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CIBJO Won’t Bow to FTC Diamond Definition

Oct 11, 2018 4:56 AM   By Joshua Freedman
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RAPAPORT...The World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO) is likely to keep the word “natural” in its definition of diamonds for the time being, according to the organization’s president.

The Switzerland-based group will probably not amend the entry in its Blue Book before the next scheduled review in two years, Gaetano Cavalieri told Rapaport News ahead of the upcoming CIBJO Congress in Colombia. That’s despite a decision by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in July to remove “natural” from its own definition of the mineral, putting it at odds with CIBJO’s policy.

Soon after the FTC changes, Cavalieri said CIBJO may need to amend the Blue Book, and that its diamond commission would discuss the matter at the Bogotá conference, which begins Monday. However, while those talks will still take place, people involved are wary about rewriting a “carefully formulated” definition in reaction to regulatory changes in one country, Cavalieri noted this week.

The synthetics industry viewed the FTC changes as a victory, though the altered definition itself had little practical impact, as companies must still declare if diamonds they sell are laboratory-grown.

“It became apparent that the degree to which there was any change in the way that the FTC recommends lab-grown and natural goods be described was, if anything, mainly in tone, rather than substance,” he said.

CIBJO’s Blue Books are influential, partly because the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) used them as the basis for its jewelry-and-precious-metals standard in 2015. Delegates at the 2017 CIBJO congress decided that the publications — which cover a range of jewelry materials — should only undergo revisions every three years, barring a major, unexpected development. That’s because every change requires significant follow-up work such as translations into other languages, Cavalieri noted. The FTC updates were not enough to warrant breaking that cycle.

“Right now, unless something out of the ordinary happens, a revised version of [the] diamond Blue Book will not be ratified until 2020,” Cavalieri said. “In the interim, however, we will continue to debate amendments to the Blue Book as we always have done.”

The FTC guidelines will also be on the agenda at the World Diamond Congress in Mumbai later this month — the first time heads of global exchanges have met since the new rules came out, said Ernie Blom, president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, which organizes the event.

“We have definitely seen many developments this year, and in light of the issues facing the global diamond trade, we will be discussing a wide range of important issues,” he added.

Image: A worker inspects a stone at the Gassan diamond factory in Amsterdam. (Mattxfoto/Shutterstock)
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Tags: Blue Book, Blue Books, CIBJO, CIBJO Congress, colombia, diamond commission, federal trade commission, ftc, Gaetano Cavalieri, International Organization for Standardization, iso, Joshua Freedman, lab-grown diamonds, Switzerland, Synthetics, US, World Jewellery Confederation
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