Consumers expect their diamonds to be a manifestation of true love and not a result of bloodshed and violence. Yet, the only initiative to counter the issue of conflict diamonds – Kimberly Process (KP) has failed miserably. Instead of overhauling this initiative or developing a new one to arrest the flow of Blood diamonds in the supply chain, many industry agencies are coming up with bizarre schemes to supposedly tackle the industry’s woes.
Besides, there have been cases of diamond surface fracture fillings. These fracture-filled diamonds are of much lesser value than regular diamonds but are sold undisclosed to the consumers (without mentioning the fact on Invoices), which emphasizes the importance of full disclosure.
Only an exhaustive disclosure agenda can bear fruitful outcomes. But various industry stakeholders are focusing only on Lab-grown diamonds. Differentiation and disclosure of Lab-grown diamonds is necessary but the same applies to Mined diamonds as well. If Lab-grown diamonds should be specifically called so, then there ought to be no reason why Mined diamonds should be called only ‘diamonds’ and not specifically ‘mined diamonds’ or ‘natural diamonds’. Treating a segment incongruously will only add more confusion among the consumers and defeat the purpose of disclosure at the first step itself.
ALROSA recently announced its plan of mandatory marking for Lab-grown diamonds, which again does not solve any purpose as it tries to address only one minor segment without forming similar plan for the major segment – mined diamonds.
Additionally, there have been numerous efforts by individual agencies with regard to diamonds disclosure including the World Diamond Mark, apart from the grading certifications, which can differ from lab to lab (leave aside the problems with certifications). But these measures are happening in silos and there is no unified approach being formulated.
The diamond industry is a complex pipeline of various stakeholders and lately it has been changing and evolving. In such a scenario, individual efforts are less efficacious.
If the industry is serious about addressing the challenges that lie ahead, then a more comprehensive and integrated solution is required. Addressing only a small section like Lab-grown diamonds won’t help and an exhaustive and uniform disclosure program covering all diamonds including mined ones is the key. Diamond Source Warranty Protocol was a step in that direction but it was opposed and rejected by the industry.
For any disclosure program to be successful, a complete traceability of all diamonds right from the retailer’s shelves through the entire pipeline and up to the mine (or lab in case of Lab-growns) in a transparent manner is essential. As happens in the case of Canadian diamonds, all diamonds should be laser-inscribed to back track their source, entities that mined, produced, manufactured and processed them and in what conditions.
Conflict-free and ethical sourcing is what today’s contemporary consumers want but companies are proclaiming these keywords without actually implementing them. Forming a unified, uniform and comprehensive policy will enable the consumers to make an informed purchasing decision, do away with confusions and deal with concerns of all industry stakeholders.