Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Synthetic gems ruining Surat's diamond smile

Several diamantaires have put Surat's reputation as the world's biggest polishing centre at stake by mixing lab-grown diamonds with natural ones.
Most synthetic diamonds are mixed with the stars and melees which are diamonds below seven cents. Out of 10 jewellery articles sold globally, nine are studded with parcels of stars and melees processed in Surat, Bhavnagar or Amreli.

Synthetic gems cost barely a tenth of natural diamonds. Stars and melees cost between Rs 40,000 and Rs 60,000 per carat and diamantaires earn a huge profit by mixing these cheap synthetic diamonds valued at Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000 per carat with the natural ones.

According to market estimates, Rs 500 crore to Rs 1,000 crore worth of synthetic diamonds imported from China are mixed with the natural diamond parcels every month from Surat and sold in markets.

"Selling synthetic diamonds is not a crime, but they should come with proper disclosure. Some industry players are indulging in illegal practices to make quick bucks," said an office-bearer of Surat Diamond Association.

The problem has touched alarming proportions forcing the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) to form a special committee to look into the issue.

GJEPC chairman Vipul Shah said, "Few who are putting the industry's reputation at stake. It is suggested that consumer confidence be maintained through segregation of the natural and man-made diamonds value chain and disclosures be made at every step."

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