Antwerp Takes Lead in Combatting Undisclosed Synthetic Diamonds

29/09/2016 18:07

This afternoon, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) hosted a forum organized by the Federation of Belgian Diamond Bourses (FBDB) to tackle the issue of undisclosed synthetic diamonds and address the legal and technical aspects concerning the disclosure of synthetic and treated natural diamonds. The forum took place in the framework of Antwerp's push to take a leadership role in enforcing the World Federation of Diamond Bourses' Charter "On Disclosure of synthetic, treated natural and natural diamonds.” Among others, the charter obliges traders to print statements on their invoices providing a proper description and declaration attesting to the nature of the diamonds sold: namely, that all the goods sold are guaranteed to be natural and also untreated. The four Antwerp Diamond bourses will be among the first to actively enforce the guidelines.

During the session, AWDC CEO Ari Epstein announced that – in collaboration with the Federation – HRD Antwerp’s M-Screen, a melee-screening device, would be made available at the Antwerp bourses for members to screen their goods free of charge. In addition, HRD Antwerp and the WTOCD scientific research center announced the M-Screen Plus. This updated version of the compact automated melee screening device will be able to screen polished diamonds as small as 0.5 points up to 20 points, with an increased top speed of 15,000 diamonds an hour.

Willy Rotti, President of the Federation of Belgian Diamond Bourses: “We have always made consumer protection our highest priority. The threat of undisclosed synthetics that end up in the diamond trade is an issue we address with the utmost diligence. Product misrepresentation such as undisclosed synthetics can greatly damage our reputation as an industry towards our clients, retailers and consumers. We believe it is our responsibility as the world’s largest diamond trading hub, representing well over 1,700 diamond companies, to lead by example and send a clear signal.”

Ari Epstein, CEO of the AWDC, said that, “Over the past decades, Antwerp has been a pioneer for increasing transparency, building confidence and promoting innovation in the global diamond industry. By making the M-screen available to the Antwerp diamond community, we are taking another big step forward in our commitment to a sustainable diamond industry.” 

The first of the speakers, Dirk Berckmans, articulated the legal guidelines of the charter and the duties of members of Antwerp's four diamond bourses, and clarified the intentions of the charter to protect consumers, safeguard confidence and the obligation of disclosure. The info session also featured presentations on the technical aspects of synthetic diamonds as well as the latest developments in detection methods and equipment by HRD Antwerp experts Dr. Katrien De Corte and Ans Anthonis, GIA’s Director of Research and Development Wuyi Wang, and Jamie Clark, Commercial Director at De Beers. The World Federation of Diamond Bourses was established in 1947 in Antwerp and currently has 28 members from 22 countries.