© Gem Certification & Assurance Lab, Inc. 2008. All Rights Reserved. Issue Three May / June 2008
In this issue:
  1. GCAL Receives ISO 17025:2005 Accreditation
  2. Welcome to GCAL’s third newsletter
  3. You Asked and We Responded!
  4. GCAL’s Gillen to Speak at AGA
  5. Join us at JCK
  6. Bailey Banks & Biddle Goes Back to School
  7. Buy and Sell in Style
  8. Helping the Environment at Work
GCAL Receives ISO 17025:2005 Accreditation

Becoming North America’s first ISO 17025:2005 Accredited Gem Lab is more than just a piece of paper for GCAL, it is a testament to the company’s unmatched standards in the field. After a rigid testing period, GCAL was awarded the ISO seal of approval, meaning that it conforms to international standards for accurate and reliable grading. Specifically, this recognition means that GCAL has put in place the most technically competent testing facility available for accurate grading.  

Jason Stine, Testing Program Manager for Laboratory Accreditation Bureau (the firm that performs Certification assessment) explains that his job is to provide third party attestation of technical confidence. “Basically, that means that we watch them do what they do,” Stine says. “Laboratory tests are supposed to be repeatable and verifiable — we should all be doing it the same way. GCAL is the only diamond grading lab in the United States to earn this prestigious certification, and it is one of only two diamond grading labs in the world that is ISO 17025:2005 accredited.”

What does this mean for you? Whether you are a retailer, manufacturer or customer, this accreditation stands for reassurance and minimal risk. It enhances consumer confidence, and even makes your goods more easily accepted overseas. Because ISO is internationally recognized, exporters don’t have to retest for other markets with different standards. “Over 40 laboratory accreditation bodies have signed a multi-lateral recognition statement called the ILAC Arrangement, which greatly enhances the acceptance of data across the national borders of the signatory countries,” explains Stine.

Additionally, this certification isn’t a one-time-only test. Once accredited, GCAL will be tested periodically to ensure compliance with all regulations and standards. According to Donald A. Palmieri, President of GCAL, ISO accreditation is a tremendous milestone in the company’s growth and expansion. “We are very proud to be the first gem lab in this country to conform to ISO standards, and we see it as a testament to offering the most reliable and accurate grading in the industry. Our customers expect more from GCAL, and we want to live up to that expectation regardless of the time, effort or cost it takes to be the best.” 

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Welcome to GCAL’s third newsletter

Our goal remains to bring you the most important updates from our grading lab and around the industry, but for this issue we chose to focus on our products. Why? Simply because, in this difficult economic environment, you should be aware of the ways to get the most for your money and the best values for your customers. The GCAL difference is tangible, and our products and services will give you a welcome boost in diamond sales and customer satisfaction.

“in this difficult economic environment, you should be aware of the ways to get the most for your money and the best values for your customers”

From grading certificates with a Zero-Tolerance Money Back Guarantee to exclusive security measures like Gemprint®, GCAL’s goal is to offer the best value for the most useful product. The inside of this newsletter will give you details on specific services, while also introducing you to brand new specialized certificates that allow for accessibility for a wide range of different needs.

As you’ll see, the depth of GCAL’s products and services is vast. For further detailed information, log on to www.gemfacts.com or email dap@gemfacts.com to receive brochures and literature that will enhance your knowledge of GCAL benefits.

GCAL Products

Guaranteed Diamond Grading Certificate
Our most popular certificate, affectionately known as ‘The 5-Star,’ bundles the Identification, 4Cs and Light Performance information into one consumer-friendly document. Perfect for round and fancy shapes!
Princess Ideal Cut Guaranteed Diamond Grading Certificate
Outstanding princess cut diamonds that attain Excellent grades in Light Performance and Finish earn the Princess Ideal Cut Guaranteed Diamond Grading Certificate.
Ideal Cut Guaranteed Diamond Grading Certificate
Exceptional diamonds that achieve Excellent grades in all cut grade categories are worthy of a distinctive Ideal Cut Guaranteed Diamond Grading Certificate.

Customized Guaranteed Diamond Grading Certificate
Increase your brand recognition with a customized co-branded certificate that will help differentiate your business for long-term growth and increased profitability. Call GCAL today to set up a program.

Cut Grade Guaranteed Diamond Grading Certificate
When your round brilliant diamonds ‘make the grade,’ they deserve a certificate that emphasizes the quality of their cut. This certificate highlights the cut by grading Light Performance, Finish and Proportions into one Cut Grade.


