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ALROSA President Focuses on Synthetics Challenges in WDC Speech

Oct 15, 2015 12:37 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... ALROSA president Andrey Zharkov told the World Diamond Council (WDC) that the miner has a “function” to “set apart synthetic and natural diamonds” in the supply chain. His speech to the trade body’s annual general meeting focused on the challenges of the existence of both types of stone in the market.

Zharkov, who joined ALROSA in April 2015, said the Russian group was concerned by the fact that natural diamonds are increasingly mixed with synthetics or manipulated to improve them, according to a transcript of his October 13 address published the same day by the company.

He said ALROSA was carrying out research into finding fast and effective ways of detecting synthetics and was supporting initiatives to regulate the trade and increase disclosure about the origin of stones. Amendments to Russian federal legislation, adopted in May 2015, are due to come into force in November requiring that jewelry hold a label stating any processing methods used to improve a stone’s quality, color or value and whether it is natural or synthetic, he said. These would make the trade more transparent, according to Zharkov.

Zharkov’s comments come after the Bharat Diamond Bourse prohibited the trade of synthetic diamonds on its premises earlier in October. Ernie Blom, president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, later said it does not oppose the existence of synthetics in the global market but felt the Indian exchange is free to outlaw them if it wishes.

Strategic Plan Approved

The AGM, hosted by ALROSA on October 12 and 13 in Moscow, involved the election of Andrey Polyakov, vice president of ALROSA and the WDC, as WDC vice president, who will then become president in 2016. A spokesperson for the WDC did not immediately respond to an email from Rapaport News asking whether current president Edward Asscher was to stand down next year.

Members also approved a strategic plan for the coming two years. The agreed program includes co-operating with the Kimberley Process on keeping conflict diamonds out of the market and working on complying with regulatory demands and self-imposed controls. ALROSA said significant attention was paid at the event to improving transparency, responsible business practices and strengthening the diamond industry’s reputation.

Zharkov said in a statement the WDC had “significantly contributed to the development of the international diamond trade and promotion of market transparency. That gives all the participants a unique opportunity to jointly discuss the ways of further development and to find new forms of cooperation, and to form, protect and support [the] reputation of the industry and its products. I'm confident that meaningful dialogue and effective cooperation will enable all of us to secure the bright future of our market.”
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Tags: Alrosa, andrey zharkov, Rapaport News, Synthetics, WDC, World Diamond Council
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