October 22, 2004
Consumer Confidence Focus of World Diamond Congress
The World Diamond Congress mounted a concerted effort to defend the position of the natural diamond in the marketplace. Members view recent advances in the manufacture and marketing of synthetic diamonds, as well as the propagation of new diamond treatments, as a threat to their interests, particularly pertaining a potential future erosion of consumer confidence. "We see it as an issue of consumer confidence, a critical one that we have addressed [through resolutions] in the days that we have been together in New York City," says Schmuel Schnitzer, re-elected president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses. Members of the World Diamond Congress include WFDB members and members of the International Diamond Manufacturers Association.
The resolutions pertaining to consumer confidence include:
To cooperate fully with any internationally recognized trade associations and companies to formulate a common standard of disclosure and nomenclature for synthetic diamonds.
To call upon all laboratories to refrain from issuing grading reports for synthetic diamonds.
To call upon all laboratories to issue certificates that link high-pressure/ high-temperature treatments in diamonds to their color to underscore that HPHT-achieved diamond color is not natural. It was suggested that labs remove color descriptions from the space reserved to describe diamond color and to place the color description under the space for comments at the bottom of the certificates, next to HPHT comments. Furthermore it was recommended that laboratories use different color paper for HPHT certification to further differentiate them from certificates for untreated diamonds.
Conflict diamond issues flared up on the second and third day of the World Diamond Congress, when invited NGOs from Amnesty International and Global Witness called for increased monitoring and auditing at the level of the diamond bourses. However, Schnitzer and Jeffrey Fischer, IDMA's newly elected president, said the Kimberley Process was working as intended. "Our 23 affiliated bourses have agreed there is no problem implementing the Kimberley Process. All members are fully able to comply with the Process," Schnitzer said. "It is impossible, simply impossible, for conflict diamonds to sneak through."
"We see conflict in Africa down, and as such the Kimberley Process has largely accomplished its goal," Fischer said.
WFDB and IDMA announced the following joint resolution regarding conflict diamonds:
"Consistent with the undertakings expressed by the World Diamond Council at the Kimberley Process Plenary meeting in October 2001 in Luanda, Angola, the Joint Resolution of IDMA and WFDB passed at the World Diamond Congress in London in October 2002, and consistent with previously enacted individual resolutions adopted by all member organizations of the WFDB and IDMA, it is hereby resolved that WFDB and IDMA strenuously urge its members to continue to fully enact and implement the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and its supporting system of warranties."
Other reslutions included a committment to continued discussions with JCK Shows regarding diamond shows at selected venues in New York City and around the globe.
The forthcoming Presidents Meeting will take place in Mumbai, India, in 2005, and the Presidents Meeting in 2007 will take place in Amsterdam, Holland. The venue of the 32nd World Diamond Congress in 2006 will be decided on by the WFDB president and will be announced at a later date.
by Robert Weldon, G.G.