.”

The question arises: Do consumers know the difference between a guaranteed certificate and what essentially amounts to a grading report? According to Cecilia Gardner, Esq., President/CEO and legal council of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, the answer is a resounding no. “They really don’t have any clue at all,” Gardner says. “I do wish that the consumers understood the differences more clearly—perhaps they wouldn’t be so invested in reports as guarantees.”

While most labs tout their expert staff, state-of-the-art equipment and high level of integrity,only GCAL offers a Zero Tolerance Consumer Grading Guarantee that provides cash-back for any error in grading or identification of the certified diamond. Essentially, this means that GCAL stands behind each and every diamond they grade. (details on inside flap.) While this is certainly a bonus for the end customer, it may be even more valuable for the retailers selling diamonds through their stores.

“If a retailer offers a grading report with a diamond, they are totally responsible for what is contained within it,” explains Gardner. “The retailer has to take responsibility for that piece of paper, even though a particular report may just be the opinion of the person who graded that stone.” The fact is that the legal disclaimers on all other reports is explicit on how you cannot hold the lab legally responsible for their opinion, and basically, you shouldn’t rely upon it anyway, Palmieri adds.

The knowledge that many chains and jewelers choose their grading lab based on so-called ‘sweet grading’, an industry term meaning that diamonds are upgraded to sell at a higher price, is exactly what GCAL is fighting against. “The consumer is getting conned,” explains Palmieri. “If we want to increase consumer confidence in our industry as a whole, guaranteed grading needs to be a priority, and so far we are the only ones to go that extra mile.” As proof positive, GCAL was recently awarded ISO 17025:2005 accreditation after a lengthy auditing period, meaning that it conforms to recognized international standards for accurate and reliable grading. Specifically, this means that GCAL is the only diamond lab in North America with this distinction.

Guaranteed Diamond Grading Certificate

The GCAL Exclusive “Zero Tolerance” 4Cs Consumer Diamond Grading Guarantee is fundamental to GCAL’s concept of independent, third party grading. The GCAL cash-back policy ensures the accuracy of the cut, color and clarity grades, and the carat weight assigned to GCAL graded diamonds subject to the limitations below. GCAL guarantees that the diamond is an authentic, natural diamond and the carat weight and quality rating is assigned in accordance with international standard grading practices, the GCAL Cut Grading Standard (for round diamonds), and the GCAL Grading Process.

Diamond Quality Document

This Diamond Quality Document is not a guarantee, valuation or appraisal, and American Gem Society Laboratories, LLC has made no representation or warranty regarding this document or the value of the diamond herein … AGS Labs and its employees and agents shall not be liable for any loss, damage, or expense for any error in or omission from this document or for its issuance or use even if caused by or resulting from the negligence or other fault (except fraud, willful misconduct or gross negligence) of AGS Labs or its employees or agents, and shall not be liable for special or consequential damages for any error or omission caused by the acts of others…

Diamond Grading Report

This report is not a guarantee, valuation or appraisal and contains only the characteristics of the diamond described herein after it has been graded, tested, examined and analyzed by the GIA Laboratory and/or has been inscribed using the techniques and equipment used by the GIA Laboratory at the time of the examination and/or inscription. … GIA and its employees and agents shall not be liable for any loss, damage or expense resulting from any error in or omission from this report or from the issuance or use of this report or any inscription, even if the loss, damage or expense was caused by GIA or any of its employees or agents.

(The fine print/disclaimers on the major labs' diamond grading reports)

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Coming Soon: DiamondID® Online
Consumer-focused site to launch this summer

As industry insiders, you are probably already well aware of the benefits of Gemprint®, the world’s only non-invasive diamond identification and registration system. Owned by GCAL, the technology is invaluable for dealers and retailers who want registered stones searchable in a secure database. Now, GCAL is bringing the information directly to the consumer, making your job of selling GCAL Certified Diamonds even easier at the counter.

Launching late this summer, DiamondID® will be a brand new consumer-focused website that will promote GCAL as the premiere independent certification authority.

© Gem Certification & Assurance Lab, Inc. 2008. All Rights Reserved.

Although the company DiamondID® was trademarked and registered in 1999, the trademark was recently purchased by GCAL and will bring to life the idea of marking a diamond with an identification number and then registering it to a specific consumer.

The currently under-construction site will include first and foremost a DiamondID® registry based on the Gemprint® and DID® international database. This will allow your customers a sense of peace of mind that their stone is further protected from switching, and has a greater chance of recovery if lost or stolen. The site will feature a printable Diamond Buying Guide that will answer the most important consumer questions when shopping. This guide will also explain the concept of a diamond’s visual signature through both basic and in-depth 4Cs education. Like a fingerprint, no two diamonds are alike. Looking ahead, this will be the one consumer site where consumers can get accurate facts on how to protect their investments, and it will also dispel all the myths associated with the diamond buying process. For more information on Gemprint®, log on to www.gemprint.com.

Check www.gemfacts.com often to confirm the launch date of DiamondID®.

