India’s gem & jewellery sector has increased its vigil over menace of illicit diamonds. It seems the Indian diamond trade bodies have taken the issue of illicit or fake (lab made) diamonds very seriously.
Four major trade bodies viz. Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB), Mumbai Diamond Merchants’ Association (MDMA) and All India Gem & Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF), which represents retailers, have joined hands to curb the ever-spreading plague of illicit or fake diamonds.
The above-mentioned four major organizations of the Indian gem and jewellery industry have recently set up a wide-based committee tasked to “uproot the grown-up tree” of undisclosed illicit diamonds. The committee which is formed to develop a common strategy among all stakeholders has been empowered to act as a watchdog and take stern action against those knowingly circulating undisclosed lab-made diamonds. Mr. Ashish Mehta of reputed firm Kantilal Chhotalal has been elected as Convener of the committee.
Mr. Rajiv Jain, Chairman of the GJEPC had earlier clarified the Council's stand saying, "The Council has always maintained a zero tolerance level on any such malpractices. Our structure is such that we cannot tolerate any misuse of the reputation of the diamond trade. Along with the established diamond laboratories the Council will always work towards protecting the trade and consumer confidence."
Mr. Sanjay Kothari, Vice Chairman of the GJEPC explains, “The factual reporting of any violation of norms would be at the member trade body’s level. These trade bodies would now encourage members to report such violations and they would bring them to the committee's knowledge. The committee would then initiate the appropriate action through the association.”
Mr. Kothari further says, “The committee would circulate letters through its member-associations asking them to bring any violation of norms to the committee’s notice. This way we can assure that there is an effective system to be sure that any violation of norms would be reported and dealt with harshly.”
The committee has also taken necessary care to keep technical expertise is on hand. “That’s the reason we taken the leading laboratories on board of this committee,” Mr. Kothari says.
The vital question that arises now is how many carats of these illicit synthetic diamonds must have been circulated into the market as authentic diamonds? Market experts say that fake diamonds of billions of dollars have been sold into the global market since 1990. They are also being used as collateral to back international investment funds.
According to statistics made available by a Global research say about 500-million carats of synthetic diamonds are being sold each year globally since 1990.
Diamond and gem forensic laboratories DiaLab in South Africa, has recently developed a new technology which claims to be 99.99 per cent accurate at detecting lab-made synthetic diamonds that were potentially sold as authentic natural diamonds to the world-investors and into the global retail diamond markets. The sources of the lab say that it tested as many as 1,500 diamonds from the Western Cape market and revealed that up to 20 per cent of the diamonds in circulation were synthetic, or they were processed to enhance their appearance.
The global diamond industry should treat this as a red alert and take drastic action against the wrong doers as the figures mentioned above may be just tip of an ice-berg. India’s diamond sector has raised its antenna by constituting a committee to keep a vigil over fast spreading menace of illicit lab-made diamonds. Rest of the world should follow the example.