Labs Near Consensus on HPHT Nomenclature


November 26, 2003

Labs Near Consensus on HPHT Nomenclature

Gemological labs around the world are a few steps closer towards establishing similar nomenclature to describe high-pressure/high-temperature treated diamonds. This follows a meeting of The World Federation of Diamond Bourses Committee on Consumer Confidence, which convened Nov. 25 at the Diamond Dealer's Club, New York City. DDC president Jacob Banda, who chaired the meeting, brought together several gemological laboratories from around the world to discuss the issue of HPHT nomenclature with the diamond dealers.

WFDB's principal concern is that consumers reading a lab's diamond reports concerning HPHT may not fully understand the product or the value they are buying, particularly when compared to diamonds of natural color. Also, WFDB says the nomenclature used in laboratory reports can often be confusing, since the language used to describe HPHT can vary widely from lab to lab around the world. This, it says, will not increase consumer confidence.

Lab representatives described their labs' various identification procedures regarding HPHT treated diamonds. They agreed identification of HPHT treated Type IIa diamonds was almost always possible but noted that, in very rare instances, it couldn't be determined. Some labs said they didn't issue certificates for those diamonds, while other indicated a statement was added noting origin of color could not be determined.

The meeting, however, concentrated on the vast majority of diamonds in which HPHT treatments could be identified. The laboratories proposed describing diamond color grades resulting from HPHT in one of the following three ways:

* [color grade] color, modified by HPHT*
* [color grade] color, altered by HPHT*
* [color grade] color, changed by HPHT*

An asterisk explanation will include a description of the meaning of HPHT, clearly noted on the report.

Further, it was agreed that all HPHT stones graded by the labs will be laser inscribed with "HPHT" [along the diamond's girdle edge].

The meeting ended with an agreement by the labs to take proposed nomenclature and ideas back to their respective boards for approval.

An invited speaker at the meeting was Rory More O'Ferrall, a representative of the De Beers' Diamond Trading Company. He asked for a unified view on the issue of HPHT and synthetic diamonds before the meeting of the World Diamond Congress in New York City in 2004. A committee to discuss synthetics nomenclature will be convened in the next weeks.

Other attendees and the labs and diamond organizations they represented included: Peter Borgmans and Ann Peeters of the Diamond High Council (HRD) Laboratory, Antwerp, Belgium; Leon Cohen of Diamond Manufacturers and Importers Association of America; Jerry Ehrenwald and Marc Brauner of the International Gemological Institute; Jeffrey Fischer of International Diamond Manufacturers Association; Mark Gershburg and Sharrie Woodring of EGL USA; Martin Hochbaum of DDC; Harry Levy of the London Diamond Bourse and Club; David Marcus of the Diamond Dealers Club, West Coast; Tom Moses and Matt Hall of the Gemological Institute of America; Meir Wertheim of the Israel Diamond Exchange; and Peter Yantzer of the American Gem Society Laboratory.

by Robert Weldon, G.G.

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