GIA Cuts Gemological Staff Again.

The economic malaise hit the jewelry industry again today.


National Jeweler
reports that The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has cut its domestic workforce by another 9 percent in the face of the continuing global economic crisis that’s wreaking havoc on the jewelry industry.

A GIA spokeswoman said the cuts, announced on Wednesday, would impact 103 GIA employees in the United States, 71 at the company’s Carlsbad, Calif., headquarters and 32 at its New York offices. The GIA employs a total of 1,143 workers in the United States.

In addition, all salaried employees will take a pay cut of up to 20 percent, while hourly employees will lose workdays. The company’s pension plan is frozen, the spokeswoman said.

The cuts come on the heels of the December layoffs at the GIA, in which the laboratory slashed its workforce by 11 percent and company executives took a 10 percent pay cut. That equals a 20 percent reduction in the GIA workforce.

According to the spokeswoman, those cut on Wednesday will receive the same severance packaged offered to employees let go in December: full pay and benefits for 60 days and an additional two weeks of severance, plus one additional week for every year of service.

In addition, the GIA is offering job search assistance and unemployment information to those affected. The GIA’s global staff will remain intact, but an overseas hiring freeze is in place.

Diamond Grading Labs: What You Should Know.

There are many diamond grading labs on the market today, all with varying levels of grading consistency and accuracy. The most well known “brand” diamond grading lab and considered by many to be the best is the GIA (Gemological Institute of America).

Never consider buying a diamond without a lab grading report and in our opinion that lab grading report should be from GIA.

Our colleague, Ken Gassman of idexonline.com has just published an interesting statistical evaluation of the the diamond grading labs that covered over 12 million diamonds!

GIA grades over 2/3 of all diamonds and overall these 6 labs: GIA, EGL-USA, IGI, EGL-International, AGS and HRD hold 99.7% of the lab business.

Ken’s full report is here: Diamond Grading Labs

Definitely worth your time.

Worlds Smallest Diamond!

ABC News reports today that Scientists have made the world’s smallest diamond ring, which could play a role in the future of computing.

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This ring of diamond, 300 nanometres thick and 5 micrometres across, was made by carving out a circular structure in an artificially made diamond. It will be used to access single photons, the basis for developing quantum computers (Source: P Olivero, B Fairchild and S Prawer, School of Physics, University of Melbourne)

At just 5 micrometres across and 300 nanometres thick, the ring will not fit on anyone’s finger.

The University of Melbourne researchers hope this ring which was carved from a slither of diamond, will let them manipulate single photons, the smallest ‘packet’ of light and will help researchers build powerful computers that use the properties of quantum physics.

“For quantum information processing, diamonds have some truly unique possibilities,” says Professor Steven Prawer, whose team presented images of the ring at an American Physical Society meeting this month in New Orleans.

Scientists know in theory how quantum computers could take advantage of the rules of physics to carry out enormous numbers of processes at the same time, however, building such a computer in the real world has been an enormous challenge.

Diamonds could overcome some of the obstacles,say these scientists because they offer an ideal way to produce qubits, the quantum equivalent of the ‘bits’ that store information on standard computers.

How does this work?

Like normal bits, qubits can have two different values, either 0 or 1. But unlike their standard counterparts, qubits can also exist in a ‘superposition’ of both states at once. The tiny impurities in diamonds meet this criterion, and all the other requirements of qubits, extremely well and therefore diamond offers a fantastic platform in order to make qubits.

This transformation with diamond acting as the catalyst occurs when a single nitrogen atom and a tiny gap disrupt the normal carbon structure of a diamond. Scientists call these nitrogen-vacancy centers, and by shining a laser light onto one, researchers can produce single photons of red light in ways that are easy to manipulate and measure. They can also do this at room temperature, something most other quantum systems can’t do.

The researchers have already used these properties of diamonds in the field of quantum cryptography, which aims to allow secure information to be sent and received using the properties of quantum physics.

WOW!

AGS Certified Diamond Documents Are Too Bulky

We just got in a bunch of AGS certified diamonds today.

Let me tell you, as prestigious as an AGS certified diamond might be, the fact is that these diamond certificates are flat out BULKY.

A GIA certifed diamond comes with a diamond certificate in a small slip cover.
The certificate is easy to carry and easy to store in our vault. The GIA cert, like most other diamond grading reports, measures approximately 4 inches wide by 10 inches high. This allows for the diamond certificate to be inserted into a jacket pocket, or conveniently lined in special boxes inside a safe (as we do with our in-house diamonds in our vaults).

Conversely, the AGS diamond document, measures approximately 7 inches wide by 9 inches high. This combination might be “pretty” to look at when the diamond certificate is opened, but it makes for a carry and storage nightmare!

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AGS & GIA certified diamonds with Certificates.

GIA To Open In Tokyo.

As part of a strategy to expand its international presence, the Gemological Institute of America said the AGT Gem Laboratory in Tokyo will start operations as a GIA LabDirect consolidator on April 2, 2007.

The GIA announced the creation of LabDirect in August as a way to widen access to its laboratory services by setting up an international network of local take-in windows and consolidators to serve more local areas.

“Each consolidator will act as a diamond industry forwarding service by consolidating diamonds from local regions and shipping them to the GIA Laboratory,” the GIA said in a March 31, 2007 press statement. “These local drop-off and pick-up shipment points help the maximum number of clients move their goods to the GIA Laboratory to get the services they want in a safe, expedient and cost-effective way,” the GIA added.

In addition, the consolidator also prepares the stones for shipping to GIA with an agreed-upon protocol, communicates grading results to the end clients, and is responsible for collecting payment.

Tom Moses, senior vice president of GIA Laboratory and Research said, “GIA is expanding its presence internationally and we want to make our services accessible to more people.”

The Tokyo LabDirect center follows the GIA’s opening of a similar center in Hong Kong in early March.