Welcome to edition 420 of WINC

IDMA's Weekly Internet News Collection - January 31, 2023

Dear IDMA members and industry colleagues!

For those of you who missed it, Martin Rapaport published his New Year’s message on January 17. In his article, Mr. Rapaport elected to ‘rant’ – as my colleague Gary Roskin characterized it - exclusively about the threat of synthetic or lab-grown diamonds (LGDs) to the gem and jewelry supply chain and the lack of disclosure regarding the value retention of LGDs to the end-consumer.

Many — if not most — in our trade are operating dishonestly and unethically by failing to make a full disclosure about the value retention of synthetic diamonds.” He also reported that a “detailed submission to the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) requesting full-disclosure standards for synthetic diamonds” had not received any attention.


Let’s face it: LGDs are now part of our industry’s landscape. Predictions are that by 2025, LGD-set jewelry may capture more than 15 percent of the global jewelry consumer market. They will remain part of the pallet of gemstones - natural and man-made - that consumers can choose from.


Many years ago, Harry Levy, then president of the London Diamond Bourse and Chairman of the International Diamond Council (IDC), suggested that the diamond industry take a page from the history books of the colored gemstone industry and trade. He pointed out that the synthetic counterparts of ruby, sapphire, and emerald have been available since the late 19th century. Have these synthetic counterparts of those Big Three and those of other valuable gemstones ruined the colored gemstone market? Not at all. On the contrary: they have enhanced the uniqueness of colored stones, the importance of their ‘genetic makeup,’ and their origin. Prices of colored gemstones continue to rise, while their synthetics cost just a few cents to many dollars.


Of course, the diamond industry and trade arrived late at the lab-grown game. Due to its relative insulation, the diamond trade continued to engage in ‘horizontal thinking,’ i.e., it was only concerned with its own momentary wellbeing, screaming its head off against LGDs, instead of facing that the industry’s axis was tilting from horizontal to vertical.


Rapaport was never among those who screamed. As early as 2007, after Gemesis’ lab-grown hit the market, he warned that synthetic diamonds were here to stay. He said this during the “Mines to Market” conference in India, where IDMA President Ronnie VanderLinden delivered a talk about the lab-grown market.

Few in the trade heeded Rapaport’s call. Instead of engaging and bringing the synthetic producers and traders into the fold to include and regulate them - as the American Gem Trade Association had done many decades earlier - the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFBD), the Diamond Producers Association (DPA), and other organizations continued to fight and alienate the LGD producers, providing the latter with the attention and downstream market exposure they so much craved and needed.


Coming back to Martin’s submission to RJC – I am puzzled. In cooperation with the IDC and the World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO), ISO (The International Organization for Standardization) issued Standard 18323 for diamonds and specifically for “the nomenclature to be used by those involved in the buying and selling of diamonds, treated diamonds, synthetic diamonds, composite diamonds and imitations of diamonds.”

In the USA, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published its last update to the FTC Jewelry Guides in a 160-pages long document. True, it’s a long read, but it’s all there. There is no need to reinvent the wheel or create another set of ‘wheels.’


In closing, I fully share Martin’s frustration regarding the traders’ and retailers’ selling of LGDs without full disclosure and not including information about value retention. But we do not need new rules to halt those fraudulent practices and reach a consensus on how to battle this. All parties need to get together and agree on toeing the rules we already have in place.

Is that too much to ask? In German, one says “Die Hoffnung stirbt zuletzt.” Literally: hope is the last thing to die. The saying takes a more optimistic turn in English: Hope springs eternal!

Stay well!

Ya'akov Almor,

Communications Director

Centre should reduce import duty on cut and polished diamonds: The GJEPC has submitted a memorandum to the Union Finance Ministry demanding reduction in import duty on cut and polished diamonds; the present duty is 5 percent, it needs to be brought down to 2.5 %. The same benefit should be extended to polished gemstones also. The Central government should give an allowance for the sale of rough diamonds in Special Notified Zones. If the rough diamonds are sold, the importer should be exempted/clarified of the 2% Equalization levy.

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Zim diamond sector is fast-growing: The three active diamond producers are on course to reaching seven million carat by the end of 2023, and this will play a role in the attainment of the US$12 billion target. Zimbabwe diamond production is one of the fastest growing globally.

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Top 5 economies in Sub-Saharan Africa to watch out for in 2023, according to IMF: Angola is set to reclaim its spot as the third-largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa, thanks to a return to growth linked to higher oil prices. Angola is the continent's second-largest oil producer after Nigeria, and is also a significant producer of rough diamonds. The IMF expects Angola's GDP to expand by 8.6% this year, reaching $135 billion.

