De Beers Group's CEO, Philippe Mellier, reminded sightholders this week that a consumer’s desire for diamonds is the only source of value for the diamond and jewelry industry. Therefore, De Beers view of synthetic diamonds remains as always -- it is possible that appropriately disclosed synthetics can find a happy and legitimate place in the diamond and jewelry industry, primarily in the low-value, under $200 market; however, passing off a synthetic stone as a natural diamond threatens consumers’ confidence in diamonds and the practice is unethical and fraudulent.
Mellier stated that De Beers believes
undisclosed trading of synthetic diamonds is confined to a very small
portion of the global industry, but because there is heightened concerns
across the trade recently, the company developed a guide to help
understand synthetics, what to look for and how to protect the pipeline.
value what it means to be a sightholder of the De Beers Group of
Companies. It is a signature of confidence for your clients, partners
and lenders. We therefore have a shared responsibility with you to
protect the reputation and goodwill of De Beers and our sightholders,''
Highlighting the main points, Mellier confirmed that all
rough diamonds sold by De Beers are natural. De Beers also has the
technology to detect all synthetics. ''De Beers has invested heavily
over decades to develop technology that enables us, and you, to detect
all types of synthetics. And we are continuing to invest to ensure we
remain several steps ahead of synthetic production technology,'' Mellier
said. Leading laboratories have De Beers synthetic detection equipment,
he reminded sightholders.
De Beers is currently testing a new
Automated Melee Screening (AMS) machine that it expects to roll-out in
the first half of 2014; meanwhile, sightholders can test samples of
melee parcels with DiamondSure to reduce the risk of purchasing
undisclosed synthetics, Mellier added.
While the diamond firm's
best practice principles (BPPs) prohibit the sale of undisclosed
synthetics, expect De Beers to enhance these measures to ensure
appropriate systems and controls are in place to protect sightholders
from inadvertently trading in undisclosed synthetics.
will work with industry bodies to identify entities that have sold
undisclosed synthetics. This will help discourage non-disclosure,''
Mellier said. ''Selling one product by misrepresenting it as another, as
in the case of undisclosed synthetics, could be illegal and may be a
criminal offense in some jurisdictions to be addressed by law
De Beers expects to create a
sightholder advisory panel with a mandate to develop clear and pragmatic
guidance on operations to mitigate risk and protect the business from
Until the panel is announced, De Beers
reminded sightholders that synthetic rough diamonds are easily
identifiable, so the focus turns to polished goods. Purchased polished
diamonds from primary source manufacturers and request assurances that
the diamonds are natural. ''However, the longer the pipeline the bigger
the risk. Purchases from secondary sources (i.e. not the polisher of the
goods), increases the opportunities for synthetics to be substituted
for natural diamonds or spread across parcels sold to unsuspecting
clients,'' Mellier warned.
Testing all diamonds inhouse or
sending them to a lab, will provide greater confidence in purchasing.
''Once assured or tested and in your possession, your diamond stock is
vulnerable to 'swapping' on the factory floor. Effective security and
monitoring processes will protect the value and integrity of your
stock,'' Mellier added.
Should undisclosed synthetics appear, De
Beers warns firms to take immediate action, report it to relevant
organizations, including bourses, trade associations and potentially law
enforcement agencies. De Beers sightholders are contractually obligated
not to sell undisclosed synthetics and doing so is a material breach of
the BPPs and places the contract at great risk. ''Ignorance cannot be
an excuse and we must all take the necessary steps to protect our
''More needs to be done and the technologies team at
De Beers is producing more screening equipment like the AMS and will
launch further technology in the years ahead. I would like to thank you
for your support thus far and would value direct engagement with you to
get your views and discuss ideas on how we can continue to safeguard
consumers’ confidence in diamonds,'' he concluded.
DCLA has checked every stone ever certified for natural origin.