Wednesday, February 10, 2010

CIBJO Diamond Commission calls for clear diamond nomenclature easily understood by the end-consumer

It almost seems like déjà vu, but at the
2010 CIBJO Congress that will take place
this month in Munich, Germany, the CIBJO
Diamond Commission will face similar
challenges to those addressed at last year's
congress in Istanbul, Turkey.
Nomenclature of diamonds
In Istanbul it was resolved not to change
the nomenclature for gem-quality synthetic
diamonds, allowing only for the use of the
descriptor "synthetic" and not for any of the
additional terms that were proposed, such
as “man-made,” "laboratory-grown,"
“laboratory-created” or “[company name]-
created.” One could conclude, therefore,
that the discussions on the nomenclature of
synthetic diamonds have not led to any
changes in the status quo.
The apparent rift between the nomenclature
allowed by CIBJO and by the International
Diamond Council (IDC) has indeed not been
bridged. However, in contrast to years gone
by, since the congress in Istanbul
representatives of CIBJO’s Diamond
Commission and the IDC have been
engaged in talks. The purpose is to reach
agreement on a joint set of nomenclature
for natural and synthetic diamonds.
The recent economic crisis had driven home
to all parties involved that to reinsure
consumers buying diamonds, unambiguous
nomenclature is required.
On February 10, a meeting will take place
in London, and hopefully all participating
parties will concur that the lack of an
agreed to nomenclature for diamonds –
natural and synthetic – ultimately will affect
consumer confidence negatively across the
In Munich, the CIBJO Diamond Commission
will report on the talks with IDC and also
hear a report on the February 10 meeting.

Misrepresentation of diamonds
The need for clear, unambiguous
nomenclature will also driven home by
another issue on the Commission’s agenda
in Munich and that is the misrepresentation
of diamonds in the mass media.
The number of advertisements that
misrepresent jewellery products and its
components—diamonds, gemstones, pearls,
etc.—seems to be on the rise. The Diamond
Commission has noted, as have members
of other Sector III commissions, that the
misrepresentation of jewellery products is
especially rife in in-flight magazines and
sales catalogues. On e-commerce websites,
the phenomenon of misrepresentation
needs to be properly researched.
At the CIBJO Congress, a special panel
discussion will be held on CIBJO's
commitment to the struggle against the
misrepresentation of jewellery industry
products in promotions and advertising. The
panel discussion will be moderated by
Cecilia Gardner, president of the Jewellers
Vigilance Committee and vice president of
the CIBJO Ethic Commission, and will take
place on Saturday, February 20, 8:00 A.M.-
9:30 A.M.
The question we will need to discuss at the
congress is how do we convince producers,
wholesalers, and retailers to follow the
rules? Surely, without a common, joint
directive from the major umbrella
organisations, such as the WFDB, IDMA,
IDC and CIBJO, they will continue to get
away with arguments that the
nomenclature is not clear-cut and therefore
ineffective. It is clear that as long as a
single set of nomenclature is not used, the
practice of misrepresentation only will
grow. Diamond Commission President Udi
Sheintal, with the assistance of the CIBJO
communications team, will showcase
examples of how these issues may be
The Impact of lighting
One of the issues that was on the agenda
but was not discussed in Turkey last year is
that of lighting. We do not expect that this
year we will be able to deal with it at
length, but it is important that we keep
track of other, important issues that affect
or potentially can affect consumer
confidence in diamonds.
In Istanbul, we heard a detailed report by
Michael Allchin, Assay Master of the Assay
Office in Birmingham, UK, who is also
president of the CIBJO Precious Metals
Commission. Michael has been a member of
a Task Force instituted in June 2008 by the
Accredited Gemologists Association (AGA)
to research lighting and its impact on colorgrading
colorless diamonds.
The Task Force was established in response
to allegations in recent years from
gemmologists and appraisers that colorless
diamonds exhibiting blue fluorescence were
being over-graded by gem-testing
laboratories. Several gemmologists who are
closely associated with CIBJO were invited
to participate in the AGA Task Force.
It is expected that updates on this issue,
including a report on the Task Force
meeting held this month in Tucson, Arizona,
will be presented at the Diamond
Commission meeting in Munich.

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