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Signet, DPA Setting Synthetics Detection Criteria

Apr 6, 2017 3:09 AM   By Joshua Freedman
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Signet Jewelers is working with the Diamond Producers Association (DPA) and product-testing firm UL on an initiative to establish quality criteria for equipment that detects synthetics, the jeweler said.

The project with UL, formerly Underwriters Laboratories – and not United Laboratories as Rapaport News previously reported in its March 26 article – aims to establish criteria for identifying screening equipment for lab-grown diamonds. That's in addition to the machines currently available from HRD Antwerp, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and De Beers grading subsidiary the International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR). Signet is not opening a testing laboratory, contrary to the original Rapaport News report.

The DPA, which oversees generic marketing for the diamond industry, said earlier this year it was working toward creating an independent testing facility to assess the broad range of synthetic-diamond detectors on the market. There are about 16 products available, with more industry players planning market entries. Makers of the technology include companies in the US, Europe, India and China, while Russia-based miner Alrosa also plans to put out a product this year.

“Technology is coming from lots of companies and countries,” said David Bouffard, Signet’s vice president of corporate affairs, pointing out that some regions’ machines were not as reliable as those of the IIDGR, the GIA and HRD.

“The concern is ensuring suppliers are working with technology that actually works and detects natural diamonds,” Bouffard told Rapaport News on the sidelines of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council’s “Mines to Market” conference in Mumbai last month.

UL, headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois, tests a range of consumer products based on criteria such as safety, compliance and sustainability. Its jewelry and watch division offers diamond and jewelry verification programs, as well as other quality-assurance and traceability programs.

Signet unveiled its responsible diamond-sourcing protocol in February 2016 to improve transparency in its supply chain. The retailer, which already had a similar sourcing practice for gold, plans to extend the procedures to cover silver jewelry this year and colored gemstones by the end of 2020, Bouffard said.
Tags: david bouffard, De Beers, Diamond Producers Association, Dpa, Gemological Institute of America, GIA, HRD Antwerp, IIDGR, International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research, Joshua Freedman, Signet, Signet Jewelers, Synthetics, synthetics detectors, UL, Underwriters Laboratories
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