ABOVE: Diamond Commission Vice President Jean-Pierre Chalain (right), together with Stephane Fischler, President of the World Diamond Council.
October 16, 2018
Meeting on the second day of the 2018 CIBJO Congress, the Diamond Commission conducted a lengthy discussion regarding changes to the recently revised Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries issued by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in July.
Commission Vice President Jean-Pierre Chalain, who chaired the meeting in the absence of the Diamond Commission President Udi Sheintal, provided an overview of the changes that the FTC published in terms of nomenclature, which industry groups believe were skewed in favour of the synthetic diamond trade. Despite this, the commission did not feel there was any necessity at this stage to amend the Diamond Blue Book.
Mr. Chalain read out comments from Diamond Commission Vice President Harry Levy who suggested the use of the term “man-made” as the clearest way of describing diamonds that were not mined.
WFDB President Ernie Blom said that a decision should be made on CIBJO’s stance regarding the FTC latest guides, and whether it will continue to cooperate with other industry groups to continue their lobbying efforts to amend the new FTC’s guide, which is being coordinated by Diamond Producers Association.
Sarah Yood, Legal Counsel for the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, pointed out that the FTC has obligations under the U.S. Constitution to ensure free speech.
The Diamond Commission then went to discuss the Diamond Terminology Guidelines published by nine trade organizations in February of 2018. Mr Chalain said the Diamond Commission cooperated in the creation of the guideline, which is based on the CIBJO Blue Book on diamonds and the ISO standard. As such, it clarifies in a very simple language diamond terminology, which will enhance consumer confidence in the diamond trade. It was published ahead of the FTC changes in February and the trade organizations are encouraged to use it and provide to their members and trade.
In August, following the FTC revised guide were released, the Diamond Commission was also asked to assist in drafting new Diamond Terminology Guidelines for the U.S. market. This was done, together with DPA and AWDC, but the commission has no information on how it will be promoted in the United States.
This document, he said, was aimed at making sure that the industry understands that the US-FTC adopted a position that is not in line with international industry organisations.
WFDB President Blom said that Gaetano Cavalieri suggested that the industry reaches out to the synthetic diamond producers to find a way forward. There is a problem with synthetic producers who are piggybacking on the diamond trade to promote their products, he said, by using misleading and unaccepted terms for diamonds, as well as criticising the way we produce diamonds and forgetting all the good work that diamonds do by providing a livelihood for miners across Africa. Industry bodies need to do more to combat their negativity and that is why the guideline is important, Mr. Blom commented. In this regard, the new campaign of DPA was presented by the commission.
There was also a mention of the MoU signed by CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri and Stephane Fischler, on behalf of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, with the Gokhran, Russia’s depository for jewellery, precious metals and minerals, to create a nomenclature based on the CIBJO Diamond Book, for a national standard for the Russian Federation.
The Commission also heard an update regarding a CIBJO initiative proposed at the 2017 Congress for the introduction of an 8-digit HS customs code specific to synthetic diamonds. National organisations have been asked to lobby their national customs bodies to include the HS codes in order to differentiate between synthetic diamonds, synthetic stones and natural diamonds. This will enable the diamond sector to monitor the growing trade in synthetic diamonds and help to prevent the circumvention of customs procedures.
World Diamond Council President Stephane Fischler commented that the Kimberley Process has tabled a proposal on the same issue, because of the risk of rough synthetics entering the pipeline. The Kimberley Process has also approached the World Customs Organization (WCO) on the issue.
Mr Fischler proposed that the KP and CIBJO coordinate their efforts on the issue.