The Board of Directors of CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, has released a Laboratory-Grown Diamond Guidance document for review by officers and members of affiliated national associations and representatives of commercial members. This is the final stage in a more than two-year process to create a harmonised set of operating standards and principles for the laboratory-grown diamond sector.
Intended to assist all professionals handling laboratory-grown diamonds, the primary purpose of the guidance document is to protect and enhance consumer confidence. It was compiled by a committee of representatives from both the laboratory-grown diamond sector and the natural diamond sector.
A key principle of the Laboratory-Grown Diamond Guidance is that, to ensure confidence, consumers must receive complete and unambiguous information about what they are buying, so that they can make consciously informed purchasing decisions. This requires clear and accurate information that the diamonds were created industrially, and not through geological processes, as is the case with natural diamonds.
The laboratory-grown diamond sector and natural diamond sector operate according to different business models, with the relationship between colour, clarity and weight, on the one side, and rarity on the other, which exists with natural diamonds, not relevant with laboratory-grown diamonds, where colour, clarity and weight are subject to the control of the laboratory-grown diamond manufacturer. Rarity is a critical factor in setting the price of a natural diamond, and in deciding its long-term value trajectory.
Divided into various sections, the guidance document outlines clear principles for describing laboratory-grown diamonds, and well as due diligence measures that should be followed by companies handling such merchandise and events at which they are displayed, like trade shows. It furthermore recommends the manner in which loose laboratory-grown diamonds or jewellery set with laboratory-grown diamonds should be disclosed on sales invoices and consignment documents. The document also addresses the subject of laboratory-grown diamond detection technology.
A key section of the document relates to the services provided by gem labs to the laboratory-grown diamond sector. It contends that the confidence of consumers will be served by their receiving an accurate and objective report of the characteristics of the laboratory-grown stone that they are buying, but, since these are unrelated to rarity, care should be taken that the report itself does not infer a similarity between a laboratory-grown diamond and a natural diamond. The report, therefore, is referred to a “Laboratory-Grown Diamond Product Specification,” and not a grading report.
Since a manufactured product is involved, the guidance document recommends that Laboratory-Grown Diamond Product Specification reports include other information that is not provided on standard natural diamond grading reports. This includes the name of the manufacturer, the production batch, the country of manUfacture, the method of manufacture (HPHT or CVD), and information about treatments and processes to which the stone was subject after its original manufacture.
The guidance document recommends that, if the 4Cs are used by a laboratory to describe the physical characteristics of laboratory-grown diamonds, the letters “LG” should be placed as a prefix before the 2Cs of colour and clarity. Certain countries require that OIML/Legal Units of Measurement be used to describe the weight of laboratory-grown diamonds, and here the guidance document recommends that the report notes both the stone’s standard carat weight and its weight in grams.
Only officers and members of CIBJO-affiliated national associations and representatives of CIBJO commercial members are eligible to download and review the Laboratory-Grown Diamond Guidance. Therefore, the document is password protected. To obtain the password, please the contact the association to which you are connected, or the commercial member that you represent. A full list of of CIBJO national associations and commercial members is available via the following link: http://www.cibjo.org/national-organizations/
Comments about the reviewed document should be sent by email to the CIBJO Secretariat at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submitted comments must include the name of the person submitting them, and the name of the CIBJO national association member or the CIBJO commercial member to which they belong or they represent.
All comments should be submitted no later than Monday, November 1, 2020.
CIBJO releases Laboratory-Grown Diamond Guidance for review by members of affiliated organisations and companies worldwideSteven Benson2020-10-13T07:29:40+00:00
CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, has described as ground-breaking the publication by the International Standards Organisation of ISO 24016, the first-ever standard approved by the body that specifies the terminology, classification and the methods to be used for the grading and description of single unmounted polished diamonds.
