Diamond Hot Buttons
Presidents of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses draft
resolutions on the disclosure of color altered diamonds
Two issues captured the greatest attention at the Presidents'
Meeting of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses in Moscow
in July. Disclosing diamond color alterations, such as GE POL
diamonds, was the most emotional issue and the one that
resulted in a unanimous set of resolutions requiring disclosure
(see "WFDB Resolutions" for the full text).
Members also focused on diamond branding by De Beers. Resolutions
regarding this issue were not as forthcoming. The rift between
De Beers and many diamantaires seems to have widened. "We
are on record as having laid out our objections to De Beers'
branding and downstreaming policies," said Eli Haas, a WFDB
vice president and president of the Diamond Dealers Club of New
York City (see "The Branding Fire,").
While the atmosphere at the meeting was tense because of concerns
about disclosure and branding, cautious optimism was apparent
also, said attendees. For example, the presidents acknowledged
diamond prices have stabilized worldwide and have even increased
because of De Beers' policy of regulating the delicate supply
balance and the price structure. The U.S. was singled out as
the most powerful and influential diamond market, though improving
demand in Asian countries was credited also with helping to shore
Leon and Maurice Tempelsman of Lazare Kaplan International, New
York City, attended the meeting to answer questions about selling
GE POL diamonds through LKI's subsidiary Pegasus Overseas Ltd.
GE POL diamonds are subjected to a secret whitening process.
Leon Tempelsman, LKI president, defended the decision, saying
the diamond business has been insulated from technological advances
that will shape the business in the years to come.
"Technology is a fact of life and there is no turning
back," he said. "The question is how to deal with new
technologies." He argued LKI and Pegasus have done everything
possible to disclose all information about the new process
which was developed by General Electric without revealing
proprietary information (see "Templesman's View," p.
Privately, several dealers mentioned that an unknown and unsubstantiated
procedure to whiten diamonds had been rumored in the trade for
almost a decade. Delegates took the opportunity to discuss all
color changing diamond treatments, including heating and
irradiation. Identification issues were discussed as well.
The next World Diamond Congress will be held July 16 19
in Antwerp, Belgium.
by Robert Weldon,G.G.
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.