Source Veritas Passport
gives customers confidence that their diamond followed a legitimate supply chain from sources that guarantee that the mining and sale of the diamond did not fund conflict. Source Veritas assures that each diamond is cut from a stone compliant with the Kimberley Process and the 2003 Clean Diamond Act.


Pre-Grade Services
are an affordable way to be informed of diamond characteristics before a full Certificate is issued. If you choose not to certify the diamond at the time of the pre-grade service, GCAL will maintain this data for an extended period of time for future certification.

GCAL Gemfacts Digital Certificate
You can offer the next generation in diamond certification with the GCAL Gemfacts Digital Certificate. The Gemfacts CD includes all of the information found on the classic GCAL Guaranteed Diamond Grading Certificate, and gives your customer the ability to view and save a copy of their diamond certificate on their home or office computer.


GCAL’s mini Guaranteed Diamond Grading Certificate
is a hard plastic card that highlights the most significant information found on the full size certificate. The credit-card size certificate is printed in full color on both sides, making an attractive presentation for your display cases. Best of all, the mini Guaranteed Diamond Grading Certificate is included with every full size certificate.

GCAL’s Market Monitor®
(formerly Palmieri’s Market Monitor®) is the go-to industry publication for the most up-to-date and accurate information on the diamond marketplace. GCAL’s Donald A. Palmieri is a certified Master Gemologist Appraiser and a veteran in the jewelry and gemstone industry. To sign up to receive a copy, email dap@gemfacts.com.


Laser inscription
is included in every GCAL Guaranteed Grading Certificate. When your diamonds are certified at GCAL, they are automatically laser inscribed to your specifications with a corresponding certificate number. This service is also available independently of certification.
Consultation Reports
With Consultation Reports, manufacturers can get answers to questions about specific stones in terms of grading. Questions asked include: How can I repolish for an Excellent grade? What is this stone’s potential for IF status? How will recutting help the grade of this chipped stone?
 
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You Asked and We Responded!
GCAL unveils five new specialized Certificates

While we have 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.
According to Donald A. Palmieri, these certificates address the growing need for many of GCAL’s exclusive products like positive identification and light performance. “This new group of certificates allows accessibility for different needs, and helps us to broaden our audience.” Look through the images and descriptions on this page for information, and log on to www.gemfacts.com for detailed descriptions.
 

DiamondID® (mini-card)
is a patented process that positively identifies and registers a diamond, backed by our Gemprint® optical fingerprint of the diamond. This certificate gives customers a 10% discount on insurance, and there is an inventory program for high volume clients. This service can be performed in our lab or remotely in a dealer’s office or a jewelry store.

In Lab Service - $25 per diamond* Remote Service - Call for Quote

 

 


DiamondID® (mini-card) with Diamond Typing
is a patented process that positively identifies and registers a diamond, backed by our Gemprint® optical fingerprint of the diamond. It also includes the classification of type, (i.e. Type Ia, Type IIa, etc.) based on the presence or absence of nitrogen absorption as identified in the mid-infrared region of the spectrum. The DiamondID® with Diamond Typing is available on faceted and rough diamonds.

In Lab Service $75 per diamond*

DiamondProfile® Certificate with Cut Grade
is a certificate (mini card or full document) providing DiamondID® and Gemprint®, as well as Diamond Profile® Optical Light Performance, and a GCAL Cut Grade including evaluation of Proportions and Finish.

In Lab Service $45 per diamond*
*Add laser inscription & microphotography to any of the above - $15 - $20 per diamond
.

DiamondProfile® (mini-card) Certificate
is a certificate providing DiamondID® and Gemprint®, as well as Diamond Profile® Optical Light Performance, including Optical Brilliance and Optical Symmetry.

In Lab Service $35 per diamond*

GCAL GemAudit™
is 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.