“This is a historic moment for our industry,” said CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri, “for it is the first time than a strictly defined diamond grading system has been ratified by the world’s leading standards body, formally recognizing principles and terminology that to date have not been approved by any impartial and international authority. ISO 24016 essentially parallels the CIBJO Diamond Blue Book, meaning that our widely-accepted standard is now effectively validated by ISO.”
“The aim of a standard for grading unmounted polished diamonds is to set rules for determining with maximum precision and accuracy the mass, colour, clarity and cut of individual polished diamonds,” ISO 24016 notes in its introduction. “On one hand, based on these four criteria – also known as ‘the 4Cs’ – the diamond trade evaluates the value of diamonds. On the other hand, some diamond grading reports may be issued based on different standards by different laboratories, potentially leading to different results for the same individual diamond. This situation damages the reputation of the whole diamond trade. Hence, the need for a unique ISO standard for grading polished diamonds.”
ISO 24016 applies to natural, unmounted, polished diamonds of more than 0.25 carats. It is a comprehensive technical document, 55 pages in length, providing detailed information with tables and figures. It expressly does not apply to fancy coloured diamonds, synthetic (laboratory-grown) diamonds, diamonds treated by methods other than laser drilling, nor to assembled stones.
It is the second standard issued by the International Standards Organisation dealing specifically with diamonds. ISO 18323, which was released in 2015, defined specific nomenclature for natural diamonds, synthetic diamonds and diamond simulants. It was reconfirmed last week after a five-year systematic review process.
Headquartered in Geneva, ISO is an independent, non-governmental international organisation, to which are are affiliated 165 national standards bodies. It operates 333 Technical Committees covering 253 sectors, among them food and agriculture, energy, health, mechanical engineering, communications, and more, bringing together experts that share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market-relevant international standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges. To date, more than 23,000 ISO standards have been issued. Issues in ISO related to jewellery and precious metals are handled by Technical Committee 174, chaired by Dr. Jonathan Jodry, which has participants and observers from 40 countries and is responsible for more than 25 international standards.
The process of developing a new standard for diamond grading began two years ago at the request of Schweizerische Normen-Vereinigung (SNV), the Swiss Association for Standardisation. The initial stage of preparing a draft document was accelerated in 2018, when CIBJO granted ISO permission to use its own Publicly Available Specification PAS 1048, based on the CIBJO Diamond Blue Book, as a basis for drafting the new ISO standard. Jean-Pierre Chalain, Vice President of CIBJO’s Diamond Commission, was designated as the convenor of TC174 Working Group 2, to oversee the project.
The process of deliberation and review took about two years to complete, and was managed thanks to the dedication of a team of internationally renowned diamond experts from 10 different countries. After consensus among the technical specialists was reached, the draft was shared with all ISO National Members from the Technical Committee for further comments, and then a final draft was sent to all ISO TC members for ratification.
“This a massive achievement for the diamond industry, and it was achieved through hundreds of hours of hard work, and a painstaking international vetting process,” said Udi Sheintal, President of CIBJO’s Diamond Commission. “Now, for the first time, we can say without equivocation that a entire gemstone category, namely diamonds, has been fully addressed by the International Standards Organisation, which through ISO 24016 and ISO 18323 comprehensively provides an accurate definition of diamonds, and the ways in which they are described and graded. Furthermore, with both standards being so closely associated with the CIBJO Diamond Blue Book, we can take great pride in our processes and professionalism.”
“There is no doubt in my mind that these two international ISO standards, together with the CIBJO Diamond Blue Book, will help boost consumer confidence,” Mr. Sheintal said. “The timing is particularly relevant, especially now when clear distinctions must be made between laboratory-grown diamonds and natural diamonds.
Mr. Chalain stressed that major asset of the standard ISO 24016 is that will be regularly subject to a systematic review process, to ensure that it remains relevant to the needs of the diamond trade. He thanked all the various participants in two-year process, and in particular CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri, CIBJO Diamond Commission President Udi Sheintal, Rudi Biehler, ISO TC 174 Chair Jonathan Jodry, ISO TC 174 Secretary Petra Bischoff, and Patrick Lötscher, Secretary of ISO TC 174 Working Group 2.
