Diamonds from international heist surface in San Diego - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Diamonds from international heist surface in San Diego

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CARLSBAD (CBS 8) - A diamond stolen in London nearly two years ago has turned up here in San Diego. The five-carat diamond was sent to the Gemological Institute of America laboratory in Carlsbad.

This story starts in London two years ago, when professional diamond thieves lifted a $1 million bag of diamonds from a jeweler. Nineteen months later, one of those stolen stones traveled across the ocean 5,500 miles to Carlsbad's Gemological Institute of America, known as GIA.

Brenda Harwick from GIA says the five-carat whopper of a diamond, valued at $4,700, was sent to their laboratory to be assessed.

"There are a lot of stolen diamonds out there," Harwick said.

According to the LAPD, a suspicious jeweler in Florida who was approached to buy the hot diamond wanted a second opinion on the stone's four C's: cut, color, clarity and carat weight. That's when an eagle-eyed GIA diamond grader spotted the stolen gem.

"It's exciting to realize that we are part of this Jason Bourne-type of technology today," Harwick said.

That diamond will now be returned to its rightful owner, along with two other stolen diamonds -- a three-carat and a four-carat diamond -- spotted by the GIA right here in Carlsbad earlier this year from that same London heist.

"You would be amazed at how many diamonds actually come back through our laboratory that have been flagged in our system," Harwick said.

Harwick says diamonds are similar to snowflakes and fingerprints for their originality, but only a trained eye can document their differences.

"And because no two diamonds are alike, there is a characteristic inside each and every diamond that lends to its identity," Harwick explained.

That's why GIA recommends if you own diamonds, have them inspected and get yourself what's called a diamond grading report that includes a laser inscription on the bottom of your precious stone.

"This report number is something that a consumer can easily use to actually track down a stolen good," Harwick said.

GIA is a nonprofit group open to the public. If you have a diamond that you want assessed and inscribed, the prices are quite reasonable. For a half-carat diamond, the report and inscription costs $76.

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