We will soon celebrate our 40th year of David Gardner’s Jewelers in B-CS. One of the most fascinating things to me are all of the shifts in the diamond industry the past four decades. As a Graduate Gemologist GIA, CERTIFIED GEMOLOGIST AGS, past president of American Gem Society and jeweler for over 45 years, what have been the noteworthy changes in the diamond industry?
In the early part of my career, with few exceptions, most diamonds were cut primarily for size, or weight retention from the rough. There was an awareness regarding cutting for brilliance but it was not a priority. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) taught what was called “ideal cut” and there were a handful of niche companies that cut for brilliance but the consumer market was predominantly unaware.
In about the 60s or 70s GIA started grading stones and providing diamond grading reports to cutters. By the late 70s, most retailers began using standardized lab grading instead of independent certifications from different diamond suppliers.
The American Gem Society (AGS), which was founded to promote ethics and consumer protection, established a lab in 1996. The AGS lab pioneered the Ideal Cut Grade and became the first lab to offer a Diamond Grading Report with a cut grade. Both GIA and AGS were pivotal in establishing industry standards for diamond grading, including cut grading.
I think I represent all women when I say that a diamond isn’t doing its job unless it is sparkling with maximum brilliance. In my humble opinion, so many people are hung up on clarity and color, but it is the cut that really transcends, right?