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GIA to Open Lab in Johannesburg

13/08/07.  The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) announced August
13, 2007 it would open a laboratory in Johannesburg, South Africa, by
early 2008 as part of its global expansion.

GIA is taking over the laboratory services of the Jewelry Council of South
Africa (JCSA) and will start absorbing its operations beginning in
September, Tom Moses, senior vice president of GIA Laboratory and
Research said at a news conference in the city.

The JCSA’s current executive director, Leslie Milner, will serve as director
of the GIA Johannesburg Laboratory.

“GIA is making itself available to its ever-growing number of international
clients. Our international laboratory business has grown significantly in
the last decade and it is our desire to be more accessible to our clients,”
Moses said. “By being in key producing and consuming regions, we can
better promote GIA standards, and shorten the distance between all our
customers and ourselves.”

Moses explained that September would be a "take-in window" or
"consolidator" month for GIA and its customers, as they join the GIA Lab
Direct Network, and that submissions will be invited from Botswana,
Namibia and South Africa.

A team of JCSA laboratory diamond graders will visit the United States in
October for training in GIA methodologies and standards, after which they
will return to Johannesburg to start establishing full laboratory services
together with a team of veteran graders and management from GIA.

GIA stated that its Johannesburg Lab would officially open in early 2008
when it will initially offer grading services for stones ranging from 0.15 to
1.99 carats. Other diamonds will be shipped to the United States.

Moses added that GIA plans to expand its education activities in
Johannesburg and that it would be working with local organizations to
find opportunities to provide scholarships for deserving candidates.

“Southern Africa is an important location in the diamond industry with a
long history and we believe GIA should have a laboratory presence here,
as well as education, in order to better serve our customers,” Moses said.