CIBJO Won't Bow to FTC Diamond Definition

By Joshua Freedman / October 11, 2018 / / Article Link

RAPAPORT...The World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO) is likely tokeep the word "natural" in its definition of diamonds for the time being,according to the organization's president.The Switzerland-based group will probably not amend theentry in its Blue Book before the next scheduled review in two years, GaetanoCavalieri told Rapaport News ahead of the upcoming CIBJO Congress inColombia. That's despite a decision by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) inJuly to remove "natural" from its own definition of the mineral, putting it atodds with CIBJO's policy.Soon after the FTC changes, Cavalieri said CIBJO may needto amend the Blue Book, and that its diamond commission would discuss thematter at the Bogot conference, which begins Monday. However, while thosetalks will still take place, people involved are wary about rewriting a"carefully formulated" definition in reaction to regulatory changes in onecountry, Cavalieri noted this week.The synthetics industry viewed the FTC changes as avictory, though the altered definition itself had little practical impact, ascompanies must still declare if diamonds they sell are laboratory-grown. "It became apparent that the degree to which there wasany change in the way that the FTC recommends lab-grown and natural goods bedescribed was, if anything, mainly in tone, rather than substance," he said. CIBJO's Blue Books are influential, partly because the InternationalOrganization for Standardization (ISO) used them as the basis for itsjewelry-and-precious-metals standard in 2015. Delegates at the 2017 CIBJO congressdecided that the publications - which cover a range of jewelry materials -should only undergo revisions every three years, barring a major, unexpecteddevelopment. That's because every change requires significant follow-up worksuch as translations into other languages, Cavalieri noted. The FTC updates werenot enough to warrant breaking that cycle. "Rightnow, unless something out of the ordinary happens, a revised version of [the] diamondBlue Book will not be ratified until 2020," Cavalieri said. "In the interim, however, we willcontinue to debate amendments to the Blue Book as we always have done." The FTC guidelines will also be on the agenda at the WorldDiamond Congress in Mumbai later this month - the first time heads of globalexchanges have met since the new rules came out, said Ernie Blom, president ofthe World Federation of Diamond Bourses, which organizes the event. "We have definitely seen many developments this year, andin light of the issues facing the global diamond trade, we will be discussing awide range of important issues," he added.Image: A worker inspects a stone at the Gassan diamond factory in Amsterdam. (Mattxfoto/Shutterstock)