By Michelle Graff
New York--The Gemological Institute of America has cut off a client in India for allegedly submitting diamonds that had been fraudulently inscribed, a letter shared with National Jeweler reveals.

Addressed to Ramesh B. Vala of Surat, India-based Cristy Gems and signed by the GIA’s Tom Moses, the letter states that GIA “reasonably suspects” that Cristy has submitted multiple stones to the lab inscribed with report numbers for other diamonds. The inscriptions were not done by the GIA. 

The letter goes on to state that these submissions have “occurred on a number of occasions, indicating a pattern of intentional conduct.” As a result, the GIA stated in the letter that it is closing Cristy Gems’ account, along with four other accounts with which it believes Cristy is associated, and will no longer be accepting any items from the company. Vala, his company and related companies also are barred from opening new accounts with the GIA. 

A request for comment sent via email to the letter’s recipient went unanswered.

The GIA verified Monday that the letter to Cristy Gems did indeed come from them but declined to provide any further details on the case.

According to the letter, two of the accounts submitted their stones to the GIA via Rapaport India, a lab direct business that prepares goods and does take-in, marketing and collects payment for the GIA in India.

Ezi Rapaport said Tuesday that Rapaport India will, of course, no longer be accepting stones from these companies for submission to the GIA and that the companies also have been suspended indefinitely from RapNet, the Rapaport Group’s diamond trading network.

This report of alleged misconduct is the latest in a line regarding fraudulent submissions that are being caught by the industry’s grading labs.

Back in November, the GIA announced that it was suspending its sealing service indefinitely after receiving a sealed diamond for verification that did not match the grading report packaged with it. GIA spokesman Stephen Morriseau said Monday that the sealing service remains suspended.

The GIA also announced at that time that it would no longer issue duplicate grading reports after receiving some diamonds with duplicate reports that did not match the stone.

This past spring, the GIA cut off four clients linked to hundreds of stones submitted with a mysterious color treatment that improves their color by as much as three grades but fades over time. The GIA is still investigating this treatment.

Diamonds that underwent what is believed to be the same color treatment also surfaced at the International Gemological Institute’s lab in Antwerp.

IGI CEO Roland Lorie said what is known about the treatment at this time is that it is a simple coating that dissolves immediately when the diamond is thoroughly cleaned with alcohol or boiled. Even if neither of these happen the treatment still most likely will fade over time, though the lab does not yet know exactly how long organic fading takes.

What makes it difficult to make determinations about this mystery coating is the fact that by the time the lab suspects something has been done to the stone, “it’s usually too late” to make any determination about what exactly it was, Lorie added.

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