Previous articles in this series have explained why full supply-chain transparency is critical for the gem industry in the age of lab-grown diamonds. This final installment is intended to detail how such an initiative could be carried out.
Since lab-created diamonds are chemical clones of their mined counterparts, the solution needs to be one of tracking and authentication that takes place at every step of the process.
“It is vital that man-made diamonds are properly identified and accurately represented to the jewelry-buying public,” says Bill Boyajian, graduate gemologist, former president of GIA, and founder and CEO of Bill Boyajian & Associates Inc.
According to Boyajian, some diamond-industry businesses are proactively seeking solutions that build on industry best practices for supply-chain transparency. “Leading members of the diamond and jewelry trade have developed elaborate systems to clearly identify their gems and jewelry and to safeguard the public’s trust in their products,” he says.
What some industry leaders have done is adopted rigorous authentication procedures in the same spirit as the Kimberley Process. For instance, since Gabriel & Co. ensures that all of the diamonds in its pieces are Kimberley Process–compliant, its experience with that method has led the company to develop a parallel authentication protocol to verify that its natural diamonds all are sourced and tracked in a way that gives a buyer complete visibility.
After undergoing an initial quality screening, diamonds can be lab-tested to determine that they are natural, then marked with individual serial numbers (invisible to the naked eye) that allows a stone to be tracked and individually documented.
As a result, any future seller or owner has the ability to trace a stone’s history and provenance, ultimately providing value-added reassurance to fine jewelry customers that their diamond investment is accurately and authentically represented.