The Indian diamond industry was anxiously awaiting the release of a comprehensive report, expected after press time in late February, on the increased presence of synthetic diamonds in the marketplace. The report was commissioned by the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) from A. T. Kearney, a global business consultancy, and Bonas, international diamond industry consultants. Sanjay Kothari, GJEPC’s representative for promotions and marketing, said the report would include “details about the number of machines existing that are capable of producing laboratory-grown diamonds, their reach, the cost of manufacturing these diamonds and their spread as of now.” He noted that GJEPC is hopeful the report will provide some guidance and insight into “how both industries — laboratory-grown diamonds and natural diamonds — can peacefully co-exist. Our primary requirement and concern are that there should be a disclosure from the manufacturer when he sells laboratory-grown diamonds and the customer should not be kept in the dark. The problem that the industry is facing today is related to nondisclosure and the mixing of the diamonds and the customer not being informed. “We are not against the business and growth of laboratory-grown diamonds but we want to see a fair trade,” added Kothari. “We want the business to exist ethically.” He noted that the report also is designed to outline “the steps that need to be taken when a manufacturer is found dealing in laboratory-grown diamonds through unscrupulous means. In that case, the culprit needs to be punished according to the law of the land.”
The commissioning of the report on synthetics reflects the heightened concern in the diamond industry recently that synthetics are being mixed in with natural stones without disclosure or detection. In other action on the same front, De Beers, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) have begun installing machines at the Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) that are specifically designed to detect and identify synthetic diamonds. The International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR), a division of De Beers, is providing its Automated Melee Sorting (AMS) machines to GJEPC to be used in diamond screening. The machines will be operated by the Diamond Detection and Resource Centre (DDRC), which is sponsored by GJEPC and BDB and is part of the Gemological Institute of India (GII). They are designed to quickly detect synthetic stones in parcels of small diamonds ranging from .01 carat to .20 carat.
The seventh edition of Signature 2014 took place from February 21 to 24 at the Bombay Convention and Exhibition Centre in Mumbai. More than 550 exhibitors showcased their creations to more than 10,000 visitors from 350 cities and towns across India and more than 500 international visitors from 28 countries. According to Vipul Shah, chairman of GJEPC, the show organizer, Signature 2014 scored an 80 percent repeat participation and featured sections of loose diamonds as well as gemstones. The event once again had a Signature Club that housed couture jewelry in a separate section. Other highlights included an online buyer matching program that enabled participating exhibitors to screen other exhibitors’ offerings to locate matches to their buying requirements. The program was designed to facilitate appointment scheduling and business negotiations by quickly identifying suppliers who carried inventory matching buyer needs. Another technology tool was the Signature Mobile Application that allowed participants and visitors to quickly locate stalls of specific individual vendors and provided details on the most direct route to those vendors’ exhibits.
According to GJEPC’s Shah, “The sentiments since the New Year have been positive. We are seeing positive movement within the industry.” He added that “The rupee has been stable for the past month and we are seeing a steady demand flowing in from the U.S. and Far Middle East. The domestic market within India too is stable and that is definitely good news for the industry. If I had to describe the current situation, I would say that the Indian diamond industry is strong, people are happy and they are smiling!” The only negative cited by Shah was that the rough prices need correction because it is difficult for manufacturers to sustain operations at the current prices. But, he concluded, he is optimistic of some correction happening very soon.
Article from the Rapaport Magazine - March 2014. To subscribe click here.