In Lab Service Only - Price Varies by Weight & Volume

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GCAL’s Gillen to Speak at AGA

On May 30 in Las Vegas, the Accredited Gemologists Association will offer a diamond grading workshop featuring Dan Gillen, laboratory director at GCAL. With nearly 30 years experience and a quarter million diamonds graded, Gillen will offer attendees insights on grading tips, lab procedures and diamond properties. “I really want to touch on the many facets that help people understand how we determine diamond grades,” Gillen explains. According to AGA, the workshop will include a GCAL produced “virtual hands-on presentation” and tricks of the trade that can only be learned from decades of experience. Other hot topics, including high-clarity, high-color and “split grade” stones will also be discussed. For more information or to register, log on to www.accreditedgemologists.org

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Join us at JCK

Now there are more ways to learn about GCAL at JCK. With a booth and a suite booked for private training sessions, GCAL will be explaining the benefits of its products and services to help attendees understand how to build their diamond business. Our lobby booth is the place to pick up literature on the newest and most successful features as well as speak to GCAL staff on the pros of working with GCAL Certified Diamonds.

For more in-depth information, make an appointment for private or semi-private training sessions with our experts. The GCAL Suite at The Palazzo is available by advance appointment for private meetings or customized retail training sessions of up to ten people from Tuesday, May 27th through Tuesday, June 3rd. You can schedule an appointment or for more information, please contact Pam at 212 869-8985 ext. 4011. GCAL is proud to be the Official Diamond Grading Laboratory of JCK, and Certified Diamond Exchange (CDE) is making its debut as the Official Diamond Exchange for the show.

Booth Number: L59 In Lobby Next to Buyer Registration

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Bailey Banks & Biddle Goes Back to School

Did you know that GCAL makes house calls? In an effort to educate employees on GCAL benefits, Bailey Banks & Biddle enlisted the help of Donald A. Palmieri and Sharrie Hand in October 2007 for a set of training seminars. With stops across the country and more to follow this year, GCAL reached out to over 450 employees and brought them up to speed not only on signature products and services, but on grading and sales techniques that enhance the bottom line. According to Neil Meany, BBB Regional Manager for the Southeast U.S., the training was an invaluable way to tune employees in to the nuances of GCAL’s offerings.

“These seminars weren’t just technical,” Meany explains, “they emphasized points to help us drive business like features and benefits. The training was a catalyst for a larger discussion on selling skills, and this is something that will help generate future diamonds business.”

If you’re not ready for an on-site seminar but want to learn how GCAL certified diamonds can help your business, log on to www.gemfacts.com/elearning.

A series of web-based courses that are essential training for any diamond salesperson, eLearning provides an in-depth understanding of all of GCAL’s added value, quality and security features. BBB is proof-positive that a little learning can go a long way. “I know that my business did spike after the training,”

Meany says. “It took our diamond sales to a new level, and GCAL was a huge part of it.”

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Buy and Sell in Style
CDE relaunch offers new features, better design

With the number of Certified Diamond Exchange members topping 1,300, GCAL thought the time was right to initiate a site-wide redesign and offer a host of new features for the growing online community. With a more user-friendly look and feel, CDE is quickly becoming the go-to spot for GCAL certified diamonds. Besides the cosmetic changes, the site now includes expanded functionality that benefits both buyers and sellers.

With the new Compare feature, shoppers can choose up to five diamonds from their search results and compare them side-by-side, allowing viewing of each stone’s characteristics and price when finalizing a purchase. Email notifications allow buyers to be automatically contacted when certain actions take place on CDE. For example, if you are looking to merchandise within certain parameters, you could receive an email when any round brilliant, 1.00 ct+, H+, I1 stones are added—or any criteria of your choice.

 
Additional new features are “Add to Basket,” a shopping time saver that puts possible purchases into a group that can be saved for future log ons, and a Markup tool that allows dealers to add a percentage or monetary markup to all stones for use in the store with a customer. This eliminates wholesale prices being viewable to potential buyers. For more information or to become a member, log on to
www.cdediamonds.com.

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Helping the Environment at Work
Whether you have a store, cutting facility or just a small office, there are a number of ways to do your part to save the planet. While installing solar panels might be a bit beyond your reach, small gestures can really add up to a big payoff. Here are a few simple ways to go green at your workplace:

Recycle.
Everything from batteries to paper to glass bottles should be sorted and recycled. It may not seem like much, but it's a step in the right direction.

Install low-energy lighting.
By replacing standard bulbs with LED or CFL bulbs, you'll have light that will last up to 15 times longer, plus reduce heat output.

Build with renewable products.
If you are undergoing renovations, try to avoid materials that are time consuming to produce, either artificially or naturally. Flooring options like bamboo are popular alternatives to slow-growing hardwoods.

Give back to the community.
Working with local environmental causes is a great way to get involved with those in your area, plus it benefits the next generation.

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