ABOVE: Alessandro Ferracino (right), Regional Director of Italy & France Intertek, describing the CIBJO/WJCEF and Intertek to train and certify CSR, sustainability and SDG professionals for the jewellery and gemstone industry, during the VOICE VicenzaOro trade event in Vicenza, Italy, on September 12, 2020. He joined on the podium by Maria Francesca Bergamaschi (left), Intertek Italy’s South Europe Sustainability Manager and Global Manager for the company’s programme with the Responsible Jewellery Council; and Raul Sapora, Intertek Italy’s gemmologist.
SEPTEMBER 17, 2020
CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, and Intertek Italia SpA, the Italian subsidiary of the Intertek Group, a multinational assurance, inspection, product-testing and certification company that assists companies ensure that their operating procedures and products meet quality, health, environmental, safety, and social accountability standards, have announced a joint initiative to educate, train and certify CSR, sustainability and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) compliance officers, specifically for the gemstone and jewellery industries. It will be the first dedicated programme of its sort worldwide.
The announcement was made on September 12, 2020, during the opening day of the VOICE VicenzaOro trade event in Vicenza, Italy, by CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri, who was joined on the main stage by Alessandro Ferracino, Regional Director of Italy & France Intertek; Maria Francesca Bergamaschi, Intertek Italy’s South Europe Sustainability Manager and Global Manager for the company’s programme with the Responsible Jewellery Council; and Raul Sapora, Intertek Italy’s gemmologist.
Speaking to the gathering, which was simultaneously streamed worldwide, Mr. Ferracino explained that a three-track programme is being planned, beginning with the defining of professional qualification standards for several levels of jewellery industry CSR/sustainability/SDG compliance officers, specifying what each requires in terms of educational background, standards proficiency and work experience. The different officers would include Sustainability Managers, CSR Managers, Sustainability & CSR Auditors, SDG Action Managers and SDGs Users. The positions and their respective qualifications would first be approved by UNI, Italy’s national standardization authority, and that would lead to internationally recognized accreditation.
The second step will involve the creation by CIBJO’s educational arm, the World Jewellery Confederation Education Foundation (WJCEF), of the International Council for Sustainable Business (ICSB), which will be an academy providing educational programmes that provide prospective compliance officers with the knowledge and skills necessary. Potential candidates for the courses provided through ICSB would be employees of companies operating in the jewellery and gemstone industries, or individuals seeking employment as compliance officers in the sector.
The third step, which will be carried out by Intertek, will be the certification of persons for the various levels of compliance officers, according to an internationally recognized accreditation process. Certification will ascertain that the CSR, sustainability and SDG compliance officers have achieved the necessary competences, knowledge and skills required for their assigned tasks.
CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri speaking during the session in Vicenza on September 12, 2020, at which the CIBJO/WJCEF agreement with Intertek was announced.
There are already a range of a CSR, sustainability and SDG standards being applied in our industry, and not only is the number likely to increase, but so are the demands that companies must comply with them in order to gain access to both suppliers and customers,” said Dr. Cavalieri. “But the process can be confusing, and as a result there is a growing need for professional compliance officers, who also are familiar with the specific requirements of our industry, such as the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, the World Diamond Council System of Warranties, the Responsible Jewellery Council Code of Practice, the Dodd-Frank Act, the European Conflict Minerals legislation and the OECD conflict minerals guidance, not to mention compliance systems required by private companies.”
“The goal of this programme is to create a class of internationally recognized jewellery industry CSR, sustainability and SDG professionals, who will help companies become compliant,” Dr. Cavalieri continued. “There clearly is a gap in the industry’s skill set, and together with Intertek, CIBJO and WJCEF seek to fill it.”
CIBJO and Intertek announce first-ever programme to educate and certify CSR, sustainability and SDG officers for the jewellery industrySteven Benson2020-09-17T08:22:51+00:00