Signet Jewelers, as part of its effort to support and reinforce its Responsible Sourcing Protocol for Diamonds (D-SRSP), has been working on a project with product-testing firm United Laboratories and the Diamond Producers Association to create a facility for testing synthetic diamond screening equipment, writes Rapaport News.** The intention is to create an industry standard for such equipment so that, "suppliers can confidently say they are only dealing in natural stones." Signet launched its ambitious SRSPD in February 2016 to assure that the millions of diamonds it buys every year come from identified sources. The SRSPD builds on existing diamond industry standards including the Kimberley Process, the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and the OECD’s Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains to have the retailer’s diamond suppliers map their supply chains more thoroughly than ever.
At the time, David Bouffard, Signet’s vice president of corporate affairs explained the intiative addresses the U.S. government’s desire to ensure that consumer goods sold here aren’t tied to human rights abuses, the banking sector’s concerns with transparency in the diamond industry and the younger generations’ desire to know the origin of the products they buy. Testing the screening equipment itself falls in line with this effort. At the start they will use devices from three recognized manufacturers: the International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR), a subsidiary of De Beers; the Gemological Institute of America (GIA); and HRD Antwerp. There are currently around 16 screening products available, with more on the way, and makers of the technology include companies in the U.S., Europe, India and China - and Bouffard indicated that not all of them are as reliable as those of the IIDGR, the GIA and HRD Antwerp.
** Signet is not opening a testing laboratory, contrary to the original Rapaport News report. (correction by Rapaport News)