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Training Day
Get educated with new manual and video

Education is a huge part of sales, and GCAL is dedicated to bringing its customers the most up-to-date training materials possible to spark sales at the counter. In addition to offering the point-and-click ease of our online eLearning (www.gemfacts.com/elearning), we are also offering a new GCAL training manual and video perfect for any retailer.

With great tips on how to sell as well as GCAL features and benefits, this compact booklet is the perfect springboard for store meetings. The video, a GCAL exclusive, is a journey through our state-of-the-art lab that brings store associates up close and personal with our staff and services. We are also offering this video as a loop that you can run in your own store. These materials are offered free of charge to GCAL customers, and the video is available to view online at www.gemfacts.com/video/VideoTour.aspx

To request hard copies, or to hear more about our in-store training program, please contact us at 646-871-4023.

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CDE Membership Soars
CDE relaunch offers new features, better design

In just eight short months, Certified Diamond Exchange has become the go-to spot for GCAL Certified Diamonds, and all signs point to an even bigger 2008. With roughly 2,000 members constantly buying and selling, inventory is at its peak and finding the right stone has never been easier. In fact, Julius Klein Diamonds recently listed three diamonds priced at close to a quarter of a million dollars each—so whether you are searching for big or small, CDE has you covered.

CDE’s newest features take more of the work out of your next purchase. Members can now download a seller’s inventory and can add it directly to their own website, thus expanding their own diamond selection. In addition, our new “Email This” feature lets you add all the details of a stone in the body of an email to send directly to customers or colleagues. This attachment includes the full certificate in JPG format, allowing recipients to see the document as it actually appears.

To get started for free, log on to www.CDEdiamonds.com.

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New Product Spotlight
GCAL GemAudit™

While GCAL has always been committed to offering the most comprehensive Certificates on the market, over the years many of our customers have asked that specific features be offered independently of our stellar Guaranteed Diamond Grading Certificate. Until now, we had bundled exclusive features—like Gemprint® or optical light performance—into a single document. But as of April 15, GCAL has unveiled five new specialized certificates that offer our clients a way to get the only the information they need at a price that makes sense.

This month we are spotlighting the GemAudit™, a full Guaranteed Diamond Grading Certificate verifying the accuracy of another lab’s grading report. If the diamond meets GCAL’s grading standards, then it qualifies for certification and GCAL’s “Zero Tolerance” 4Cs Consumer Guarantee. Additionally, you receive Optical Light Performance, Gemprint® and images of the diamond. For detailed information on the additional new Certificates, log on to www.gemfacts.com.

In Lab Service Only - Price Varies by Weight & Volume

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Back to Basics
KGK and GCAL team up for classic diamond goods

With over 103 years of integrity and trustworthiness to the trade, including a coveted spot as a De Beers siteholder, KGK is not in the business of passing trends. That’s why when they decided to create a 16-page book of diamond jewelry that will go straight to retailers and CDE members, the company opted for looks that never go wrong at the counter: solitaires, studs, three-stone rings, pendants and loose stones.

They also knew they couldn’t go wrong with GCAL. In a move that shows an insistence on quality, KGK chose to exclusively feature GCAL Certified diamonds. “This book will feature aggressively priced diamonds backed by the GCAL Guaranteed Certificate,” says Donald A. Palmieri, GCAL President. “In this economy, it’s wise to invest in the diamond, and not in an elaborate mounting that may be passé in a few years.”

Prashant Kothari, Director of KGK USA, is looking forward to offering savings as well as large in-stock inventories and marketing programs. “We decided to team up with GCAL because of its unmatched integrity. With the GCAL Certificate, what you’re paying for is really what you’re buying. I can’t think of a better organization to partner with.”

For more information, contact KGK at 1-888-KGK-NEWY (1-888-545-6399).

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JA New York: Sign Up, Win Big
Stop by GCAL's booth for a special raffle

For most attendees, trade shows are all about spending money. But at GCAL, we’re about gifting you. Just for stopping by our booth and registering for free CDE membership, you will be entered into a raffle to win an iPod pre-programmed with GCAL’s training program. You have 10 chances to win!

As you saw on page 2, the benefits for signing up for CDE are huge. With roughly 2,000 members and an easy-to-understand interface, finding the right diamond is just a few simple clicks away.

To visit, stop by the Crystal Palace lobby near the entrance to Hall 3B at the Javits Center from July 27 -30.

In addition, GCAL is sponsoring (and GCAL’s Pam Palmieri is chairing) the New York State Jewelers Association’s annual dinner on July 26 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

Michael Haynes as auctioneer at 2007 NYSJA Gala

Dinner, dancing and awards are on the menu, and Collectors Universe CEO Michael Haynes will take the podium as auctioneer for a selection of highly coveted items. For more information or tickets, log on to www.newyorkjewelers.org.

GCAL’s Booth - Javits Center, Crystal Palace lobby near the entrance to Hall 3B from July 27-30

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GCAL Marketing To Help Retailers

Linda Osofsky, Marketing Manager of GCAL/CUI will be calling your store to discuss how GCAL Guaranteed Diamond Certificates and Certified Diamond Exchange can drive diamond buying consumers to your store. Can’t wait for Linda’s call … Please feel free to call Linda at 646.871.4036 or email her at losofsky@collectors.com to see how GCAL can help you.

