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The JAA has released a list of "reputable" diamond grading laboratories to help retailers fight diamond over-grading
The JAA has released a list of "reputable" diamond grading laboratories to help retailers fight diamond over-grading

Diamond grading furore continues; ‘approved’ lab list released

In the wake of international controversy surrounding the “over-grading” of diamonds, the JAA has published a list of “approved” laboratories while the World Federation of Diamond Bourses has stepped into the debate with a call for action.

The Jewellers Association of Australia (JAA) has taken steps to improve consumer confidence in diamond grading by publishing a list of six “approved” diamond grading laboratories.

Selwyn Brandt, JAA president
Selwyn Brandt, JAA president

The Jewellers Association of Australia (JAA) has taken steps to improve consumer confidence in diamond grading by publishing a list of six “approved” diamond grading laboratories.

The list endorses only two Australian operations, and while it has recognised four international laboratories, no New Zealand operator has been given a stamp of approval.

More importantly, the operations of European Gemological Laboratories (EGL) – the international business at the heart of the “over-grading” controversy – does not appear on the JAA’s list, which was devised in conjunction with the new National Industry Advisory Council.

The list of endorsed laboratories will assist JAA members in abiding by the JAA Code of Conduct, which states that members must provide a grading certificate from a “reputable” diamond grading laboratory for loose or set diamonds weighing one carat or more.

In addition, the list of six approved labs will be used as a reference point when dealing with consumer complaints.

Background reading: Can a diamond have two grades? Yes says “court”

The subjective nature of diamond grading was recently brought to international attention after online diamond trading platform RapNet – part of Rapaport Group – announced it would no longer display diamond grading reports issued by any EGL branches.

A company statement cited concerns that EGL was using the Gemological Institute of America’s (GIA’s) grading terminology while applying alternative grading standards to overstate the quality of a diamond.

Rapaport Group chairman Martin Rapaport dubbed this unethical practice “over-grading” in an editorial piece he recently issued to more than 77,000 members of the global jewellery industry.

A growing issue, locally and internationally
In publishing the list, the JAA sought to align itself with the Rapaport Group’s stance.

Colin Pocklington, JAA Code of Conduct chair
Colin Pocklington, JAA Code of Conduct chair

A growing issue, locally and internationally
In publishing the list, the JAA sought to align itself with the Rapaport Group’s stance.

“As Australia’s leading jewellery trade association, the JAA is fully supportive of the timely release of Rapaport’s report,” JAA president Selwyn Brandt commented. “The JAA recognises the need for increased transparency and honesty in the manner in which diamonds are traded and sold to consumers.”

The approved laboratories list was also expected to help address the increasing number of consumer complaints the JAA is receiving regarding over-graded diamonds.

“The [JAA] Code Committee will now rely on this list when assessing any complaints regarding diamond reports,” Code of Conduct chair Colin Pocklington said.

The JAA currently endorses the following diamond grading laboratories:

1. American Gem Society Laboratories
2. Diamond Certification Laboratory of Australia
3. Gemmological Institute of America
4. Gem Studies Laboratory
5. HRD Antwerp
6. International Gemological Institute.

Pocklington also told Jeweller that there might be a need to review and change some of the terminology currently being used in the local industry.

“There has been a shift away from the term ‘diamond grading certificate’ and towards calling them ‘reports’, so we will be looking to reflect that in the JAA’s Code of Conduct next year,” he explained.

The JAA list – as well as further information that retailers can use to help consumers understand what to expect from a diamond grading report – is available on the JAA’s website, although it was noted that the list would be subject to change.

WFDB weighs in on grading debate
The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) announced it would soon call a meeting of all the major diamond grading laboratories to “find common ground on the way forward” to tackle the over-grading controversy.

Ernie Blom, WFDB president
Ernie Blom, WFDB president

WFDB weighs in on grading debate
The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) announced it would soon call a meeting of all the major diamond grading laboratories to “find common ground on the way forward” to tackle the over-grading controversy.

In a statement issued on Wednesday 19 November, WFDB president Ernie Blom said, “The diamond industry is facing a serious challenge to its integrity which could lead to major consumer confidence problems, if diamonds are sold with overstated certification. I want to stress that this is an industry problem that must be resolved by the industry in order to retain consumer confidence in our product and sustain and develop the international diamond trade.

“I call on all responsible stakeholders across the world to stand together to eliminate this practice as it will harm our industry in a way that could dwarf any previous problems faced by the diamond industry,” Blom added.

THE WFDB is a global non-profit organisation that promotes consumer desirability and confidence in diamonds.

More information
JAA-endorsed diamond grading laboratories



















Saturday, 21 October, 2017 07:32pm
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