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Angola diamond export totaled 1.95 bln USD in 2022: Out of the total of 8.83 million carats exported last year, the main destinations were the United Arab Emirates, accounting for 67.91 percent, followed by Belgium with 21.25 percent, and China with 10.82 percent, the Director of Studies, Planning and Statistics Office of the ministry Alexandre Garrett said Friday in the 2022 Year Review on the performance and outlook for the diamond segment.

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Star Diamond headed to mining show to spark interest

“Frankly in discussion with a bunch of investors last week, it was clear to me that some didn’t even know we had finished, polished diamonds from the deposit,” said Mason.

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Record year for Lucapa

Lucapa's operations set new records and "very positive exploration results" delivering tangible evidence that the Lulo kimberlite province hosts primary sources containing special-sized diamonds.

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Villagers, army officers in violent clashes

Chiadzwa residents are angry and have been protesting over the looting of diamonds and mismanagement of mining proceeds.

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Botswana’s mining cadastre reveals hydrocarbon scramble in Kalahari game reserve

About half the surface area of the 52,800 square- kilometres park has been allotted into blocks for exploration for oil, gas, coal, coalbed methane, and other minerals and metals. 

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Russia's conflict diamonds: Who profits most from the ongoing trade?

In economic terms, Europe would do itself more harm than good by imposing sanctions, says Antwerp University's Koen Vandenbempt.

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London-based company seeks to retrieve over 129k diamond carats held by RBZ

Vast Resources said the release of the historic parcel of 129 400 carats of rough diamonds will now be finalised in the High Court of Zimbabwe.

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Journalist and curator to direct jewelry organization

Melanie Grant has been named executive director of the Responsible Jewellery Council.

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Tiffany buys 35 of the last diamonds recovered from Argyle

The retailer bought the diamonds directly from Rio Tinto, which unearthed the diamonds in the mine’s final days. They range in size from 0.35 carats to 1.52 carats.

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Gold to surge through $2,000/oz as US rates outlook provides lift

The macroeconomic backdrop is becoming “increasingly bullish for gold,” said Bank of America in a report on January 23.

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Here's how independent jewelers did in 2022

Despite wide-ranging speculation about what sales results might be following 2021, the strongest year in the history of our industry, 2022 turned out to be a good year, all things considered. 

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New UK ambassador to the DRC: Alyson King

From 2005 to 2008, she served on the European Commission, Secondment as National Expert on Sanctions and the Kimberley Process, Brussels.

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"I don’t have it anymore”

Affleck presented the actress with a 6.10-carat radiant-cut pink Harry Winston diamond. Recently, when JLo joined Jimmy Kimmel to promote her new movie Shotgun Wedding, she revealed that she did not have it with her anymore.

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Record exhibitor numbers and turnout at January Vicenzaoro

Fair organisers and exhibitors expressed optimism for the market outlook in 2023 due to the strong attendance at Vicenzaoro.

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AGTA to standardize industry ‘sustainability’ terms

The American Gem Trade Association wants to get the industry on the same page when it comes to buzzwords like “sustainability,” “ethics,” and “responsible sourcing.”

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LVMH is optimistic as it sees Chinese shoppers returning

LVMH reported its second straight year of record sales and profits, with 2022 revenue up 23% to 79.2 billion euros, or about $86.2 billion.

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US retail sales record largest drop in one year

The second consecutive monthly retail sale decline, mostly in goods, is undercutting factory production, with manufacturing output recording its largest drop in nearly two years in December, while monthly producer prices also fell.

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Dubai hosts secret accounts of Dos Santos clan, and other wealthy Africans

The group behind these, wealth management firm Helin International, is under investigation in the United States, France, Switzerland and Luxembourg.[subscription required]

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CIBJO and Turkish Jewellery Exporters Association sign MOU

The intent of the two organizations [is] to cooperate closely in nurturing the development of both the Turkish and international jewelry, gemstone and precious metals industries. 

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Behind the Scenes at KGK: On a recent January morning in the early sunshine of a quiet neighborhood in Botswana’s capital, Gaborone, limousines pulled up carrying His Excellency Dr. Masisi, President of Botswana, and First Lady Neo Masisi to celebrate the inauguration of the country’s first ever jewelry manufacturing site. At KGK Diamonds, over 400 people are at work cutting and polishing the natural diamonds of which the country has become synonymous. r

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Would you buy a rough diamond? The business was created in late 2021 by the owners of HB Antwerp, the diamond trading, cutting and polishing company that holds partial ownership of the 1,758-carat Sewelo, the second-largest diamond ever unearthed. 

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DISCLAIMER:  IDMA's Weekly Internet/Online News Collection (WINC) features third party articles and links to these articles. IDMA presents these news items for reference only. The content of these articles neither reflects nor expresses IDMA's position or point of view.
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