IDMA calls on grading labs to implement recent disclosure recommendations

In a letter sent to the heads of diamond grading labs around the world, Jeffrey Fischer, the president of the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA), has called on the gemological community to implement a series of recommendations made by the IDMA General Assembly at the recent World Diamond Congress in New York, all of which were aimed at facilitating the full and unambiguous disclosure of diamond treatments.

“During the congress in New York, IDMA’s General Assembly noted that a failure to disclose to consumers clear, full and unambiguous information about treatments, which diamonds have been subject to, could lead to a serious erosion of consumer confidence,” Fischer wrote. “We know that you, as members of the sector providing gemological services to our industry, share these concerns.”

Specifically, IDMA has made three recommendations to the grading labs. These are:

* Grading reports for all HPHT treated diamonds should be issued in a jacket-cover that is printed in a color that is distinctively different to the color used on the jacket-cover of the grading reports produced by the lab for untreated, natural diamonds. In this way, every reader of the report, and most importantly the jewelry consumers, will be able at first glance to recognize that the diamond has been treated.

* In the case of a grading report being issued for HPHT-treated diamonds, the section of the report referring to the “color” or “color grade” of the diamond should contain the wording “HPHT-TREATED*”—in capital letters, followed by an asterisk. (Alternative and unambiguous words that can be used to describe HPHT treatments are the more neutral words “HPHT-altered” or “HPHT-changed.”) Furthermore, IDMA urged that the description of the altered “color” or “color grade” be moved to the comments section at the bottom of the report, and that they be placed adjacent to the explanation that the color of the diamond has been altered by “HIGH PRESSURE, HIGH TEMPERATURE TREATMENT.”

* IDMA recommends that all professional diamond grading laboratories join together in formulating and implementing a basic accreditation process for diamond grading laboratories. The purpose of this effort will be to establish a minimal standard for accreditation, and is in no way to interfere with the private policies or procedures of each independent lab. In IDMA’s opinion, this minimal standard should include a condition that an accredited grading laboratory possess and maintain the appropriate equipment for detecting all diamond treatments, including distinguishing natural diamonds from synthetic diamonds, and that its staff is fully competent and properly trained to operate such equipment effectively.

“We cannot begin to stress the depth of our concerns about the potential threat to consumer confidence from the sale of undisclosed and undetected treated and/or synthetic diamonds. Your role in safeguarding the integrity of our product is crucial, particularly as the grading of diamonds becomes an increasingly complex and challenging task. We must all proceed with great vigilance,” Fischer wrote. We urge you to give careful consideration to IDMA’s recommendations and suggestions with a view toward implementing them in the future.”