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Ethics In Trade - Code Of Conduct & Cognizance
The issue Lab-grown diamonds and their non-disclosure has always put a question mark in the minds of the consumers and thus, putting a dent in the business of the diamond industry. Implications of mixing synthetic with natural stones continue to be main point of discussion at the industry meets.The recent GIA alert about withdrawal of certificates and trade alert about 500 stones submitted to it and found to be potentially treated to improve colour by up to three grades has again put the industry in a spot.
By: Diamond World News Service
Jun 29 2015 3:22PM
Reference: 11633  

In such times of crisis, entire industry needs to stand united to weed out unhealthy practices and start weaving the ethical diamond story again.

In this month’s cover story, Kavita Parab tried to delve deep on the lack of ethics in the industry and the ways to improve the situation.

Undisclosed Synthetic Diamonds And Industry Trust
Shmuel Schnitzer: There is no reason to panic. The amount of synthetic diamonds in the market is limited, and they are no threat to the natural diamond market. These stones will find their place and role in the market place and that is fine. At the same time this does not mean that we can turn ablind eye toward unethical practices, such as selling synthetic diamonds undisclosed. Those are practices we will find tooth and nail – not the product, but misconduct concerning the product.

Alex Popov: Just preceding the JCK show in Las Vegas, the Accredited Gemologists Association (AGA) held a highly informative seminar on synthetic diamonds. The most important outcome was that the attending producers agreed that the number of stones in the also market is negligible - less than a 100,000 carats of gem quality synthetic diamonds have been inserted into the market. There are many millions of carats of natural diamonds, and we understand the very limited impact these stones have on our business. However, these same diamond growers also said that the capacity of their plants will grow, and most importantly, that they are serving a healthy interest in the consumer market.

These synthetics are here to stay. It is to us to do a better job in the marketing and promotion of natural diamonds and to bring back the story telling of diamonds that will attract the consumer for natural diamonds.

Maxim Shkadov: The IDMA has no tolerance for anyone who sells polished, gem quality synthetic diamonds undisclosed. However, I have no doubt that while some consumers may be swayed by the product, the natural diamond will retain its leading role as the symbol that represents the unique expression of love between two lovers. It is the industry’s responsibility to do a better job in promoting natural diamonds to the consumer, and bring back that lost market share that has been eroded by other luxury market products. As to the appeal of synthetic diamonds, I’ll repeat what I have said a long time ago - women want real love, and not a synthetic representation of it.

Nirupa Bhatt: Ensuring the public’s trust is crucial to the growth of the gem and jewellery industry, and proper disclosure of any diamond treatments or synthetics is important to retain that trust. For this reason, GIA made its Diamond Check device available to major diamond bourses around the world at no cost in early 2014. The device accurately identifies colourless natural, untreated diamonds in the D-to-N range and refers diamonds that are potentially synthetic or treated for further examination.

Ravi Chhabria: With science and technology rapidly advancing, the creation of gem quality lab grown diamonds has now become commercially viable, hence the recent influx of lab grown diamonds in the market. Undisclosed lab grown or treated diamonds entering the market remain an overall industry challenge, not only for diamond grading labs in general but to the end-consumer in particular. It seems that the industry is hoping this is still a one-off incident but it I think it’s fair to assume that nobody can estimate the amount of undisclosed goods that are currently in the market. This really underscores the importance of reliable diamond certificates and the necessity for advanced research in order to detect anomalies and potential new treatments. This is why HRD Antwerp continuously invests in its research department by means of developing cutting-edge screening and detection technology and providing intensive training to all of its employees.

Russell Mehta: I do not agree that the overall trust regarding diamonds is on a downfall. In the billions of dollars of natural diamonds we are selling, the incidence of such undisclosed synthetics is perhaps in hundreds of thousands of dollars presenting minuscule percentage and hence stray incidences.

Nirupa Bhatt: Ask for an independent diamond grading report from a trusted third-party laboratory like GIA. A GIA diamond grading report details the gemological quality of the diamond. It tells whether the stone is natural or synthetic, if it has been treated - and how, and its quality rankings in each of the 4Cs (colour, clarity, cut and carat weight). Synthetic diamonds undergo the same rigorous grading process as natural diamonds. Synthetic diamonds have fewer colour and clarity grading categories, but all grading processes are the same.

Ravi Chabbria: As even a slight difference in colour can mean a significant increase in profit so traders or manufactures with malicious intentions will most likely continue their practices which means there is no infallible way to avoid undisclosed treated or lab grown goods entering the market. This is why a transparent, objective and reliable diamond certification remains paramount in order to safeguard consumer confidence throughout the diamond pipeline. Additionally, a strict KYC (Know Your Customer) policy and in-depth customer screening are becoming very important. When unhealthy incidents occur, it’s of capital importance this is announced publicly in order to warn the industry in order to increase caution.

Russell Mehta: Every industry has black sheep and it is for us to weed them out. We need to have best of technology and processes working for the industry to weed out the undisclosed synthetics. I am sure the newer and better machines will come which can work faster and detect even the smallest of the small synthetics in the very near future.

Shmuel Schnitzer: At the IDE, we do not allow synthetic diamonds to be traded on the trading floor. Members are free to handle products in the privacy of their offices but we do not wish to see them in the public realm of our bourse. Under Israeli law, synthetic gemstones, synthetic diamonds and other synthetic gemstones, cannot be imported or released from customs through offices of the Diamond Controller. To us, they are just another product made by man. As to penalties, all bourses have clear rules in place what happens to members who transgress and overstep the clear boundaries of ethics, the WFDB’s and the bourses’ by-laws and the rule of law.

Alex Popov: First of all, the reported mixing of synthetic diamonds with natural diamonds is scandalous if not plainly criminal. Since this is done mostly with small goods, it is obvious that the focus has been on reported incidents in India and I am encouraged by the unequivocal condemnation that I have heard from our counterparts in India. Of course, all bourses need to take the measures needed to stamp out these practices.Clearly, the best way to fight against these products is to do a better job on promoting natural diamonds. This has been lacking for a long time and I am glad that the demand for more generic promotion and advertising among consumers is heard throughout the industry pipeline.

Maxim Shkadov: As a manufacturer, I am very pleased that just recently; the leading diamond miners and producers have resolved to establish a Diamond Producers Association (DPA). While their initial drive may very well have been the threat of synthetic diamonds, their declared motivation is to advance promotion and advertising of natural diamonds and to bring back consumer desire for natural diamonds. This - and little else – should drive the entire supply pipeline. Synthetic diamondsare just a blip on our horizon.The restoring of consumer desire and with it increased diamonds sales and polished prices is our chief goal.

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