MUMBAI: The Diamond Producers Association (DAP) will soon be starting a project with the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council in India to evaluate the feasibility of establishing regional detection centres to identify any synthetic or lab-grown diamonds, said a top official of the association.
This should help jewellers or manufacturers who cannot afford their own detection equipment, but would like to have a guarantee certification that professionally run centres can provide, said Jean-Marc Lieberherr, CEO, Diamond Producers’ Association (DPA), in an interview. DPA was formed in 2015 by seven of the world’s leading diamond companies to instill consumer confidence in diamonds and also enhance consumer demand.
The recent scandal in the diamond industry involving Mehul Choksi, Nirav Modi and their firms have created a scare about the quality of diamonds their outlets sold. But, the Indian bourses have been doing systematic detection and there is no issue of contamination, said Lieberherr. “Very confident that the pipeline is quite clean,” he said.
There is a lot of work happening in the industry around spreading good practices and ways to protect the business and inventory from contamination, but the issue of how to equip the industry with detection equipment, where to place in the supply chain, is a work in progress, Lieberherr said.
“We work with a US lab called UL, and we have developed a testing standard for the synthetic diamond equipment, diamond verification instrument systematically testing the performance of every piece of equipment. We have put 11 of the most post popular device through the test. Shared the result findings with the Indian trade,” he added.
In India right now, the work is on to identifying where and how the centres should be established – the polishing centres, trade centres, the kind of volumes and also the major consumer markets.
“Synthetic diamond has no value. So, it is important that you make sure you buy the real thing,” says Lieberherr. Synthetic diamonds haven’t gained currency worldwide and in India, which is a value-driven market that also associated diamond with the symbolism of gift in certain social context, the idea of lab-grown ones substituting real diamonds will have less takers, feels Lieberherr.
“I don’t think how that is going to get any traction. Eventually where it is driving to is the fashion jewellery kind of market. But, it is a complete value proposition for the natural diamond, which is a precious stone that has a symbolic value, and that is going to stay,” Lieberherr said.