GIA News

GIA South Africa officially opens Feb. 21 in Johannesburg

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) will officially open "GIA South Africa," its new laboratory in Johannesburg for business on February 21.

Thomas M. Moses, senior vice president, GIA Laboratory and Research, said that launching the GIA Laboratory in Johannesburg has been a top priority for the Institute.

Moses said, "GIA is moving quickly to bring its services to our global clients. Here in Johannesburg we will initially provide GIA Diamond Dossiers ®, which covers stones ranging from 0.15 carats up to 1.99 carats."

"The Institute is very excited to begin participating as fully as we can in the industry in this region, and will eventually offer classes, seminars, scholarships and other aspects of the Institute here as well."

"We are introducing a new GIA Diamond Fee Schedule today to reflect current GIA fees as converted to the South African Rand currency," said Moses.

The GIA Laboratory in Johannesburg will accept any size diamond, colored stone or pearl from GIA clients in the region. For any service other than the Diamond Dossier report, items can be delivered to the Laboratory and GIA will send them for service to one of its other laboratories and return them to Johannesburg for customer pickup. GIA has also been granted a VAT exemption so these services will not be subject to the traditional fee for shipping stones outside of South Africa for servicing.

Leslie (Les) Milner, director of the GIA Laboratory in Johannesburg, and an experienced team of laboratory diamond graders trained in the U.S. at the end of last year so they could be immersed in the GIA grading methods and fully aligned with the Institute's standards. They will be joined by a team of experienced GIA graders from the U.S. offices.

"We have been learning GIA's grading methodology while working with the great array of state-of-the-art research and scientific equipment GIA has at its disposal. As technology advances, you need an up-to-date research facility with the expertly trained staff and resources to advance the future of the industry here in South Africa. I look forward to leading the team here at GIA."

The address for the new GIA Laboratory in Johannesburg is Suite 512, 5th Floor, S.A. Diamond Centre, 225 Main Street, Johannesburg 2001. The mailing address is P.O. Box 1756, Houghton, 2041, South Africa. The hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Monday to Friday.

The general phone number is (011) 27 11 334-2744, and the fax number is (011) 27 11 334-0932. The GIA Web site is www.gia.edu.

GIA began its work in Johannesburg when it announced in August 2007 that it would begin absorbing the laboratory operations of the Jewelry Council of South Africa, while the JCSA continued to operate its other interests.

That action followed an earlier announcement in May 2007 by the GIA Board of Governors who approved the Institute's global expansions plans, which focus on establishing education, laboratory and research centers in key international areas. In announcing the move, Donna Baker, GIA's president, said that "The goal of GIA's international expansion plans is to meet the growing demands of the world's expanding markets while retaining our commitment to the highest standards of gemology."

19th February 2008