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Did You Know?

Here are some Smartfacts about diamonds and diamond grading that are fun to share with your customers.

  • High color and clarity grades do not guarantee a well cut diamond.

  • No two diamonds are exactly alike; each is unique like a snowflake. Gemprint®, an optical fingerprint technology for diamonds, can separate two diamonds that otherwise appear to be identical in shape, measurement, weight and quality.

  • Out of every 1000 polished diamonds, only one weighs more than 1 carat.
  • A diamond grading Certificate is a guaranteed document stating all of the quality characteristics of a diamond; whereas a diamond grading Report is not guaranteed and usually is filled with disclaimers.
  • The most popular shape diamond for engagement rings is the round brilliant cut; followed by the princess cut. GCAL offers Ideal Cut Certificates for both round brilliant and princess cut diamonds.

  • Diamonds are composed of strongly bonded carbon atoms that actually cause a diamond’s surface to attract grease while repelling water. Cleaning your diamonds with ammonia or detergent will bring back their sparkle.
  • All natural diamonds were formed over 100 miles deep within the Earth. On average, diamonds are between 1 to 3 billion years old.

  • Diamonds are the hardest known natural material.
  • Diamonds are very difficult to scratch. Yet, diamonds are not the toughest material. Toughness is a material’s resistance to fracture. Diamonds can be chipped or broken if struck

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Making the Grade
VS1 and VS2 clarities

This regular series by GCAL Lab Directors Dan Gillen B.Sc.,G.G., and Halina Kaban, M.S., G.G., teaches you the tricks of the trade of GCAL’s expert graders. Join Dan at his next seminar at the 30th ACE IT Mid-Year Education Conference sponsored by NAJA to be held on Monday, August 4 from 4-6 pm at the Oak Brook Hill Marriott in Oak Brook, IL.

VS1’s inclusion types
are usually comprised
of, but not exclusive of:
  1. Small to very small crystals of a limited number
    1. Once a pinpoint becomes large enough to be called a crystal the grade has fallen into the VS1 category.
  2. Small clouds of a limited number.
  3. Small to medium needles of a limited number.
  4. Small feathers of a limited number.
  5. Medium sized feathers not visible face up.
  6. Medium sized bruises of a limited number.
  7. Small chips of a limited number.
  8. Small indented naturals around the girdle.
  9. Usually white inclusions
VS1’s inclusions number
and location, are usually,
but not exclusive to:
  1. Several around the crown.
  2. One or two individual inclusions under the table.
  3. Several seen through crown facets without any visible reflections.
VS1 louping procedure:
  1. Loupe in four different positions, preferably at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock.
  2. Do not tilt the diamond.
  3. Use back lighting for the purpose of duplicating the dark field of a microscope.
VS2’s inclusion types
are usually comprised of,
but not exclusive to:
  1. Small crystals numbering up to four or five.
  2. Medium size individual crystals, without numerous reflections.
  3. Medium size dense clouds.
  4. Light clouds throughout, visible face up.
  5. Slightly large needles of a limited number.
  6. Medium sized feathers visible face up.
  7. Large feathers not visible face up nearest to the girdle edge.
  8. Slightly large sized bruises of a limited number.
  9. Medium sized chips of a limited number.
  10. Medium sized indented naturals around the girdle.
  11. Small black inclusions.
VS2’s inclusions number
and location, are usually,
but not exclusive to:
  1. Three to four individual inclusions or less under the table.
  2. Several around the crown, including reflecting inclusions. Follow louping procedure as stated for VS1 inclusions.

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Live from Vegas
Fashion Trends for your Diamond Business

Couture International Jeweler's Editor, Victoria Gomelsky, gives GCAL's customers the inside scoop on the five hottest diamond trends straight from the recent Las Vegas jewelry shows.

1. Inverted diamonds (culet up, table down). "This is a great way to add a fashionable twist to loose stones that are stuck in inventory. Jagged edges are a hot trend right now.

2. Indian-style settings (rose cuts, slices, bezel settings, rich gold). "Many designers, including those that are not Indian, are taking advantage of the ethnic look of this ancient art. Rose cuts are still the hottest look for a fashion-forward customer, and diamonds set in 22- or 24-karat gold are very in vogue."

3. Colored diamonds. "Whether it is the more common browns and yellows or unusual hues like chartreuse, violet or gray, consumers are really starting to understand this recently discovered market. Strike while the iron's hot!"

4. Floral motifs. "Although this look always seems to be in style, there seemed to be a bouquet in every booth in Vegas. Diamond pavè set into rosette shapes will continue to be a big seller."

5. Blackened settings. "Whether rhodium-plated gold or blackened platinum, the shimmer of diamonds against a dark background evokes the look of antique jewels. Kristin Davis (pictured) shows how an antique look (in jewels by Fred Leighton) can be very modern."

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