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‘Naturalmark’ Aims to Defeat Undisclosed Synthetics

Jan 3, 2021 5:39 AM   By Joshua Freedman
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A new project to combat undisclosed synthetics has launched in India, offering retailers low-cost screening and inscription using a model based on gold hallmarking.

Naturalmark will place tamper-proof seals on parcels of loose diamonds, as well as laser-inscribing finished jewelry, enabling transparency at a consumer level, Surat-based Gourav Sethi, its founder, told Rapaport News last week.

The program, which launched in October, has received support and funding from regional jewelry associations in India, as well as from a handful of diamond and jewelry manufacturers, said Sethi, who has been a board member at the Surat Diamond Association for 10 years.

India will be the initial focus: Sethi has already agreed to a franchise deal with a major, as yet unnamed, jeweler that will launch two stores in Mumbai and Jaipur under the Naturalmark banner, stocking only diamonds with the verification label. He aims to expand across the country through similar tie-ups, and eventually to overseas markets.

The initiative results from the cost of screening mounted jewelry for synthetics, as international laboratories generally only offer this as part of a full grading service, Sethi explained. Naturalmark will check goods at its own laboratory for a much smaller fee, using bespoke equipment from a German machine manufacturer.

Sethi compared the move to the introduction of gold hallmarking in India in 2000, prior to which there was great confusion that limited consumer sales, he said. Increased transparency for diamond-jewelry buyers could have a similar positive impact on the market that hallmarking had for gold, he added.

The project comes amid increased demand for synthetics in the Indian market, with Mumbai’s Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) voting last week to lift its ban on the category. Lab-grown diamonds accounted for less than 1% of India’s total polished production five years ago — when the BDB introduced its ban — compared with almost 5% now, the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) noted.

The BDB’s decision “shows that CVD has a bright future,” Sethi acknowledged, using the abbreviation for lab-grown diamonds created using the chemical vapor deposition process. “But I personally love natural diamonds, and I promote natural diamonds.”

Image: Diamond merchants in Surat, India, in 2015. (Shutterstock)
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Tags: BDB, Bharat Diamond Bourse, Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council, GJEPC, gold, Gourav Sethi, grading, hallmarking, India, jaipur, Jewelry, Joshua Freedman, lab-grown, lab-grown diamonds, Laboratories, mumbai, Naturalmark, Rapaport News, retail, retailers, screening, Surat, Surat Diamond Association, Synthetic diamonds, Synthetics, undisclosed synthetics
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