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October 1999

Diamonds: News

Tempelsman's View

Professional Jeweler interviews Leon Tempelsman, president of Lazare Kaplan International, on his return from the WFDB meeting. Topics include the sale of GE POL– whitened diamonds

Professional Jeweler: Has your company's position regarding disclosure changed as a result of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses' resolutions regarding disclosure?

Tempelsman: We did a lot of research and satisfied ourselves that claims about the irreversibility of the process are true and that the diamonds are all– natural, are fundamentally indistinguishable and require no special care or maintenance. Our commitment to integrity requires us to be up– front and place a mark on the girdle that is readily identifiable. We have always been for disclosure, so I have no problem with the resolutions.

Professional Jeweler: Do you think the same sort of technology used to whiten diamonds may someday be used to identify them gemologically?

Tempelsman: If I were to tell you that, I could walk to the window of a 20– story building, step out and fall upward. GE is convinced the process is irreversible and indistinguishable.

Professional Jeweler: Dealers fear this process could affect the market for certain categories of diamonds.

Tempelsman: I submit that new sources globally will have a much, much bigger impact on the market than this product will. The product comes in broad ranges of color, from D to M primarily, clarities of FL to I1 primarily and 0.33 to over 10 carats. We deal mostly with fancy shapes. As you can see, this broad scope has a tendency to disperse economic impact.

Professional Jeweler: We've heard that asking prices for GE POL diamonds have fallen. This raises the fear lower prices will be an incentive for the unscrupulous to polish off the identifying inscriptions. Do you stand by your commitment to sell the diamonds at prices normally asked for non– processed diamonds of corresponding color?

Tempelsman: The market tells you what the price is. Our policy is not to discount one penny more than necessary. So far we have been pleased with the reception. But we are also looking at other steps, such as specific packaging and marketing. Here is a high– tech product for people who are "'techies." There's an argument we could even sell these diamonds for premiums.
Professional Jeweler: How big is the GE POL diamond business?

Tempelsman: We started selling in June and so there's hardly a meaningful database. In relation to an $11 billion global polished wholesale diamond market and a $48 billion retail diamond market, the percentage we are talking about is pretty insignificant.

by Robert Weldon, G.G.


WFDB Resolutions
The Presidents' Meeting of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses passed these resolutions:

  1. If a diamond has been treated or processed to alter or enhance its color, other than by generally accepted procedures of cutting and polishing, this fact must be disclosed in writing when a such a diamond is offered for sale or submitted for certification.
  2. The removal of a lasered inscription that identifies a diamond as having been treated or processed as above shall be considered a deceptive practice.
  3. Any violation of article 1 or 2 above shall be regarded as fraudulent and shall be referred to the applicable bourse for disciplinary action and shall be the grounds for suspension, expulsion, fine or such other disciplinary measure as the bourse deems fit.
  4. If such treated or processed diamond is sold without disclosure in breach of the above rules, even in good faith, the buyer shall be entitled to cancel the sale, return the diamond and obtain a refund of the purchase price.

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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