December 6th, 2005
By Charles Wyndham.
Some words give me considerable pleasure. ‘Gnawing’ is one of them. It is not often that one word can have such diametrically opposite meanings and at the same time impart in either of the meanings such an underlying sense of the meaning being used.
When one reads that some poor chap is suffering from a gnawing pain, you know he is pretty uncomfortable. Reading it I actually feel the discomfort.
On the other hand, if I read that a dog is gnawing on a bone, it gives a feeling of considerable contentment. A vision of the pet Labrador stuck in a corner contentedly chewing away at a bone which one only hopes it has got at after the family has had its turn.
Well, I am not sure how I feel apropos my friend Boney and the GIA.
It is good news that however reluctantly the GIA has turned its back on ‘charitable’ donations. It is good that it has admitted that there was a problem and that it is going to clean it up, whatever the pity that it has been like drawing teeth to do so.
But here there comes a ‘slip between cup and lip’. We hear about a list of companies whose names have been given to the authorities for alleged bribery. The market is amok with rumours about who is on the list. In true diamantaire fashion there is a strong hint that the rumour machine is being used to settle a few scores or simply try to satiate the industry’s insatiable lust for jealousy.
I personally go along with the old principle of innocent till proven guilty. Also my attitude is coloured by my belief that whatever the length of the list produced by the GIA that in reality it should be one hell of a lot longer.
Rather than scapegoats I am more interested in the whole process being cleaned up and the essential trust in the organisation’s certificates being restored.
In particular, I would like categorical assurance that the anonymity of the owner of a stone being assessed is maintained. Those to whom I have spoken say that this is achieved by the HRD, so why cannot it be achieved by the GIA.
It is not enough for the GIA to maintain that all stones have a serial number and no name when I am told that the serial number contains an owners ID number. Whatever the technicalities it is essential that there really is anonymity.
One point I continue to find disturbing is this whole issue about Boney’s exclusive post box arrangement with the GIA. At least the numbers of names being banded around for having bribed members of the GIA precludes anyone from having had the exclusive right.
It really gnaws at me, and it is not as if I feel as if I have got a bone between my teeth, yet.
I have asked before and repeat now, what conceivable advantage was there in this arrangement for the GIA as an organisation or for users of the organisation to have this specific monopolistic arrangement. Again, as stated, others have offered to do the same for less.
The more gnawing I do the less sense it makes to me.
What is indisputable is that there must have been advantages for there to be the arrangement in the first place; but whose advantage is what I want to know. I am also intrigued to know the scale of the advantage.
The fact that you get a Boney taking so much of the moral high ground when discussing his only true monopolistic competitor, De Beers. It is simply amusing, especially when you realise that it is in the context of the GIA which in its own way is yet another monopoly.
That his apologia of an article about the whole GIA scandal is about as intellectually assanine as his laughable justification for his opaque, contorted, deliberately misleading and soaked in conflict of interest price list was not surprising.
What surprises me and will allow me to keep gnawing away is the treatment of this issue by the internal investigation by the GIA.
When I first raised the issue of the total inappropriateness of an organisation as the GIA accepting huge charitable donations from companies whose diamonds they were grading, the initial response from Bill Boyajian was self righteous justification. It could almost have been written by Boney himself.
At least, since then some sense has been forthcoming in relation to this issue, though it is strange that it should not have come from Boyajian in the first place, or that given these are his views that he is still there.
Now, what about Boney?
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