DTC Appoints GIA Distributor of DiamondSure and DiamondView

April 19, 2004

DTC Appoints GIA Distributor of DiamondSure and DiamondView

The increasing production of diamond synthetics prompted De Beers' Diamond Trading Co. to make available to the trade its two state-of-the-art synthetic and simulant diamond detection devices, through a new distribution agreement with GIA Instruments U.K., a division of the Gemological Institute of America. DTC made the announcement today at BaselWorld, during a seminar for key members of the trade, in which it was discussing consumer confidence in natural diamonds.

The first device, DiamondSure, is a simple-to-use rapid screening instrument. All stones passed by DiamondSure are guaranteed to be natural diamonds. DiamondView is a significantly more sophisticated instrument. It unambiguously differentiates natural diamond from its imitation and synthetic counterparts, using surface fluorescence and phosphorescence techniques.

Initial production will be largely aimed at gemological laboratories, though all orders will be welcomed and filled as more devices are produced. GIA quoted its prices for the two instruments in British pounds. The DiamondSure will be available for approximately £5,750 (about $10,352), while the DiamondView, a more complex device, will be available for approximately £27,500 (about $49,511).

"We're glad to see the implementation of this important technology for distinguishing synthetics," says James E. Shigley, director of research at GIA. "This has been an ongoing objective for GIA, especially in view of the recent increase in awareness of synthetics, and the heightened interest in their detection, by both the industry and the public."

Shigley says there have been more inquiries from the media about synthetics and the ability to detect them than for any other gem issue in recent months. This is mostly due to a Wired magazine article in Fall 2003 about synthetics such as CVD and HPHT stones, which generated follow-ups in many media outlets.

DTC's announcement about the new GIA distribution agreement came in the midst of a talk concerning consumer confidence at the DTC Basel seminar by Jonathon Pudney, DTC marketing director of brand communications. Pudney stressed consumers value diamonds for the deep, emotional meaning, mystique and unique qualities. "Consumers are committing a huge amount of money to what is perceived to be a difficult purchase that's also infused with emotion," says Pudney. If consumers have to question whether a stone is real, ethically produced or a fair price as well, they may well buy some other luxury product, such as a travel experience or a watch, Pudney says.

The good news, says Pudney, is that recent DTC studies show a majority of consumers trust retailers. In the U.S., for example, 26% of consumers trust retailers highly, while an additional 51% trust retailers somewhat. For this reason, Pudney says the DTC encourages retailers to be sure they can detect all synthetics, simulants and treated diamonds, and develop their own set of Best Practices principles, such as the ones DTC developed for its client sightholders. For more information on best practices, go to "JA Adopts Supplier Code of Conduct".

by Peggy Jo Donahue

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